The boys' Army buddy, Eddie Smith, is killed in the trenches in France, leaving his baby girl an orphan. Back home after Armistice, they try to find Eddie's father and turn the child over to him. Unfortunately, they keep coming up with the wrong Smiths, and in the process disrupt a wedding by proclaiming the baby to be the groom's child. To evade the Welfare Association, they try to skip town, raising money for their escape by hocking their lunch wagon. But they accidentally knock the bank president unconscious and wind up being hunted down for bank robbery
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De, dum, de, dum, de, dum, de dum, da, da, da, da…Yep, it’s Laurel and Hardy in one of their comedy features. ‘Pack up Your Troubles’ sees the comedic duo forced into war, cause havoc and rescue a four year old- I didn’t make up that last part! As always Laurel and Hardy play their alter egos. The film is set in April 1917. This is unusual because the Laurel and Hardy series have always remained in the present.
Through a scheme, to pull the wool over the recruitment general’s eyes, having gone wrong; the male protagonists are recruited to the army. Unable to ‘follow the curriculum of the army’ the hapless couple is downgraded to cleaning and disposing the rubbish. After a failure to dispose of the rubbish, they are sent to the trenches. In the trenches they are condemned to drive a tank which they do in fine Laurel and Hardy style.
The characters on the surface appear flat due to it being a gag a minute comedy but they are not. Laurel seems the meek, simple-minded creature but it is him who kicks first and asks questions. Hardy pretends to be the opposite of his partner in comedy. The 3-D characters of these two are shown through humour and story. It’s a term of endearment imaging Laurel and Hardy as parents.
H. M. Walker is the re-occurring dialogue writer of the comedy duo’s series and keeps the standard high. Some of the slapstick humour seems dated, though. The verbal humour, however, sounds as fresh as it is today as it was in 1932 and transcends through decades of comedic cinema. In a 2005 poll, The Comedian’s comedian, Laurel and Hardy were voted the 7th greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians.
The theme of bad parents, war-torn children and persistence mixes laughter and drama. This is a pleasant surprise from the series and to some extend films. It is true the modern war films seem to be only within the realms of the drama genre and does not mix the two. Sad but true. After all, as The Killers would say, ‘this is the world that we live in’…now. It is much more serious. I don’t want to get too political- at least comedy still exists.
The flaws? It just uses the stereotypical duo of big man and small man. Although, this couple can be regarded as the original, if you don’t count Abbott and Costello (I do my research!). Today’s world is more aware of seeing stereotyping as a problem. The pacing can be a bit static at times but this maybe due to the editing. Style – only it seems dated for this generation.
Target audience time- the audience for this film is mainly of the more mature generation. However, the 20s and 30s people might get a kick from it as well.
Clean, slapstick, old- fashioned humour wraps up this Laurel and Hardy outing, and for ribbon? A message of persistence.