Great Guns (1941)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Military Comedy, Slapstick  |   Run Time - 73 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Definitely a mixed blessing, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's first feature comedy for a major studio, 20th Century Fox, features one of the team's best non-Hal Roach moments: Pvt. Oliver Hardy attempting to appear nonchalant at an army inspection with Laurel's pet crow stuffed down the back of his pants. It is exactly the kind of physical humor -- action and especially reaction -- the team did so well and the scene never fails to earn a hardy laugh. Not quite as funny -- to put it mildly -- is Lou Breslau's often inane one-liner heavy dialogue that not only seems downright crude for this, the gentlest of comedy teams, but wouldn't have passed muster even in an Abbott and Costello-style comedy, which was obviously Breslau's -- and executive producer Sol M. Wurtzel's -- goal for Great Guns. The supporting cast is what you'd expect: Dick Nelson, a radio performer who does well enough in the romantic lead but military duties prevented any future films, and Sheila Ryan, who is always a welcome addition to a Fox programmer. Director Monty Banks, who hailed from the silent comedy days, keeps things running at a fast clip, another fatal mistake vis-à-vis Laurel and Hardy, whose comedy routines demanded a slow, steady buildup for maximum effect.