Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Flying Deuces


I would argue that the greatest comedy team of all time was better at their two-reelers, both silent and sound, than they were at feature films. But that’s not saying the features weren’t great. This one was made getting on toward the tail end of Laurel and Hardy’s peak feature period, near the beginning of a slow decline. Not that they ever got terrible, even in their uneven and, in some ways, sad final feature, Utopia. Anyway, here the boys are new recruits in the French Foreign Legion, where they have gone so Ollie can forget his rejection by his sweetie back in Paris. It is a re-make (with significant changes) of their 1931 short, Beau Hunks, which was a long “short” running almost forty minutes. As usual, there is much to enjoy, but the high point is when they are assigned laundry duty as punishment for basically having no clue that they have to follow orders. There is an absolute Everest of dirty clothes, and a gigantic area of stretched clotheslines. You can imagine the trouble they can get into with tubs full of soapsuds, and they find every way possible.