Yet another classic Laurel & Hardy film. Stan has stayed on the trenches in WWI France for many years without realising the war had ended. He finally gets brought home to be met by Oli who feels sorry for him and promises that his wife will cook him a nice meal. However, things don't quite work out that way as Oli's better half doesn't like Stan very much and promptly leaves Oli. Stan also causes Oli to get beaten up in a street-brawl with our favourite supporting actor James Findlayson, and by one of the neighbours. The despondent looks on Oli's face every time things go wrong are just priceless. The movie was also watchable in colour but it doesn't quite seem right or necessary as these movies are more at home in black and white.
Until I watched this smashing DVD the other day I had forgotten just how good Stan and Ollie were. They truly were the kings of comedy. Nobody was better before them, and certainly nobody since. As you will see from the films contained in this DVD, they spanned the silent and sound periods with effortless ease.
The showcase film in this selection is of course "Blockheads" and quite rightly so. It uses many of the ideas from "Unaccustomed as we are" an earlier film also contained in this DVD. But you will see how the duo have refined and honed their comedy to perfection in the later film. That old innocent child like face of the silent films, Harry Langdon was one of the writers. The idea of a forgotten soldier of the first world war, unaware that the war had ended, was almost certainly contributed by him, whose own starring comedy "Soldier Man" used that same premise. Funnily enough in light of the forgotten Japanese soldiers of the second World war, it was not so far fetched after all.
The film abounds with hilarious sketches. Ollie finds Stan in a wheelchair at the soldiers home and mistakenly believes him to have one leg. Stan driving through the garage door having missed the automatic opening pad. The "big fight" with that old stalwart Frank Finlayson who also appears in "With love and Hisses". The cooking fiasco. The domestic tribulations. An unfortunate misunderstanding over a neighbours wife. It is all utterly brilliant.
It was nice to watch the earlier films to see how the duo developed their unique comedic style. "With love and hisses" showed many glimpses of what they would become, and is a thoroughly engaging short. Overall these are lovingly restored pictures and they are a credit to the memory of those timeless masters of comedy.
I can only heartily recommend this DVD to you. It is a reminder of just how great comedy once was. Laurel and Hardy needed no modern gimmicks to make you laugh. They just did it.
Another great disc of L&H, if you are a true fanatic then you are probably better off going for the 21 disc box set but this contains the excellent full length film BLOCKHEADS plus the shorts UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE, WITH LOVE AND HISSES and SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? There are also 'colourised' versions of Blockheads and Unnaccustomed on this disc and a booklet with some info about the films.
Block-Heads remains one of my - and many other lovers of Laurel & Hardy's favourites, from the outset with the oh, so memorable Stanley firing at an aircraft and guarding a sentry post, twenty years after the war had ended. The huge pile of empty baked bean tins that has been amassed over that period is an unforgettable sight!
After he is rescued and recuperating at an old soldier's Home, Ollie reads about his front-line pal, with whom he had fought alongside, in the newspaper. Off he goes to visit Stan in his almost brand new car. The intention is take him back home to enjoy a meal that Mrs Hardy has cooked.
Of course, nothing goes to plan and here the stunts are just a bit better than usual, undertaken with even more gusto and for its 50 minute runtime, is one of their most consistently inventive, entertaining and funny features. Block-Heads easily gets 5 gold stars.
The accompanying shorts, though, do lower the overall standard and overall score. With Love & Hisses is a vintage 'silent' from 1927 and it's quite alarming how grainy, grey and poor in quality it is. Along with the final short and unlike the others, this isn't available as a tinted colour option. The lads, shown separately, as they tended to be in the very early days, get called up, say goodbye to their nearest and dearest and then get "trained" at boot camp. A modern score and exaggerated sound FX accompany.
Should Married Men Go Home is another 'silent' but a year later than the other one and is leaps and bounds better in picture quality. The basic premise is that the duo get to play a few rounds of golf. Stan, in his golfing pantaloons looks quite ridiculous, more like a clown than a golfer! There's a fair amount of falling about and visual slapstick and is pretty good overall.
Unaccustomed As We Are is a Talkie, and another domestic one for the pair. It was fine when it was on, but quite forgettable once over.
Disc 7 in the giant complete boxset is a great one but as with so many of the discs, the stand-out (Block-Heads) is dragged down a little by the shorts, even though it's great to see them and to contrast the not-so-good with the classics.
I must have seen this movie about 1948 and only recently decided to track it down . The most memorable scene that I could remember from the age of 6 or 7 was Stan throwing the empty cans on to an already large pile . The restoration is excellent and even the coloured version is well worth watching , sound is very good as well , it is good to see that Universal has gone to a lot of trouble in the restoration . I can also recommend "Hell's Angles " released by Bounty
What a good laugh to be had by watching comedy's finest duo,they never fail at that,my all time heroes,if you're feeling down,why dontcha watch laurel and hardy,they will brighten up your day for sure.