blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

A Day with the Boys (1969, Clu Gulager)

A scene from A DAY WITH THE BOYS, directed by Clu Gulager for Universal Pictures.

Ah, the joys of boyhood. Watching A Day with the Boys, one quickly tires of all the outdoor activities director Gulager chronicles. The titular boys have no names and no dialogue–Boys is entirely dialogue-free–and they just act adorably rambunctious. When they’re sliding down a hill on cardboard sheets, they even put their faithful dog in a box so he can join them.

The film’s extremely well-made. Gulager has a lot of excellent help from László Kovács’s photography and especially Robert F. Shugrue’s editing. The process shots are stunning.

But he doesn’t seem to have a point. It’s all very idyllic, then it starts getting monotonous. The only thing suggesting otherwise is Michel Mention’s occasionally ominous score. It doesn’t seem like Gulager has any insight into boyhood.

Then, as it turns out, he does have some insight and it’s startling. Boys is a fantastic piece of filmmaking.

3/3Highly Recommended


Written, produced and directed by Clu Gulager; director of photography, László Kovács; edited by Robert F. Shugrue; music by Michel Mention; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Mike Hertel (Boy), Jack Grindle (Boy), John McCaffrey (Boy), William Elliott (Boy), Craig Williams (Boy), Mark Spirtos (Boy), John Gulager (Boy), Artie Conkling (Boy), Ricky Bender (Boy) and James Kearce (The Businessman).


One response to “A Day with the Boys (1969, Clu Gulager)”

  1. When I first saw this film I was about ‘the boys’ age. It played between two featured movies at my neighborhood one screen theater where I lived. I had no idea what this short was about or why it was shown, as most featurettes was only cartoons and previews, but I was glad to see it, although a little shocked afterward. “A Day With The Boys” was one of those shows I’d never forget and finally watched it again in 2015, still as enjoyable as ever with a deeper appreciation for the director, writer, film effects and great but haunting music. Well worth seeing!

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