31 July 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Laurel and Hardy on fire-fighting duty
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were comedic geniuses, individually and together, and their partnership was deservedly iconic and one of the best there was. They left behind a large body of work, a vast majority of it being entertaining to classic comedy, at their best they were hilarious and their best efforts were great examples of how to do comedy without being juvenile or distasteful.
'Duck Soup' is the third short film of theirs after 'The Lucky Dog' and '45 Minutes from Hollywood', but to me it's the first one that uses their talents properly and where they fully work together as a partnership. It may not be among their best work, their later work was funnier, more focused and have more of a sly edge instead of being slapstick-heavy, and am another person who'd put 'Another Fine Mess' above it, but it's definitely well worth the look and the first outing of theirs that was above decent level.
Will agree that there could have been less of a slapstick approach and more of a wit and sly edge and the early stages to me felt on the rushed side.
Story is slight and at times a bit too busy, but 'Duck Soup' does far more right than it does wrong. A lot is right and there is actually not much wrong.
On the other hand, Laurel and Hardy are both solid and make a great double act. The iconic partnership was still fully forming but they do work well together and their comic timing is expertly, Laurel in particular is great. They are well served by the material, which is not hilarious as such but beautifully timed and often very funny.
Not once is 'Duck Soup' dull, it all goes at a snappy pace and is always engaging and charming. While not amazing visually, it still looks quite good and hardly the work of an amateur.
Concluding, good. 7/10 Bethany Cox