Heading for a newly inherited island, the boys are shipwrecked and marooned on an atoll which has just emerged from the sea. Along with their cook, a stowaway and a girl who is fleeing her ... 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 ... See full summary »
Stan and Ollie are charged with delivering the deed to a valuable gold mine to the daughter of a dead prospector. However they reckon without the machinations of her evil guardian Mickey ... See full summary »
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 »
It's 1938, but Stan doesn't know the war is over; he's still patrolling the trenches in France, and shoots down a French aviator. Oliver sees his old chum's picture in the paper and goes to... See full summary »
"All you have to do is look the lion straight in the eye. Lions are afraid of that. I read that in a book." "But did the lion read the book?"
The ten films Laurel and Hardy made after parting company with Hal Roach have an atrocious reputation, though this is probably better than most. It's never very funny, but it at least feels like a Stan and Ollie picture on occasion.
Yet it's amazing how undignified some of the scenes are for the boys. Seeing Stan and Ollie degrading themselves by getting stomped on by children, or Ollie on all fours impersonating a lion, is excruciating to watch. Also of note in the two MGM movies is how Americanised Stan's speech is. Did Cumbrian-born Stan always utter things like "gee", "swell" and "ain't"?
What also puzzles is how the post-Roach pictures not only misunderstood what made Laurel and Hardy funny, but also their basic nature. I've always thought of the duo as humanitarians, yet here they turn away a young boy who tells them that he's being beaten by his uncle. Okay, they later rescind on the decision and go completely the opposite way into pure sentimentality, but it still worries.
The plot (which overshadows Stan and Ollie's involvement at times) is unusually macabre; a tale of intended infanticide for political gain. However, David Leland does bring a lot of enthusiasm to his role as the boy king, and the scene where Stan argues unknowingly over poisoned food is amusing.
On the negative side, the back projection used in the film betrays its budget, and some of the dialogue "Stanley, at times you're most trying" "Well you can't blame me for trying" seems a self-conscious, For Love Or Mummy-style attempt to emulate past glories. Yet even though the movie is proficiently made but not very funny, I did crack up at the suicide scene. Okay, so Harold Lloyd could have sued (It turns out director Sam Taylor worked on eight Lloyd movies, including the obviously sampled Safety Last), but this one bit of nonsense did work for me, and almost brings the film's standing up to a level of mediocrity. Almost.
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