When I speak of the Great Francis Betrayal, I refer to the fact that in almost every Francis film the mule’s ability to speak (and in English yet!) is revealed to an outsider or two, and in Francis Goes To The Races (’51) to an entire courtroom of witnesses. Which in real life would eventually mean worldwide celebrity for Francis and great wealth for Donald O’Connor‘s “Peter Stirling” character.

This never happens, of course — no one ever says boo about Francis’s talking ability. The legend never grows. Once the next film comes out it is completely forgotten and the basic situation reverts to a private rapport between Francis and Peter.

If the Francis screenwriters had been a little more daring, they could have had a much bigger franchise. Francis could have become a TV star, an adviser to the U.S. President, the leader of a Pacific Island nation, a game-show contestant, a mule-poet looking for his own mule-soul…the sky was the limit.

Francis the Talking Mule: 7 Film Bluray Collection” will be released by KL Studio Classics on 5.3.22.