Me and the Colonel

Me and the Colonel is a 1958 American comedy film based on the play Jacobowsky und der Oberst by Franz Werfel. It was directed by Peter Glenville and stars Danny Kaye, Curt Jürgens and Nicole Maurey.

Me and the Colonel
VHS cover
Directed byPeter Glenville
Produced byWilliam Goetz
Written byS. N. Behrman
George Froeschel
Franz Werfel (play)
StarringDanny Kaye
Curt Jürgens
Nicole Maurey
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyBurnett Guffey
Edited byWilliam A. Lyon
Charles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 26, 1958 (1958-08-26) (New York City)
  • October 1958 (1958-10) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States

Kaye won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his portrayal.[1] The writers won a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Comedy.


In Paris during the World War II invasion of France by Nazi Germany, Jewish refugee S. L. Jacobowsky (Danny Kaye) seeks to leave the country before it falls. Meanwhile, Polish diplomat Dr. Szicki (Ludwig Stössel) gives antisemitic, autocratic Polish Colonel Prokoszny (Curt Jürgens) secret information that must be delivered to London by a certain date.

The resourceful Jacobowsky, who has had to flee from the Nazis several times previously, manages to "buy" an automobile from the absent Baron Rothschild's chauffeur. Prokoszny peremptorily requisitions the car, but finds he must accept an unwelcome passenger when he discovers that Jacobowsky has had the foresight to secure gasoline. The ill-matched pair (coincidentally from the same village in Poland) and the colonel's orderly, Szabuniewicz (Akim Tamiroff), drive away.

Jacobowsky is dismayed when the colonel first heads to Reims in the direction of the advancing German army to pick up his girlfriend, Suzanne Roualet (Nicole Maurey), a French innkeeper's daughter. Prior to their arrival, Suzanne attracts the unwanted admiration of German Major Von Bergen (Alexander Scourby), but he is called away before he can become better acquainted with her.

As they flee south, Jacobowsky begins to fall in love with Suzanne. At one stop, Jacobowsky manages to find the group magnificent lodgings at a chateau by telling its proud royalist owner that unoccupied France is to become a monarchy headed by the colonel. A drunk Prokoszny challenges Jacobowsky to a duel, but Jacobowsky manages to defuse the situation. When the Germans, under Von Bergen, occupy the chateau, the foursome barely get away.

They are chased by Von Bergen, but the assistance of a sympathetic Mother Superior (Martita Hunt) enables them to shake off their pursuers and reach a prearranged rendezvous with a British submarine. There, however, the submarine's commander informs them that there is only room for two. Suzanne makes the colonel and Jacobowsky go, while she remains behind to fight the invaders in her own way.



The film was William Goetz's first film in a six-picture deal for Columbia.[2]


Herbert Feinstein published a favorable review in Film Quarterly, writing that "Willam Goetz ... produces the minor miracle of creating a credible modern-day fairy tale."[3] He lauded all of the main actors, but singled out Kaye for even higher praise, stating, "The director (Peter Glenville) doubtless is a genius, for he has taken this batch of variously outrageous personalities and muted them into a team: in the case of Kaye, the alchemy achieves pure gold."[3]


  1. "Danny Kaye at 100". CBS News.
  2. "'Cordura' Pends As Columbia Special For Hard Ticket". Variety. February 4, 1959. p. 7. Retrieved July 4, 2019 via
  3. Herbert Feinstein (Winter 1958). "Review: Me and the Colonel". Film Quarterly. Vol. 12 no. 2. pp. 51–53. doi:10.2307/3186056.
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