The only relation that the 1928 Buck Privates has to the much-later Abbott and Costello vehicle of the same name is the fact that both films were produced by Universal. Set during WWI, the film focuses on the adventures of American doughboy John Smith (Malcolm McGregor) during a brief stopover in Luxembourg. Billeted in the home of a pacifistic landowner, Smith becomes fascinated with his host's daughter Anna (Lya de Putti), with whom he has been prohibited to speak, nor is he even allowed to glance in her direction. Should Anna associate with Smith, she would be branded a "traitor" by the pro-German villagers and have her head shaved as evidence of her betrayal. This doesn't stop Smith from enjoying a midnight rendezvous or two with the girl, despite the interference of his equally lovestruck topkick Sgt. Butts (Eddie Gribbon). Caught in the act of smooching with Anna, Butts is threatened with court-martial unless he marries the girl. But on the day of the wedding, Anna's maidservant Hulda (ZaSu Pitts) substitutes for her mistress, while Anna elopes with her true love John Smith.
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