The Flying Deuces
|The Flying Deuces|
|Directed by||A. Edward Sutherland|
|Produced by||Boris Morros|
|Written by||Ralph Spence
|Studio||Boris Morros Productions|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Running time||69 min|
The Flying Deuces, also known as Flying Aces, is a 1939 comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy, in which the duo join the French Foreign Legion. It is a partial remake of their 1931 short film Beau Hunks.
While on holiday in Paris, Ollie falls in love with the beautiful daughter of an innkeeper. When he discovers that she is married, he is heartbroken to the point of committing suicide. Just as he about to leap into a river (with Stan as well), an officer from the Foreign Legion convinces the duo to enlist. They do so, and end up wreaking havoc in training camp. Hardy, fed up with the harsh discipline and the endless punishments, writes a highly insulting letter to the camp seargent which also announces that he and Laurel are leaving—and signs it. After being arrested for desertion, and summarily sentenced to be shot at dawn, Laurel annoys Hardy by playing The World is Waiting for the Sunrise on the bedsprings. As he is about to play another piece, the jailor yells at them to be quiet. they manage to escape by stealing an airplane, which ultimately crashes. Sadly, Ollie dies in the crash but is reincarnated as a horse, which pleases Stan.
Principal credited cast members (in order of on-screen credits) and roles:
|Charles B. Middleton||the Legion Commandant|
|Jean Del Val||Sergeant|
|Michael Visaroff||The Innkeeper|
As Laurel and Hardy did not have an exclusive contract with Hal Roach, they were able to appear in films for studios other than his as they pleased. A remake of Beau Hunks, The Flying Deuces was released by RKO Radio Pictures and was made by independent producer Boris Morros. Director A. Edward Sutherland and Stan Laurel did not get along during filming, with Sutherland having reportedly commented that he "would rather eat a tarantula than work with Laurel again".
At the beginning of the film, the innkeeper's daughter is seen looking at a framed photograph of Ollie. The same photograph can also be seen in the short film Our Wife (1931), where sight of it prompts the father of Ollie's fiance to forbid the wedding.
The Flying Deuces is one of two Laurel and Hardy features in the public domain, the other being Atoll K. As such, it regularly appears on inexpensive DVD or video compilations. Turner/Warner Bros currently possess the original negative, but have not released the film.
When the film was originally released, it contained a scene featuring an escaped shark (a strange-looking model fin being pulled back and forth) in the river Stan and Ollie are planning to jump into. This was edited out of some releases of the film.
An uncut version transferred from a nitrate 35mm negative discovered in France was restored by Lobster Films and released by Kino Video in 2004. The Legend Films edition contains the edited version of the film.
In "The Impossible Astronaut", the first episode of series 6 of Doctor Who, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) watch the movie on DVD. Rory sees The Doctor (Matt Smith) appear in the film running towards the camera wearing his fez and waving, before returning to dance with Stan and Ollie. This was achieved with Matt Smith dancing in front of a green screen.
- Everson, William K. The Complete Films of Laurel and Hardy. New York: Citadel, 2000, (first edition 1967). ISBN 0-8065-0146-4.
- Louvish, Simon. Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy. London: Faber & Faber, 2001. ISBN 0-571-21590-4.
- McCabe, John. Babe: The Life of Oliver Hardy. London: Robson Books Ltd., 2004. ISBN 1-86105-781-4.
- McCabe, John with Al Kilgore and Richard W. Bann. Laurel & Hardy. New York: Bonanza Books, 1983, first edition 1975, E.P. Dutton. ISBN 978-0-491-01745-9.
- McGarry, Annie. Laurel & Hardy. London: Bison Group, 1992. ISBN 0-86124-776-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Flying Deuces.|
- The Flying Deuces at the Internet Movie Database
- The Flying Deuces at the TCM Movie Database
- The Flying Deuces is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- The Flying Deuces at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Flying Deuces (High Quality on FMO)