Bud’s Recruit

Mrs Gilbert has two sons. The younger, Bud, wants to help fight in World War I. He enthusiastically joins a local youth militia, which uses a scarecrow dubbed “the Kizer” as a stand-in for the enemy, Emperor William II. Older brother Reggie, however, has no interest in the military. Emboldened by their mother, a pacifist agitator, Reggie pursues his own pleasures, while his younger brother observes “meatless Monday” and rehearses battle manoeuvres with their manservant. But then the younger boy comes up with a splendid idea for turning his slacker brother into a war volunteer … This oldest surviving King Vidor film was the first in a series of some ten educational shorts produced by Willis Brown (1881-1931), a juvenile court judge. King Vidor recruited the young cast from among Los Angeles Times newsboys. In 1953, King Vidor said, “I deeply believed in these films and I put my heart and soul into making them”. Although Bud’s Recruit uses a blazingly tinted, emblematic battle scene to rouse patriotic sentiment, the predominant mood of the film is one of double entendre and humour. This short was a small, cinematic field exercise that would be followed by 1925’s The Big Parade.
by King Vidor
with Wallis Brennan, Robert Gordon, Ruth Hampton, Mildred Davis, Thomas Bellamy, Ernest Butterworth Jr., Judge Willis Brown
USA 1918 English intertitles 26’ Black/White


  • Wallis Brennan
  • Robert Gordon
  • Ruth Hampton
  • Mildred Davis
  • Thomas Bellamy
  • Ernest Butterworth Jr.
  • Judge Willis Brown


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Judge Willis Brown
Producer Judge Willis Brown

Produced by

Boy City Film Co.

Additional information

Print: 35mm restored print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Santa Clarita, CA