Block-Heads (1938)

“If you want me to go, I’ll stay as long as you like.”

Synopsis:
A WWI soldier (Stan Laurel) stays in the trenches for 20 years, not realizing the war is over; when he’s finally discovered, his buddy (Oliver Hardy) brings his home to meet his wife (Minna Gombell), who mistakenly believes Ollie is having an affair with an old flame (Patsy Moran).

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Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that while this “enjoyable Laurel-and-Hardy comedy” “hasn’t many high points and the ending is too quick”, it’s “consistently amusing and a good showcase for the team’s unique style”. I agree. While the storyline is ultimately more episodic than narrative-driven (nothing more is ever made of Laurel’s infamous over-stay in the trenches, for instance), there are enough fun sight gags throughout to keep one engaged. By the way, having watched nearly all the Laurel and Hardy titles in Peary’s book, only a handful stand out to me as “must see” for all-purpose film fanatics: this title, Babes in Toyland (1934), Sons of the Desert (1933), and Way Out West (1937). By watching all four of these films, ffs will have a chance to see the gamut of L&H’s best gags; and those who become enamored with the duo will be delighted to know they made literally dozens of other films, both short and full-length.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Plenty of wonderful gags



Must See?
Yes; this remains one of Laurel and Hardy’s most amusing films, and will likely be enjoyed by most film fanatics.

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One Response to “Block-Heads (1938)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    On thinking about L&H movies, overall…it seems to me that the only ‘must-see’ is ‘Babes in Toyland’. Aside from that, further viewing is optional and a matter of personal taste.

    This style of comedy has become somewhat dated. The amount of slapstick used went out-of-fashion a long time ago.

    Much of the humor in this film is clever without necessarily being funny – which I found odd to observe. I found the opening gag – that no one told Laurel that the war was over – to be fun…but I didn’t think much of the film after that, even though I could also sense that it is very slightly amusing.

    It’s not so much a matter of it being comedy from a long time ago. For example, Buster Keaton films have retained their joy and delight. But this kind of material is much more obvious, pushing a bit too hard in its delivery. That aspect hasn’t aged well.

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