6.7/10
685
13 user 3 critic

Duck Soup (1927)

To flee from a tireless Forest Ranger, the shabby vagrants, Stan and Ollie, find refuge at a colonel's mansion that is vacant for the weekend. Soon, a couple of newly-weds arrive in hopes of renting the manor. Where is the rightful owner?

Director:

Fred Guiol

Writers:

Arthur J. Jefferson (play), H.M. Walker (titles)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Stan Laurel ... Stan Laurel aka Agnes
Oliver Hardy ... Oliver Hardy aka Colonel Buckshot
Madeline Hurlock ... Lady Tarbotham
William Austin ... Lord Tarbotham
Bob Kortman ... Forest Ranger
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Storyline

Pursued by forest rangers who want to press them into fire-fighting duty, Stanley and Oliver hide in the home of a big-game hunter who has just left town. When they find out that the servants will be away for the weekend, they decide to stay for a while. The house is being offered for rental, and when prospective tenants come, Oliver pretends to be the owner and Stanley pretends to be a servant. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Home from the Honeymoon See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first movie in which Laurel & Hardy appear in their "Stan and Ollie" characters. See more »

Connections

Remade as Another Fine Mess (1930) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Long-lost Laurel & Hardy hilarity

Besides being very funny, the silent film 'Duck Soup' is a vitally important link in the evolution of Laurel and Hardy as a comedy team. This movie was based on a music-hall sketch written by Stan Laurel's father, Arthur Jefferson, a successful theatre manager in northern England who resented his son's attempts to become a stage comedian. Laurel and Hardy made 'Duck Soup' at a point when they were already established as a team but were still developing the 'Stan' and 'Oliie' characters that would soon become so popular and beloved. By this time, Oliver Hardy had already got his fastidious little moustache, but in 'Duck Soup' he also has a considerable amount of beard stubble which makes him look quite jowly. 'Duck Soup' was remade only three years later as 'Another Fine Mess'.

'Duck Soup' was a lost film for more than 50 years: in the early 1980s, a print turned up in Belgium. The original silent-film intertitles had been cut out and replaced with French titles. Also, one insert shot of a newspaper article had been cut out and a French translation spliced in. The prints which are currently available feature English-language titles which are blatantly translations of the French titles, and this brings a jarring touch: Laurel keeps addressing Hardy as 'sir', which doesn't really fit the relationship between their characters.

The missing shot of the newspaper article has been replaced (in 1982) with a modern mock-up, and this provides an unintentional laugh. While Hardy reads the newspaper article in 1927, we can see the article directly underneath it... which is all about John DeLorean getting arrested for financial misdeeds in 1982! Oo-er!

In 'Duck Soup', Laurel and Hardy are tramps who discover that a local forest fire has made things hot for them: forest rangers are conscripting all the local indigent men for firefighting duty. Fleeing from the rangers, the two pals end up sharing a bicycle at the top of a steep hill, with disastrously funny results.

Still hiding from the rangers, they end up inside the swank house of Colonel Blood, who is currently away ... but Lord and Lady Plumtree have arrived to rent the house in the colonel's absence. Hardy disguises himself as the colonel, pressing Laurel into service to masquerade as the maid! Stan Laurel was a gifted female impersonator: one of the very few male performers who could convincingly portray a woman and be funny at the same time. His drag turn as the maid here is astonishing and funny.

The ending of this movie is quite different from the ending of the remake 'Another Fine Mess'. Laurel and Hardy would occasionally end a film with an impossible gag, and they use one here.

Is Laurel and Hardy's "Duck Soup" any relation to the Marx Brothers' movie "Duck Soup:"? Yes, indeed! Leo McCarey was an assistant director on this movie. Six years later, when he directed the Marxes in what would become their greatest and funniest film, McCarey decided to recycle the title from this earlier film. The talkie revolution had changed Hollywood so utterly that silent movies made only a few years earlier were regarded as obsolete and unfit for re-release ... so McCarey figured he had a free hand to re-use the title, and this silent movie vanished into oblivion for more than half a century. Fortunately, 'Duck Soup' is now available again, and it's very funny. I'll rate this movie 8 points out of 10.


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