The boys' Army buddy, Eddie Smith, is killed in the trenches in France, leaving his baby girl an orphan. Back home after Armistice, they try to find Eddie's father and turn the child over ... See full summary »
The boys' Army buddy, Eddie Smith, is killed in the trenches in France, leaving his baby girl an orphan. Back home after Armistice, they try to find Eddie's father and turn the child over to him. Unfortunately, they keep coming up with the wrong Smiths, and in the process disrupt a wedding by proclaiming the baby to be the groom's child. To evade the Welfare Association, they try to skip town, raising money for their escape by hocking their lunch wagon. But they accidentally knock the bank president unconscious and wind up being hunted down for bank robbery. Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
I'm surprised this film came along so relatively early in Laurel & Hardy's career because, although it has a couple of stand-out moments, for the most part it falls below the usual high standard of their output with Hal Roach. In this one they find themselves enlisted in the army during WWI where by some fluke they manage to capture an entire German unit. Unfortunately, the friend they make in the army isn't so lucky and leaves an orphaned little girl at home that the boys decide to return to her grandparents.
Laurel & Hardy were still predominantly making shorts when this feature-length movie was made in 1932, and you get the impression that an awful lot of padding was involved to reach the hour mark. Now, the boys can make trying to walk through a doorway funny, but even they struggle to maintain a decent level of consistency throughout. The best scenes are those involving the little girl, even though she goes a little overboard on the cute factor. At one point, there's a neat role reversal as Stan struggles to keep his eyes open while she recites her own version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in fact, thinking about it, the entire film could be seen as a remodelling of typical fairy-tale plots.
As a meaningless aside, have you ever wondered who does the really dull jobs in the glamorous world of movies? In their quest for the grandparents of their young charge, Stan & Ollie phone every Smith in the phone book. To prove it, director Ray McCarey shows us a shot of four or five pages of the telephone directory with every entry crossed through, and I couldn't help wondering whether the poor dogsbody who did all that hand-numbing work even got a mention in the credits...
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