Great Guns (1941)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Romance, War

Great Guns (1941) Poster

Laurel and Hardy join the army. They are hardly soldiers, but they believe their employer will need them now he's drafted.


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2 December 2008 | bkoganbing
| Stan And Ollie Go To War Again
Great Guns was Laurel and Hardy's first film after leaving Hal Roach Studios for which their best work was done by far. 20th Century Fox might have had a much better film had they not decided to imitate the enormously successful Buck Privates which had come out earlier in the year for Universal starring that new team Abbott&Costello. Stan and Ollie did service comedies before and good ones.

Darryl Zanuck just bent the plot a little. Dick Nelson plays the pampered rich kid like Lee Bowman in the other film. He's got two maiden aunts, Mae Marsh and Ethel Griffies, who treat him like he was in a plastic bubble and a quack doctor in Ludwig Stossel who's getting rich off their hypochondria about Nelson.

Stan and Ollie are the butler and chauffeur of the estate and they join the army to look after Nelson. Truth be told he wants to join just to get away from those aunts.

After that it's a series of a lot of gags per normal for a service comedy. I'm sure that Stan and Ollie had they been given a little more creative freedom might have come up with more original stuff. One thing that I liked was Stan's pet raven who won't leave him even though he's enlisted. It turns out Penelope the raven gives the bird to the enemy in the war games finale which also was imitating Buck Privates.

And Nelson is involved in a romantic triangle with his sergeant Edmund MacDonald over the girl with photography concession at the PX, Sheila Ryan. If you're on your toes, you'll notice that the soldier who is buying his developed films from Ryan while Nelson is waiting is Alan Ladd

Best gag in the film involves Stanley trying to ditch Penelope in Ollie's pants during inspection and the havoc it causes. Second best is Ollie spilling water all over himself when Stan asks the time and then Stan doing it to him when Ollie asks for the time. Third best is the two of them hitching a ride on a target during rifle practice.

Great Guns has its moments, but it doesn't have the sustained humor of their stuff with Hal Roach.

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