Great Guns

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This article is about the 1941 film with Laurel and Hardy. For the 1927 animated cartoon by Walt Disney, see Great Guns!.
Great Guns
Great Guns FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Monty Banks
Produced by Sol M. Wurtzel
Written by Lou Breslow
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Sheila Ryan
Dick Nelson
Edmund MacDonald
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Glen MacWilliams
Edited by Alfred DeGaetano
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • October 10, 1941 (1941-10-10)
Running time 66' 37"
Country United States
Language English

Great Guns is a 1941 film directed by Monty Banks, and produced by Sol M. Wurtzel for 20th Century Fox starring Laurel and Hardy. It is also known as Forward March.


The young, spoiled and feeble Daniel Forrester IV (Dick Nelson), a very rich eligible bachelor, gets his draft notice from the U.S. Army and is beyond himself with joy, because now Daniel has a chance to prove he hasn't the weak constitution his Aunts Martha (Mae Marsh) and Agatha (Ethel Griffies) believe him to have. Daniel performs well at his Army physical and is enrolled in the Army soon after. To look after Daniel during the service, his chauffeur Ollie (Oliver Hardy) and gardener Stan (Stan Laurel) joins the Army at the same time. They all go to basic military training at legendary Fort Merritt in Texas. Daniel finds the Army to his liking, performing excellently at the exercises, but Stan and Ollie are less happy with their new duties. Their drill Sergeant Hippo (Edmund MacDonald) considers Stan and Ollie to be lazy, and soon their every antic drives the sergeant crazy. Stan's pet crow Penelope is a constant source of irritation for the sergeant. But what irritates Hippo most is that the fort's photo developer, Ginger Hammond (Sheila Ryan), takes a special interest in Daniel. The sergeant, who has tried to catch Ginger's heart himself for quite some time, becomes jealous of Daniel. Her feelings are reciprocated as Daniel confesses his love for her in his sleep, while Stan and Ollie listen. They don't want Daniel to pursue Ginger, since they are not certain that his health will cope with the strain of a romantic involvement. Stan and Ollie worry that a relation between the two will kill their employer, so posing as businessmen they pay Ginger a visit and try to fend her off by telling her that Daniel is broke and not the catch she believes. She recognizes them and throws them out. Hippo also tries to break up the loving couple by cancelling Daniel's night leave and putting him in the guard room instead. Stan and Ollie get into trouble when they are captured by the opposite team in a military exercise maneuver. When Daniel hears about their unfortunate situation, he escapes his lock-up and uses Penelope to find Stan. Penelope helps find Stan, and the team that Stan and Ollie belong to win the maneuver. Daniel and his employees become heroes, and Daniel and Ginger become a couple. Penelope gets her own bird-size uniform and all the boys participate in a military parade together, while the aunts and Ginger watch.[1]


Production notes[edit]

The first of Laurel and Hardy's post-Hal Roach features, Great Guns is generally regarded as the start of the team's decline, since they were given unsuitable, out-of-character scripts to work with, and very little artistic freedom behind the camera. At Hal Roach Studios, Stan Laurel looked on such creativity behind as well as in front of the camera as routine, but 20th Century Fox did not allow such luxuries.

Alan Ladd appears briefly as a photo store customer.


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