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Flying Deuces [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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This classic comedy caper sees Laurel and Hardy doing what they do best... in this case, wreaking havoc in the French Foreign Legion!
Released in 1939, co-scripted by silent-era star Harry Langdon and featuring a guest appearance from long-standing Laurel and Hardy nemesis James Finlayson, The Flying Deuces is among the eternally popular duo's best-loved films. Restored in High Definition, the film is presented here in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio and has never looked better.
Whilst holidaying in Paris, Ollie is heartbroken to learn that Georgette, the beautiful innkeeper's daughter with whom he has fallen in love, is already married. In an attempt to forget her, he decides to enlist in the Foreign Legion, persuading Stanley to join him. The hapless pair are posted to Morocco, where an unfortunate chain of events ends with them being charged with desertion and sentenced to death by firing squad!
 German version: Dick und Doof in der Fremdenlegion
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THE FLYING DEUCES: Network On Air/VCI Entertainment Comparisons
Very simply, apart from the Running time on the Network version being inexplicably 20 seconds shorter than VCI's (I honestly haven't been able to pinpoint any missing footage, and could be merely due to counter irregularities?), the former IS visually superior, period! The VCI Blu-ray Visuals are very contrasty by comparison, though in my opinion, are still the second best that I've ever viewed of this Title. This should give the uninitiated some idea regarding THE FLYING DEUCES' rather spotty history on Home Video!
Insofar as the opening RKO Logo/Original Titles/Credits/Opening and Closing Music; these are identical on BOTH versions!
The White Colored English Subtitles on the Network Blu-ray are more descriptive than VCI's Yellow Subtitles, and unlike the latter, include Music descriptors in addition to the spoken lines.
Regarding the 1951 German Version (DICK UND DOOF IN DER FREMDENLEGION) that's included in the Network Blu-ray/DVD Releases, the Artwork used is of a style that's very similar to the original 1939 illustrations, though they are actually a bit more detailed. Very nicely done! While unfortunately lacking English (Or any!) Subtitles, the voices for the boys' are in my opinion, rather pleasant, with the voice over for Mr. Hardy sounding quite similar to the original!
Why a Trailer for THE FLYING DEUCES wasn't included in either Release is anyone's guess! This would have been a nice Bonus Feature to have included.
The Final Verdict: My recommendation is to go with the Network On Air Blu-ray!
My biggest criticism of the DVD is that the picture quality is very poor - nothing like the quality that one would hope for. The extras are minimal: a rather strange introduction from Tony Curtis which lasts about 5 minutes and appears to be ad-libbed. The intro is actually about Laurel and Hardy in general rather than about the film. The other extra is a 2 minute trailer for a Laurel and Hardy compilation.
If you're a fan (as I am) you will have to have this in your collection. If you're a new-comer, you will probably be better off with "Sons of the Desert" or "Way out West".
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