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Laurel & Hardy: Duck Soup

Laurel & Hardy: Duck Soup

  • M. Shepherd posted: 05 Nov at 7:44 pm

    This is one of the very first Laurel & Hardy films. The boys are a couple of bums who are on the run from the cops and the forest

    service who believe that they started a forest fire. They hide in the empty home of millionaire Col. Buckshot. When someone shows

    up wanting to rent the house Ollie impersonates Col Buckshot while Stan does double duty impersonating both the butler and the maid.

    This film was later remade as a talking short called Another Fine Mess.

    Rating: 4 / 5

  • Phil S. posted: 05 Nov at 8:52 pm

    A film of great historical interest as it is considered the very first L & H “team” effort. Despite the obvious missing pieces of their trademark characterizations in this very early effort – note unshaven, slovenly Ollie – an almost disturbing image as the Ollie we know always maintained his dignity (even as Stan unintentionally worked so hard to take it away) – and an almost “underworld” quality to their image (they were the ones who accidentally but recklessly (?) started a forest fire and while escaping from the mansion in which they took refuge, they take time to load up a suitcase with “bows and arrows” belonging to the owner, Colonel Buckshot).

    Anyone could see that they were now a team for the ages, despite the rough-around-the-edges approach in this silent film with sound effects.

    The characters are “almost there”, as I wrote above – something like the first season of an important sitcom – some depressing exaggeration which would settle in later.

    This short really kicks in around the second half, suddenly the comedy explodes – nothing to match the later sound classics (including the unofficial sequel of “Duck Soup” – “Another Fine Mess”, and the feature “Pack Up Your Troubles”, which borrows some from this 2-reeler, 5 years later), but still fun.

    Typically outstanding cinematography and editing. Let’s assume Mr. Laurel was keen in these areas even at this early juncture.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  • Anyechka posted: 05 Nov at 10:33 pm

    Though there will probably always be a debate about which was the first “real” L&H film, this is indisputably the first one in which they appeared as a team. They’re a little rough around the edges, and it would take some time before they became a team permanently (there were a number of false starts during 1927; they’d be in a few pictures as a team, then only being in the same picture by happenstance, then back to being a team), but this is their first film as a team regardless. Since the film was lost until 1974, the print isn’t in the best shape it could have been, but it’s not nearly what I’d consider unwatchable. The title was a common slang term of the period; saying something was duck soup was like saying it was a shoe-in, an easy job, in the bag. Remade in the sound era as ‘Another Fine Mess,’ in this original incarnation the boys are two vagabonds who started a big forest fire and are now trying to elude the forest rangers who are drafting any tramps they can find to fight these fires. On their flight, they run into a mansion which has just been vacated by the owner, who is going on one of his African safaris, and the servants, who are going away for the weekend. Assuming they’ll have the house to themselves for two whole days, they sit down and begin eating. However, a newlywed couple comes to the door, wanting to rent the place for their honeymoon, and the boys pull off the charade of pretending to be the owner and his maid Agnes (Stan in drag yet again). Lord and Lady Plumtree buy their act so well that they decide to rent the place, and when the real owner, Colonel Buckshot, comes back to pick up his bows and arrows, they believe Ollie when he says the man locked in the closet and throwing a fit is a former tenant of theirs, a man who won’t leave them alone and who was committed for 18 years. A chase ensues, during which time Stan, still dressed in the maid’s outfit and wig, escapes outside to start loading the suitcases (containing Buckshot’s belongings!) into a moving truck. One of the forest rangers comes up and starts flirting with him, and the ruse would have continued had not his skirt got caught on a nail and been ripped away from his body, revealing the pants he had on underneath the skirt. The boys have gotten busted and now have no recourse but to fight the forest fires they started.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  • Anonymous posted: 05 Nov at 11:03 pm

    Duck Soup was released in 1927,and then seemed to disappear from the face of the earth shortly after. For years it was thought that the film starred Stan Laurel, with Oliver Hardy possibly in a bit part. Finally, a print was located in a Belgian archive in 1974. When the film was screened for the first time in over forty years, it was discovered that Stan and Ollie actually costarred as a team for the first time, very much in their familiar characterizatons!A very funny comedy that was based on a music hall sketch by Stan’s father, A.J. Jefferson, Stan and Ollie are hoboes who evade the law by hiding in a mansion. They are then forced to impersonate the owner and maid in order to fool a married couple who wish to rent the house. Laurel and Hardy display the wonderfully seamless teamwork that was their hallmark, even though there are a few rough edges to be worked out(i.e. Ollie wears a battered top hat, monocle, and a three day growth of beard). If the plot sounds familiar, it should. Laurel and Hardy remade the film, very closely, as “Another Fine Mess” in 1930.
    Rating: 4 / 5

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