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The Flying Deuces (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, War | 3 November 1939 (USA)
Ollie has fallen in love with the innkeeper's daughter in Paris. The only problem - she's very much in love with her husband. To forget her he joins the Foreign Legion with Stan. Bad idea.


Ralph Spence (original story), Charley Rogers (original story) (as Charles Rogers) | 6 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Stan Laurel ... Stan (as Stan Laurel/Himself)
Oliver Hardy ... Ollie (as Oliver Hardy/Himself)
Jean Parker ... Georgette
Reginald Gardiner ... Francois
Charles Middleton ... Commandant
Jean Del Val ... Sergeant
Crane Whitley Crane Whitley ... Corporal (as Clem Wilenchick)
James Finlayson ... Jailor


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 <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HERE'S HYSTERICAL HISTORY! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Comedy | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 November 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flying Aces See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been dubbed from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


When Georgette faints, Stan pours water on her head to revive her, but her hair is suddenly dry when Stan and Ollie run for the window after being confronted by her husband. See more »


[Stan and Ollie have just heard that they will be executed the next day]
Oliver: Here's a nice pickle we're in. Shot at sunrise!
Stanley: I hope it's cloudy tomorrow!
See more »


Featured in The Johnsons (1992) See more »


Shine On, Harvest Moon
(1908) (uncredited)
Music by Nora Bayes
Lyrics by Jack Norworth
Sung by Oliver Hardy and danced by both he and Stan Laurel
See more »

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User Reviews

A rather excellent Laurel and Hardy on its own terms.
26 December 2002 | by HenryHextonEsqSee all my reviews

I have heard this picture is derivative of an earlier Laurel and Hardy short film. That notwithstanding, judged purely on its own terms, this is a splendid way to spend an hour or so.

Within the Laurel and Hardy canon, this can be defined as a late Hal Roach film, an era in which originality was fading a little, but they were still entirely in their element and always enjoyable - unlike, perhaps, in their years at Fox. I should say that this film is indeed no masterpiece, and is put together in a slightly slapdash way at times; although the plot does stand up reasonably well - the shift to the Foreign Legion negotiated by a clearly unbelievable coincidence of Reg Gardiner turning up by the riverside. The film plays well as Laurel and Hardy's naivety is revealed and becomes the subject of wry, understated comedy: 'how long will it take 'till I have forgotten?' re. Hardy's infatuation with Georgette.

In many ways, the opening part is the zenith, with Laurel and Hardy on enterprising, archetypal form; the attempted drowning part is really quite touching at times. There's a rippling, simple plot, and this section may have worked very nicely as a short - but then we'd have lost the sublime sequences of the second part. It may be ultimately be something of a rehash, but on its own terms, again, it works well; the aeroplane foolery and the ending are rather well done and amusing... But it is the lovely 'Shine on Harvest Moon' musical sequence, sung majestically by Hardy and soft-shoed winningly by Laurel (to be joined by Hardy at the end), that is the most memorable part. How heartrendingly joyous is this? The narrative pauses. Simply for a verse and chorus of an old song, and a modest dance, but it works astoundingly; Hardy's voice unutterably warm, Laurel a frail, tender clown with a strange dignity. The pair's pausing by the band and then the way they slip into this interlude, is charming, as is the manner of the band and onlookers' fond farewell as they abruptly take leave to resume their escape. All very poignant, thinking how close they were to the end of their film success. Also magical is Laurel's sequence on the harp; a direct tribute to Harpo Marx, and actually displaying a far greater brevity and perhaps a less forced charm with the instrument than Harpo did in certain films. Hardy's reactions are great, and the way Laurel finds and fine-tunes the instrument in the prison cell is neatly achieved. The look on Laurel's face as he plays is sublime; we get to the heart of his singular grace with his almost haunting expressionlessness suggestive almost of Buster Keaton. One can, as ever, see the influence Peter Sellers drew upon for his performance in "Being There", but this sequence stands alone in that it reveals Laurel as a consciously artistic soul, aside from the bounds of his usual comic persona. These are subtle, telling moments, aided by the tender and melodic nature of the song itself. Great stuff, well timed - these reflective moments in many ways make the film, mark it out from slightly more routine L&H features of the time.

Support includes Reginald Gardiner, fairly competent as the 'French' military cad; Georgette (Jean Parker), the 'dame', as Stan refers to her; a very adequate stooge and coquette, ever brushing her tresses. And, to properly round things off, we have James Finlayson: the lovably crotchety Scottish foil for the boys, ever bursting at the seams in his indignation at them.

"The Flying Deuces" is not a great film, but it has many genuinely wonderful moments; well worth a viewing for anyone, whether familiar with this double-act or not; everyone ought to be, as they are one of the most beautiful and abiding attractions ever to have graced the cinema.

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