THE FYLING DEUCES

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Feature length version of 'Beau Hunks'.  The boys are staying at an inn in France and are about to return home when Ollie decides he's going to propose to Georgette, the innkeeper's daughter.  When he gets snubbed he decides that, after long deliberations and an even longer wallowing in heartbreak, he's going to drown himself, and of course Stan has to go with him.  Ollie's explanation of why may seem cruel to the uninitiated, but it's a riot to the die-hard L&H fans.  At the last minute they're saved by a member of the French Foreign Legion.  Or are they?  They go from the frying pan to the fire, so to speak, while having various misadventures in the Legion.  There's a nice homage to the Marx brothers (tinged with jealousy?) as Stan plays his prison bedsprings like a harp; I wonder if they got Harpo to dub it in.  They then take the gag a step further in a way that couldn't be done with a regular harp.  In a twist of casting fate, the prosecutor from Duck Soup has a meatier role here as the Commandant.

As with any Laurel and Hardy film, no review can be as good as the film itself.  Too many funny moments you just have to see for yourself.  Some good aerial photography in the final scenes, kind of the airborne equivalent of the drive home at the end of 'County Hospital'.  The background music is a bit overbearing at times.  However, as with most Laurel and Hardy films there are the occasional sparks of modernity, and 'The Flying Deuces' may very well be the only film of its time to have a serious discussion of reincarnation in its dialogue!  Okay, maybe not, what with the Mummy pictures of the time and all, and given the general fascination with ancient Egypt at that time.  Still, in the tradition of Going Bye-Bye!, The Live Ghost and Thicker Than Water the film ends with the boys somehow irreversibly physically changed, and Ollie saying "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"  In this case, it's a tear-jerker ending that still gets me.

motifs: Stan saying "Huh!"

***1/2

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

(c)2004 Bulk Entertainment

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