17 December 2012 | Theo Robertson
It's Okay But Feels Like Stan And Ollie Have Been Shoe-Horned Into Another Movie
One of the problems - if not the fundamental problem of a feature length Laurel And Hardy movie is that there is by necessity a cast of supporting characters . By this I mean unlike their shorts from the 1930s Stan and Ollie don't feature in every scene and that means there's the feeling that you're watching something that's diluted . Be honest - would you have put time aside to watch this if GREAT GUNS wasn't a Laurel and Hardy comedy ?
This is similar to some other shorts where the duo find themselves in uniform and my opinion is prejudiced by the fact that I saw BEAU CHUMPS less than an hour before I started watching this one . Big mistake because the premise of both films aren't poles apart where Stan and Ollie find themselves giving up civilian life for the military
You have to suspend a lot of disbelief as their young boss Dan Forrester find's himself drafted in to the army and so the boys decide to volunteer to keep an eye on him . It's difficult to believe any military would want a couple of middle aged men one of which is to put it kindly overweight , but I guess if reality interceded we wouldn't have a movie
The story itself is rather threadbare and is along the lines of a gentle romantic comedy where Dan is taken to the female film developer at the barracks Ginger who is also the apple of the eye of the drill instructor Hippo . This plays out as you'd expect - light fluffy romance while you find yourself waiting for the next appearance of the comedy stars . The jokes aren't great but one very politically incorrect scene involving Hippo with his face blackened leading Stan to say " Oh how kind they've given us a porter " did make me burst out laughing
As it stands GREAT GUNS isn't a great comedy and reading the trivia section it's revealed that the studio wouldn't allow Stan Laurel to develop the screenplay as he did in the Hal Roach shorts and this undoubtedly explains why the feature length films of Laurel and Hardy in the early 1940s are missing a certain something