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Turned down when they try to enlist, the boys do the next best thing and become air raid wardens. They uncover and foil a Nazi plot to sabotage a magnesium plant. Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Supposedly, Civil Defense representatives were present as "advisors" during the filming to ensure none of the gags in the movie would cast a negative light on the efficiency of their organization. See more »
Madison, you've got to get rid of those misfits!
I just talked to them, Mr. Norton. They're awfully broken up about this. I'm sure it was an accident.
They are both accidents!
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One of Laurel and Hardy's last films was this one for MGM where they play a couple of 4Fs who still want to do their bit for the USA at war with the Axis. After getting turned down by all the armed services, Stan and Ollie return to their small town and their bicycle shop to volunteer as air raid wardens. Their bicycle shop in fact has been taken over by Donald Meek who is running a radio repair shop, but Meek allows them back in as partners.
MGM did give the boys an excellent supporting cast a lot better than what they usually had with Hal Roach. Problem is that they looked a bit old and tired and both were having health problems at the time. Still they got a few good slapstick licks in, especially with Edgar Kennedy and Howard Freeman who was a great foil for them.
My favorite moment in the film was when after one foul up too many they get canned as air raid wardens and Stan who usually cried at the drop of a hat, was almost in real tears about it. Both he and Ollie really do want to do something for the war effort even if they know they're a pair of bumblers.
Ollie in fact was the most restrained I've seen him. The Laurel and Hardy shtick is that Stan is a dummy and he knows it, Ollie is dumb, but has delusions of grandeur. Here Ollie also tones down the usual pomposity we expect from him.
Of course they redeem themselves when they stumble on to a real group of Nazi spies. Among that cast of all American small town types are a pair of known character actors who are in fact spies and saboteurs.
But you'll just have to see Air Raid Wardens to find out who.
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