Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)

Second-rate Laurel and Hardy material is so good it would be nearly any other comedian's first-rate material and Pack Up Your Troubles is a good example. It takes an exceedingly unfunny subject (WWI), adds in a little-girl-lost plot, meanders about as Laurel and Hardy movies often do and is still timelessly enjoyable.

Comedians have frequently used the lost or orphaned kid plot; it usually generates audience sympathy and gives the comedians someone to play off of. Chaplin created the template with The Kid. Some of the many later examples include Pack Up Your Troubles, Harry Langdon's Three's A Crowd (1927), Max Davidson's The Rag Man (1925) and even Jerry Lewis' The Family Jewels (1965).

The girl in Pack Up Your Troubles, who loses her father in a French trench, is played by Jackie Lyn Dufton. She's perfect for the role and has some charming scenes with Stan Laurel. This Hal Roach production is filled with great character actors who our duo meet as they attempt to reunite the orphaned girl with her real family, including James Finlayson, Tom Kennedy and Billy Gilbert.

Pack Up Your Troubles is short (68 minutes), but sweet.

Pack Up Your Troubles has been released on DVD as a part of Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection.

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