Unrated, 1943, B&W, 99 minutes, Paramount Home Video, $29.95.
What Mack Sennett did with silent images, Preston Sturges does with words. When he first got the idea for this film he saw it as a modern nativity story, but by the time he got around to making it, it had changed substantially. Still, some of the original idea remains. The movie, which stars Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton, is about a high-spirited young girl named Trudy Kockenlocker (Hutton), who, in order to give the soldiers in her home town of Morgan's Creek a rousing send-off, parties all night, gets chonked on the noggin and ends up, well, pregnant. To satisfy the objections from the folks at the Hays Office, she is married first, though she can't remember his name. ("Oh, it's Private Ratzskywatzsky or something like that.") To make an honest woman of her, Norval (Bracken), who's 4F (he sees spots!) and devoted to Trudy, pledges to marry her. What ensues is the nearest thing to pandemonium ever seen on film and every minute of it is sublime. James Agee said it was "like taking a nun on a roller coaster." This movie goes way beyond screwball; it's plumb loco. The miracle is that they ever got away with it. With William Demarest.