Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, May 5, 2008


GREAT GUNS (1941). Director: Monty Banks.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy began working for Twentieth Century Fox, but many of their fans feel Fox didn't really know what to do with them. Their early Fox films, such as Great Guns, were seen as imitations of successful Abbott and Costello features. Although the boys are as good as ever in this picture, at times they seem lost in busy surroundings and a not-very-compelling love triangle. When an over-protected young man Daniel (Dick Nelson) is inducted into the Army, Stan and Ollie -- who work for his family -- go with him to look out for him (along with Stan's pet crow). They come afoul of a bad-tempered Sergeant (Edmund MacDonald) who has a yen for a pretty photo shop clerk, Ginger (Sheila Ryan, who would also appear in A-Haunting We Will Go), but she prefers the shyer, less aggressive Daniel. It all ends with the boys getting involved in war games. Some funny moments, but not one of the better Laurel and hardy features. Kane Richmond (Spy Smasher) and Alan Ladd have very small speaking roles as soldiers. Ryan and Nelson make an appealing romantic couple and give nice performances as well.

Verdict: For L&H fanatics only. **.

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