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The Flying Deuces


This was the first comedy that Laurel and Hardy starred in without producer Hal Roach, although they had previously been "guest stars" in four MGM movies. After they finished making "The Flying Deuces," they returned to Hal Roach Studios to make films. In order to make this movie, producer Boris Morros bought the rights to the 1931 French film "Les deux legionnaires," which had a similar plot. "The Flying Deuces" was Morros' first independent production and it was shot in continuity over a span of four weeks. Only one day was reportedly needed for retakes. The French original starred Fernandel and Noel Noel. SYNOPSIS: Ollie is in love with a woman. When he find out that she is already married, he tries to kill himself. Of course, the suicide is prevented and the boys join the Foreign Legion to get away from their troubles. Eventually, they are arrested for trying to desert the Legion and escape the firing squad by stealing a plane.

The Flying Deuces, also known as Flying Aces, is a 1939 comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy, in which the duo join the French Foreign Legion. It is a partial remake of their 1931 short film Beau Hunks.


While on holiday in Paris, Ollie falls so much in love with Georgette, the beautiful daughter of an innkeeper, he intends to marry her. Unfortunately, she turns down his marriage proposal because there is someone else, "very much so". (Unbeknownst to him at the moment, a French Foreign Legion officer named Francois is her husband, and has returned briefly to see her.) Ollie is heartbroken to the point of committing suicide. Just as he about to jump into a river (with Stan joining him), Francois, happening to catch sight of them about to do so, convinces the duo to enlist in the Foreign Legion in order to forget Ollie's failed romance. When Stan asks him how long it will take Ollie to forget, should they join the Foreign Legion, Francois points out it will only take a matter of a few days. Enticed by Francois's offer, plus the fact that Ollie will completely forget his failed romance very shortly, they enlist.
Right from the start they wreak havoc in training camp, and when they are taken to see the commandant to be introduced to their daily legionnaire duties, he gives them a full litany of long tasks, for which their daily wage is 100 centimes, which, translated into American currency amounts to only three cents. Hardy flatly tells the commandant neither he nor Stan will have any part of it for only three cents a day, to which Stan concurs that they don't work for less than 25 cents a day. For this uppity attitude they are sentenced to very menial hard labor, washing and ironing a mountain of laundry, with legion officers constantly on their backs ("Go ON!! Get back to WORK!!! Whaddya think this IS?!!"). Finally and 'miraculously', Ollie manages to forget his broken romance completely, (thus no longer having to work in the legion) and, his and Stan's purpose in joining the Foreign Legion fulfilled, they prepare to leave the legion and go back home to the United States...but before they do, fed up with the harsh discipline and the endless punishments they had to suffer, Ollie intends to tell off the commandant on their way out. They are unable to find the commandant and unwilling to search for him. So Ollie writes him a very insulting farewell letter and signs it.
Before long they meet Georgette again, and Ollie is at first delighted that she has changed her mind and come back to him and proceeds to embrace and kiss her. Ollie, however, becomes un-delighted by Francois, the same Foreign Legion officer who had encouraged them to join the Legion earlier, who icily informs him that Georgette happens to be his wife and threateningly warns him to stay away from her, or else. After Francois leaves, the commandant appears on the scene and grimly tells Stan and Ollie he received their stern farewell note, and it has now become their death warrant. He then pronounces them under arrest for desertion. They are then taken to the prison, locked up and summarily sentenced to be shot at dawn. At one point the jailor forgets to lock the door.Stan amazes Ollie by playing The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise on the bedsprings. As he is about to play another piece, the jailor yells at them to be quiet. Later in the evening, someone throws a hint informing them that they can escape by means of a tunnel leading from their cell to the outside wall. Stan brings on an accidental cave-in which causes the underground path to lead to, of all places, Francois and Georgette's dwelling. In no time at all, the whole legion engages in hot pursuit of the boys, who manage to flee to a nearby hangars and hide out in an airplane, which Stan accidentally starts up, forcing the boys to fly it until it ultimately crashes. Stan manages to emerge seemingly unharmed from the crash, but Ollie has died. Eventually, however, he is reincarnated (earlier in the film, the duo contemplated being reincarnated) as a horse (complete with mustache and hat), which pleases Stan. In the final seconds of the film, Ollie makes his famous remark, "Thats another nice mess you got me into".


Principal credited cast members (in order of on-screen credits) and roles:
{| class="wikitable" width="60%"
|- bgcolor="#CCCCCC"
! Actor !! Role
| Stan Laurel || Stan
| Oliver Hardy || Ollie
|Jean Parker || Georgette
|Reginald Gardiner || Fran├žois
|Charles B. Middleton || the Legion Commandant
|Jean Del Val || Sergeant
| Crane Whitley|| Corporal
|James Finlayson (actor) || Jailer
|Michael Visaroff || The Innkeeper
Charles B. Middleton reprises the Legion Commandant role he played in 1931's Beau Hunks, while Laurel and Hardy's frequent co-star Jimmy Finlayson also makes an appearance as a jailer.


As Laurel and Hardy did not have an exclusive contract with Hal Roach, they were able to appear in films for studios other than his as they pleased. A remake of Beau Hunks, The Flying Deuces was released by RKO Radio Pictures and was made by independent producer Boris Morros. Director A. Edward Sutherland and Stan Laurel did not get along during filming, with Sutherland having reportedly commented that he "would rather eat a tarantula than work with Laurel again". The Legend Films] edition contains the edited version of the film.


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    • William K. Everson The Complete Films of Laurel and Hardy. New York: Citadel, 2000, (first edition 1967). ISBN 0-8065-0146-4.
    • Louvish, Simon. Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy. London: Faber & Faber, 2001. ISBN 0-571-21590-4.
    • John McCabe (writer). Babe: The Life of Oliver Hardy. London: Robson Books Ltd., 2004. ISBN 1-86105-781-4.
    • McCabe, John with Al Kilgore and Richard W. Bann. Laurel & Hardy. New York: Bonanza Books, 1983, first edition 1975, E.P. Dutton. ISBN 978-0-491-01745-9.
    • McGarry, Annie. Laurel & Hardy. London: Bison Group, 1992. ISBN 0-86124-776-0.

    Category:1939 films
    Category:1930s comedy films
    Category:American comedy films
    Category:American films
    Category:Aviation films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:Films directed by A. Edward Sutherland
    Category:Films set in Paris
    Category:French Foreign Legion in popular culture
    Category:Laurel and Hardy (film series)
    Category:Military humor in film
    Category:RKO Pictures films
Boris Morros

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