Monday, August 22, 2011

Pack Up Your Troubles

Pack Up Your Troubles; Comedy, USA, 1932; D: George Marshall, Raymond McCarey, S: Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, Tom Kennedy

The US enters into World War I. Laurel & Hardy would gladly avoid getting drafted, but a general catches them on a bench. Since they are clumsy, they bring garbage into general's room and thus get brought into jail. On the French battlefront, the duo accidentally immobilizes the German army, but their colleague, Eddie Smith, dies and thus his daughter is left an orphan. Laurel & Hardy decide to find her grandfather so she can stay with him, but the whole town is filled with people whose last name is Smith. Just as the police is about to bring her to an orphanage, the grandfather finds her.

After a mass of light comedies, Laurel & Hardy made an untypically ambitious film, "Pack Up Your Troubles", which almost has a touch of dramatic flair: not only does it depict US soldiers in World War I, but also a little girl who was left without parents, so the duo tries to find her grandfather. However, when all is said and done, this is still a straightforward comedy with a whole list of funny jokes and situations (i.e. a cook is threatening the two heroes who are sitting on a bench, but when Laurel stands up, Hardy's weight tips it and the bench hits the bad guy; a police officer exchanges this line with Laurel regarding the girl: "Are you searching for her grandfather?" - "We are not searching for him. We want to find him.") Probably the most absurd scene is when the two heroes storm a wedding and claim they have "Eddie's daughter", and the husband is truly called Eddie, but Headaway, not Smith! However, just like most of their films, even this one suffers from 'rough' style and spasmodic execution.


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