Air Raid Wardens
|Air Raid Wardens|
Theatrical poster for Air Raid Wardens (1943)
|Directed by||Edward Sedgwick|
|Produced by||B.F. Zeidman|
|Written by||Martin Rackin |
|Music by||Nathaniel Shilkret|
|Edited by||Irvine Warburton|
Set during World War II, just after Pearl Harbor, Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy) try their hand at various business ventures. Their store opens and closes in various guises but without success. They finally open it as a bicycle store, but it goes bankrupt and they close it down to enlist in the army. They fail in every attempt to succeed in the military and return to their home town Huxton only to find out that their store now is open, with a man named Eustace Middling (Donald Meek) in charge, selling radios instead of bicycles. But Middling offers them to share the space in a joint venture. Stan and Ollie don't realize that Middling in fact is a German spy, using the shop as a front to cover a base for espionage on the US Military. The brothers also join the civil defense by becoming air raid wardens in Huxton. To complete their training, they have to take part in an advanced military drill, and Stan of course manages to get the wrong assignment—one that is far more complicated than they can handle. They set out on their mission, to rescue a very prominent banker, J.P. Norton (Howard Freeman), from a fire.
They fail hugely with their mission, ending up burying the banker alive in a huge load of sand. Still, they are given one more chance to prove their aptitude as air raid wardens, involving the task of ensuring that all the town citizens turn off their lights at night. They get into a quarrel with one of the more troublesome inhabitants, Joe Bledsoe (Edgar Kennedy), resulting in a commotion and a rumor that spy activity is taking place in Joe's home. The boys are knocked out, and in the end they are finally dismissed from the corps altogether. When they return to their shop, they happen to overhear the spies speaking German, and follow them to a hide-out outside of town. They find out that Middling's real name is Mittelhause, and overhear him talking about blowing the town's magnesium plant to pieces with another spy, Rittenhause (Henry O'Neill). The brothers try to send a message to the civil defense, but instead they are captured by the German spies. Stan accidentally knocks out one of the spies and the boys manage to flee and alert the civil defense, who arrive at the plant just in time to stop the sabotage. Stan and Ollie also expose Middling as a German spy.
- Stan Laurel as Stan
- Oliver Hardy as Ollie
- Edgar Kennedy as Joe Bledsoe
- Jacqueline White as Peggy Parker
- Stephen McNally as Dan Madison (as Horace McNally)
- Nella Walker as Millicent Norton
- Donald Meek as Eustace Middling
- Henry O'Neill as Rittenhause
- Howard Freeman as J.P. Norton
- Paul Stanton as Capt. Biddle
- Robert Emmett O'Connor as Charlie Beaugart
- William Tannen as Joseph
- Russell Hicks as Maj. Scanlon
- Philip Van Zandt as Herman
- Frederic Worlock as Otto
- Charles Coleman as Norton's Butler
- Don Costello as Heydrich
- Daisy as the dog (uncredited)
- 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.
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