Stan, who has remained faithfully at his World War I post for twenty years, finally comes home where his best friend, Ollie, takes him in, thus allowing him to discover the many conveniences of the modern world.
Stanley and Oliver are mousetrap salesmen hoping to strike it rich in Switzerland, but get swindled out of all their money by a cheesemaker. While working off their hotel debt, Oliver falls... See full summary »
Stan inherits a yacht and a South Pacific island. Ollie and Stan sail there with 2 other men. They shipwreck on a new atoll and settle there. An ex-fiancee joins them. They declare an independent nation and problems arise.
A band of Gypsies are camped outside the walls of Count Arnheim's palace. Oliver's wife kidnaps the Count's daughter Arline, then leaves the child and runs off with her lover, Devilshoof. ... See full summary »
Oliver is heartbroken when he finds that Georgette, the inkeeper's daughter he's fallen in love with, is already married to dashing Foreign Legion officer Francois. To forget her, he joins the Legion, taking Stanley with him. Their bumbling eventually gets them charged with desertion and sentenced to a firing squad. They manage to escape in a stolen airplane, but crash after a wild ride.Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As Ollie is untying the rope attached to the heavy rock from his waist, he has his back turned to Stanley. When Ollie is pulled into the river when Stanley throws the rock in, he is now facing Stanley. See more »
I'll now assign you to your duties. Revely at five, you dress quickly, make up your bunks and get ready for inspection. Inspection until seven. Ten minutes for breakfast. You drill until one and march until four.
What about lunch?
You'll have that while marching. You have inspection until six. Fifteen minutes for mess. Kitchen duties until ten. Inspection until eleven. Then, taps. That is all.
If we have to do all that, you won't have time to forget.
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A rather excellent Laurel and Hardy on its own terms.
I have heard this picture is derivative of an earlier Laurel and Hardy short film. That notwithstanding, judged purely on its own terms, this is a splendid way to spend an hour or so.
Within the Laurel and Hardy canon, this can be defined as a late Hal Roach film, an era in which originality was fading a little, but they were still entirely in their element and always enjoyable - unlike, perhaps, in their years at Fox. I should say that this film is indeed no masterpiece, and is put together in a slightly slapdash way at times; although the plot does stand up reasonably well - the shift to the Foreign Legion negotiated by a clearly unbelievable coincidence of Reg Gardiner turning up by the riverside. The film plays well as Laurel and Hardy's naivety is revealed and becomes the subject of wry, understated comedy: 'how long will it take 'till I have forgotten?' re. Hardy's infatuation with Georgette.
In many ways, the opening part is the zenith, with Laurel and Hardy on enterprising, archetypal form; the attempted drowning part is really quite touching at times. There's a rippling, simple plot, and this section may have worked very nicely as a short - but then we'd have lost the sublime sequences of the second part. It may be ultimately be something of a rehash, but on its own terms, again, it works well; the aeroplane foolery and the ending are rather well done and amusing... But it is the lovely 'Shine on Harvest Moon' musical sequence, sung majestically by Hardy and soft-shoed winningly by Laurel (to be joined by Hardy at the end), that is the most memorable part. How heartrendingly joyous is this? The narrative pauses. Simply for a verse and chorus of an old song, and a modest dance, but it works astoundingly; Hardy's voice unutterably warm, Laurel a frail, tender clown with a strange dignity. The pair's pausing by the band and then the way they slip into this interlude, is charming, as is the manner of the band and onlookers' fond farewell as they abruptly take leave to resume their escape. All very poignant, thinking how close they were to the end of their film success. Also magical is Laurel's sequence on the harp; a direct tribute to Harpo Marx, and actually displaying a far greater brevity and perhaps a less forced charm with the instrument than Harpo did in certain films. Hardy's reactions are great, and the way Laurel finds and fine-tunes the instrument in the prison cell is neatly achieved. The look on Laurel's face as he plays is sublime; we get to the heart of his singular grace with his almost haunting expressionlessness suggestive almost of Buster Keaton. One can, as ever, see the influence Peter Sellers drew upon for his performance in "Being There", but this sequence stands alone in that it reveals Laurel as a consciously artistic soul, aside from the bounds of his usual comic persona. These are subtle, telling moments, aided by the tender and melodic nature of the song itself. Great stuff, well timed - these reflective moments in many ways make the film, mark it out from slightly more routine L&H features of the time.
Support includes Reginald Gardiner, fairly competent as the 'French' military cad; Georgette (Jean Parker), the 'dame', as Stan refers to her; a very adequate stooge and coquette, ever brushing her tresses. And, to properly round things off, we have James Finlayson: the lovably crotchety Scottish foil for the boys, ever bursting at the seams in his indignation at them.
"The Flying Deuces" is not a great film, but it has many genuinely wonderful moments; well worth a viewing for anyone, whether familiar with this double-act or not; everyone ought to be, as they are one of the most beautiful and abiding attractions ever to have graced the cinema.
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