AN EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE 70 MINUTES FOR ME.
D. Blankenship | The Ozarks | 07/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, it would seem that Amazon, in its infinite wisdom, included every review of this film all into one mixed bag with different versions of the VHS and indeed the CD represented here. The version I am reviewing here is a Goodtimes Home Video Corp. release. It is in VHS format with no extras. The old RKO logo is included in the introductions. This practice is a bit of a pity; a flaw that not only is true for restored movies, but with different editions of various books too. But that being said....
Flying Deuces was released in 1939 and of course stars Stan laurel and Oliver Hardy. Also included in the cast are Jean Parker, Reginald Gardiner, Charles Middleton and James Finalayson. The movie is in black and white and the version I am reviewing here is of pretty good quality when all is said and done.
The plot of this offering is pretty well known so briefly stated; Ollie has fallen deeply in love with an Innkeeper's daughter while he and Stan are in Paris, apparently on vacation from their job in a fish market in Iowa. As luck would have it, the girl, played wonderfully by Jean Parker, is already married which breaks Ollie's heart. He decides to end it all through drowning himself in the Seine. This "drowning episode" brings about one of the best routines in the movie which is funny, whimsical and sad at the same time. He talks Stan into joining him in a watery death and their dialog is one that needs to be listened to quite closely. As Ollie tells Stan of the difficulties of life without him, i.e. Ollie, he says to Stan "people would stare at you and wonder what you are, and I wouldn't e here to tell them." This is thoughtful stuff folks and to be honest, sort of got to me. Our two heroes are interrupted in their plans and instead join the French Foreign Legion in order for Ollie to forget. There troubles truly begin at this point.
Now I fully agree with several other reviewers that this is not the best work these two turned out over the years. I personally though watch each of these old movies as complete stand alones, and pretty well try to ignore work that has preceded the film I am watching and any that will appear later. As a stand along film, I enjoyed this one tremendously. Stan is a master at driving you completely nuts. He is able to take a simple task and trough his repetitive attention to the most minor detail cause you to want to reach through the screen and complete the task for him. This is rare art and a rare gift. The physical aspect of their comedy is perfectly timed.
Of all the comedy teams that have been here and gone, these two are in my opinion one of the best, if not the best. Even in some of their work that is not top notch, their timing is perfect and lets face it, in comedy timing is everything! From facial expressions to misused words they have it completely nailed. Their complete cluelessness is done so well that it actually seems quite natural and you forget that they are actually acting. And what makes it even better is that some of the illogical conclusions that Stan often comes to actually sound and appear logical when he explains himself. They are masters at breaking down complex problems and simplifying them to the point of absurdity, yet making them appear believable.
The supporting cast in this film, and in all of the L&H films, the rest of the cast is indeed always supporting, does a fine job. Jean Parker is looking her best and is quite convincing in her part and Reginald Gardiner was simply made for his role in this film.
I have watched this film several times over the years (actually I saw it the first time not many years after its release), and really never tire of it. I can certainly think of worse ways to spend around 70 minutes.
Still needs restoration work
John Lazar | 09/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For Laurel & Hardy collectors, Kino's "Restored Edition" is a case of good news-bad news. Good news: this is the best-looking version of the film currently available on DVD. Bad news: it still requires some work in order to qualify as being "fully" restored, primarily when it comes to the opening and closing credits. I don't get it. Other copies of THE FLYING DEUCES (available from other distributors) have the original opening title and closing cast credits, so why weren't they part of this edition? Couldn't they have made a composite utilizing this footage? Why not put in some extra effort to make this the definitive version?
As a Laurel & Hardy comedy, THE FLYING DEUCES has very funny sequences, although diehard fans tend to overrate this one way out of proportion. It's routinely cited as the team's best non-Hal Roach feature. And yet I think later efforts such as THE BIG NOISE (1944) and THE BULLFIGHTERS (1945) are much funnier and truer to their style of comedy.
Rabid admirers who despise the L&H films made by 20 Century Fox during the 1940s often throw bouquets at THE FLYING DEUCES, despite the fact that DEUCES shares the same the flaws found in most of the Fox movies: sloppy scripting, erratic pacing, and inconsistent characterizations. Stan and Ollie are always a joy to watch, but this is merely a pleasant time-killer, ranking well below their greatest achievements. In his book THE FILMS OF LAUREL AND HARDY (Citadel Press, 1967), historian William K. Everson summed it up best: "[THE FLYING DEUCES] just didn't jell and seemed to lack the old spontaneous camaraderie of the Roach films. Despite occasional good gags, it was mechanical stuff.""
Well Here's Another Nice Mess You've Gotten Us Into Kino!
J. Moore | Jonesville, NC USA | 10/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OK it's not really a big mess. Actually the picture & sound quality are better than any vhs or dvd edition I've seen. But I wonder why this was released with the Astor titles at the beginning of the movie & with the cast credits chopped off at the end? Doesn't make sense. Thankfully nothing else was cut. According to another reviewer The Turner Corp. from Atlanta Georgia owns a real nice clean print that's uncut. Will we see it on dvd someday? Hope so! The extras on the Kino disc was my main reason for wanting it. The footage of Stan & Ollie on tour in the 1930's is a welcome treat! The photo/poster gallery was highly enjoyable since I haven't seen these before. And the French trailer was great! Do any American trailers still exist today? If so maybe we'll see them on a future Flying Deuces dvd! This Is Your Life was a sensational bonus too because this is something else I haven't seen! This is one of the boys final films before Ollie's health started failing in 1956. It's also nice to see Tree In A Test Tube their only color film. But let the buyer beware as we say. Only the 1st half of the 10 minute short is used with Stan & Ollie. The complete uncut film is included as a bonus feature on The Laurel & Hardy Collection Volume 2 dvd set released by 20th Century Fox in 2006. No this edition of Flying Deuces isn't as bad as my title indicates. In fact it's the best one now available. Hope you think so too!"