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 ... 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 <email@example.com>
the only Laurel and Hardy movie I would unequivocally recommend
That statement right above goes without saying that I haven't seen too many of Laurel and Hardy's films (I've also seen their Christmas nutcracker film, and one about making a movie or other, though the memory is now hazy for the most part on what I did or didn't see as a tot). But this is not just a classic from the duo, but one of the funniest comedies I've ever seen. It's refined slapstick, made up of facial gestures, anger, repetition, big life decisions like falling in love, suicide, joining the French foreign legion, and flying a plane without much control of a wheel. The director, Sutherland, also somehow crafts out the single funniest joke ever crafted around (as silly as it sounds) a mountain of laundry. It's not a very complex storyline, as Hardy falls for a girl, can't get her, feels down about it almost enough to jump into the river, but gets a word of advice right before it happens by a fellow traveler to join the foreign legion to forget about it. But they get in over their heads by joining, and want to quit, and soon become the biggest bumbling boobs to ever join up, leading to many chases, and that death-defying plane ride (or is it?)
It's the kind of film that unless getting head-on into Laurel and Hardy's distinctive and influential comedy timing will only really be of interest if passed on down as a child. It's a great comedy though for all ages- if the term 'family comedy' might be a little too pat a description, but one that does have a central appeal as smart physical comedy- as it doesn't pander to anyone, and even has a sincerity to it. I still remember most fondly the song and dance number Laurel and Hardy do in a moment of a jam (Shine on Harvest Moon, I think it was called), and the supporting character work is also a fine plus. And, quite frankly, one of those quintessential wacky end scenes that keeps me smiling, and laughing depending on who I'm talking with about it, where a certain horse with a mustache and hat appears saying "another fine mess you got me into." A pick-me-up comedy of manners and pratfalls, it'll always have a place in my collection not only for nostalgic reasons (it was one of the first videos I ever owned), but for its stamina so many years later.
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