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on 7 May 2009
wow what a carry on. Since FLYING DEUCES is in the public domain and therefore available for any old tom, dick or harry to stick on a dvd and sell its a headache trying to find a decent print. Reading these customers comments are enough to drive you mad, especially since I suspect some of them are written by people REPRESENTING the companies churning out the poor copies in an attempt to sell more.

FACT ---- The only one worth buying is by the American studio KINO (red cover). It is remastered from a marvellous print and has some great extras. KINO are one of the finest dvd companies in the world, putting a lot of love and attention into their silent film dvds.

FACT ---- Despite Amazon stating KINOS dvds are REGION 1 and therefore only playable on US or MULTI-REGION dvd players they are in fact all region 0 discs, and therefore playable on ALL dvd players. I think AMAZON just have a blanket policy to state all USA produced dvds are region 1 to avoid any complaints if one doesnt play.

FACT --- Other companies releasing FLYING DEUCES include stonevision, elstree hill and they are abysmal..you will pull your hair out at the poor quality of the naff print they use.

SOOOOO, get yourself the big 21 disc Laurel and Hardy boxset here in the UK, the 2 twentieth century fox sets also here in the UK for work not in the big boxset (3 films each set), grab this Flying Deuces from the states AND finally (and you will need a multi-region player for these) the TCM LAUREL AND HARDY ARCHIVES and AIR RAID WARDENS/NOTHING BUT TROUBLE double bill dvd from the states to ensure you have just about everything.

Remember, look for KINO as the studio under the flying deuces dvd release info...only one worth buying
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on 18 December 2002
Actually, this is a very good film and one I'm glad to have in my collection but I don't believe it is Laurel and Hardy at their best. The story is set in France and involves the duo entering the Foreign Legion. I personally think that Laurel and Hardy work best on home ground so the French setting isn't an ideal one. I also think that their funniest films are the ones where they dominate and the plot is secondary; in "Flying Deuces" the reverse is the case with a slighly over-involved plot and not enough of the central protagonists for my liking. That said, it is a funny film with some classic moments
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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on 27 June 2015
Given the other recent Region A Blu-ray Release by VCI Entertainment, it seemed appropriate to do a bit of comparing.

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!
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on 16 June 2015
This Network production is the version of The Flying Deuces that all Laurel and Hardy fans have been waiting for. The best surviving elements of this film have been acquired and restored by the BBC Digital Media Services team according to the end credits and what a fine job they have done. This is by far the sharpest and cleanest print of the film I have ever seen. It is hard to see how it can now be improved if we have the best available elements. It blows all previous public domain versions out of the water with superior audio and contrast quality. With a running time of 65 minutes it has the original RKO Radio Picture opening credit and also the cast list at the end. It also includes the shark scene previously omitted from some other versions. Major film scratches have been removed although some still remain but are not too intrusive and the whole film is in the best condition so far. Also included as extras are a German dubbed version, a photo gallery and PDF material. I have the DVD version so can only imagine that the Blu-ray version would look even better. Buy with confidence as this is a superb print. Credit to Amazon also for delivering it quickly the day after release on the 125th anniversary of Stan Laurel's birth (16th June 1890).
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on 27 April 2004
Never mind the price - this is an appalling print of this film whichnearly managed to wreck my enjoyment. The picture is fuzzy, there areannoying jumps where a few seconds have been lost, blotches and scrathes.It's alomst unbeliveable that this company had the cheek to release itlike this!
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Laurel and Hardy's careers didn`t just hit rough waters when they left producer Hal Roach for better paying jobs with studios that hadn't a clue what to do with them like MGM and 20th Century Fox, they all but ran aground, but their first independent effort away from their old home (though made while still working with Roach), 1939's The Flying Deuces, stands out like a diamond in the rough among the exponentially worse and increasingly unwatchable films that would follow. Returning to the Foreign Legion stamping ground of their classic 1931 short Beau Hunks, bringing Charles `Ming the Merciless' Middleton along with them again as their bad tempered commandant as well as regular stooge Jimmy Finlayson as their exasperated jailer, the plot's as thin as Stan is. Ollie, having fallen hopelessly in love with a Parisian waitress who loves another, is persuaded by Reginald Gardiner's officer to join the Legion to forget, which takes about as long as it does for the boys to find out the pay is three cents a day ("We don't work for anything less than 25 cents a day!") and they have to do the washing for the entire regiment...

It all ends with that old comic standby, with our heroes in a plane they don't know how to fly, but while it's never uproariously funny it is a very pleasant and amusing hour and a bit. Not everything is as good as it could be - the suicide setpiece fails to exploit the idea of an escaped shark circling the section of the Seine Ollie chooses to much effect, so it's no surprise the shark was absent from some reissue prints - but it helps that, for the only time outside the Roach films, Stan Laurel had a hand in the writing and editing, something which greatly antagonised director A. Edward Sutherland, who said he'd rather eat a tarantula than work with Laurel again. Just to add even more color to the production, producer Boris Morros was at the time spying for the Soviet Union before changing sides six years later and becoming a double agent!

It also contains one of their most delightfully gratuitous musical numbers when they stop for a brief soft shoe shuffle to the tune of Shine On Harvest Moon (which Matt Smith's Doctor Who invaded in the 2011 episode The Impossible Astronaut), as well as another where Stan plays a wire bedspring like a harp playing The World is Waiting for a Sunrise - while waiting to be shot at sunrise. (It's been claimed that it was Harpo Marx doing the actual harping: certainly the opening shot portrait of Stan and Ollie was the work of forgotten silent comedian Harry Langdon.) No classic, perhaps, but genuinely likeable.

Laurel and Hardy's careers didn`t just hit rough waters when they left producer Hal Roach for better paying jobs with studios that hadn't a clue what to do with them like MGM and 20th Century Fox, they all but ran aground, but their first independent effort away from their old home (though made while still working with Roach), 1939's The Flying Deuces, stands out like a diamond in the rough among the exponentially worse and increasingly unwatchable films that would follow. Returning to the Foreign Legion stamping ground of their classic 1931 short Beau Hunks, bringing Charles `Ming the Merciless' Middleton along with them again as their bad tempered commandant as well as regular stooge Jimmy Finlayson as their exasperated jailer, the plot's as thin as Stan is. Ollie, having fallen hopelessly in love with a Parisian waitress who loves another, is persuaded by Reginald Gardiner's officer to join the Legion to forget, which takes about as long as it does for the boys to find out the pay is three cents a day ("We don't work for anything less than 25 cents a day!") and they have to do the washing for the entire regiment...

It all ends with that old comic standby, with our heroes in a plane they don't know how to fly, but while it's never uproariously funny it is a very pleasant and amusing hour and a bit. Not everything is as good as it could be - the suicide setpiece fails to exploit the idea of an escaped shark circling the section of the Seine Ollie chooses to much effect, so it's no surprise the shark was absent from some reissue prints - but it helps that, for the only time outside the Roach films, Stan Laurel had a hand in the writing and editing, something which greatly antagonised director A. Edward Sutherland, who said he'd rather eat a tarantula than work with Laurel again. Just to add even more color to the production, producer Boris Morros was at the time spying for the Soviet Union before changing sides six years later and becoming a double agent!

It also contains one of their most delightfully gratuitous musical numbers when they stop for a brief soft shoe shuffle to the tune of Shine On Harvest Moon (which Matt Smith's Doctor Who invaded in the 2011 episode The Impossible Astronaut), as well as another where Stan plays a wire bedspring like a harp playing The World is Waiting for a Sunrise - while waiting to be shot at sunrise. (It's been claimed that it was Harpo Marx doing the actual harping: certainly the opening shot portrait of Stan and Ollie was the work of forgotten silent comedian Harry Langdon.) No classic, perhaps, but genuinely likeable.

Since falling in the Public Domain the market has been swamped with budget label releases on DVD of execrable quality. While the best of the NTSC releases was Kino's special edition, that itself was a less than satisfactory standards conversion from MK2/Lobster Film's French PAL release, which had much superior mastering and was definitely the one to go for - until now. Network's 2015 DVD and region-free Blu-ray release may come up short of extras - just a dubbed and unsubtitled German version and copious stills and poster gallery - but has truly excellent, pin-sharp picture quality thanks to a superb restoration from the BBC that turns what was long one of the worst looking Laurel and Hardy film on home video to what is almost certainly their best. Highly recommended.
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on 24 May 2007
**This review is regarding the KINO release only**

The KINO release is a restored version of the film taken from Nitrate negatives found recently in France, and the picture quality is amazing, as good as or better than any other of L & H's better looking films.

Also on the Dvd is;

An introduction by Serge Bromberg

The Stolen Jools (19 mins)

Laurel & Hardy in Tynemouth and Edinburgh (1932)(14 mins)

Tree in a Test tube (5 mins)

This is your Life(T.V. Show 1955) (28 mins)

Original French Trailer

Poster Gallery

Stills/Promotional Materials

This release is worth buying for the restored film alone, it's never looked or sounded better. The added extra material make this a bargain Dvd. Highly recommended.
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on 17 July 2015
This Blu-ray contains the best version yet seen of The Flying Deuces. It's fully complete, with the RKO antenna intro and cast list at the end. Unlike the DVD version, there's no PAL speed-up, so it runs the full 68 minutes instead of 65. The disc is also encoded for regions A and B (and possibly more). Occasional little blemishes appear, but do not detract from the overall excellent quality with great contrast and sharpness. Audio is very clear.
The bonuses include a photo gallery and a separate German-dubbed print (the 1950-51 premiere version) which also looks very good.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 March 2016
I bought the "Network" version to compliment my other boxset (Laurel & Hardy - The Collection (21-disc Box Set) [DVD]) as this was missing from that. I used the free VLC Media Player by VideoLAN to capture the screen-shots.

The picture quality/audio quality is good for an eighty year old film; and has English audio and subtitles. There are a couple of extras - an image galley; and a German version of the feature with no subtitles.

After a woman turns down his marriage proposal, Ollie wants to drown himself and convinces Stan to do the same. They meet an officer of the French Foreign Legion, who suggests that Ollie join the Legion instead, in order to forget her. Quickly spreading chaos within the Legion, they soon find themselves sentenced to be shot.
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on 30 October 2015
In my childhood I watched and re-watched a ton of Laurel & Hardy, especially the short films. This was my favourite of their features. While the duo are holidaying in Paris, Ollie falls in love with a woman only to be turned down. To forget he joins the Foreign Legion (and Stan of course must come along) and they get into all kinds of misadventures. I have seen the film several times over the course of my life and it still remains a solid entertainment with several LOL moments and even a poignant ending.
Network's blu-ray is decent although I wish it could have been better. Print damage is quite acceptable in terms of scratches/lines, but the contrast could have been better adjusted to have a wider gray-scale. In default, the film looks a little too bright, with blown areas. But this is supposed to be still better than the US release from VCI. As an extra they have put in a German version of the film (don't know if this is just an alternate audio track or a separate cut of the film).
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