Laurel & Hardy at War – Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)

Pack up your Troubles is only one of many Laurel & Hardy movies showing them at war. There are better examples but it still has a few iconic and quite hilarious scenes. I grew up with Laurel & Hardy, during my childhood they were always on Sunday TV and so, no matter how silly, I’m fond of them.

The US are entering WWI. In his typical boasting way Hardy pretends he would join up if only he was given a chance. The chance is given soon enough in form of a conscription officer but the moment Hardy sees him, he tries to escape and weasel out. To no avail. They are drafted and end up in the trenches of France where they go about their own business pretty oblivious of the mess around them. Food, warmth and a few other things are more important for them. While this was certainly essential for all the soldiers, in Laurel and Hardy’s case it’s center stage. They behave in the trench like an old couple at home. The shelling and bombing is perceived as a major nuisance but not as the real danger it is. Sent to make a few prisoners, they turn a dangerous mission into a hilarious adventure that ends with a surprising success.

Edie Smith, a fellow soldier, tells them about his little daughter. He had to leave her behind with a couple of really abusive folk. When he goes missing, our two heroes decide that after the war they will bring the girl to her rightful grandparents.

The second part of the movie takes place after the Armistice and shows their adventures with the little girl and all their troubles and mishaps until they finally find the grand parents.

Pack Up Your Troubles is one hour long. It’s amusing, not one of my favourites, but still entertaining. They pack all the elements of WWI movies into a film –  the trenches, the barbed wire, the mud, the bombings – and add a humorous twist. Laurel & Hardy’s humour is slapstick, it’s not satirical, nor very profound. If you like it, you will enjoy this as well.

Do you have a favourite Laurel & Hardy at war? Or another favourite Laurel & Hardy?

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18 thoughts on “Laurel & Hardy at War – Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)

  1. Guy Savage says:

    I can remember two of their films as the best: one in which they eat shoes (was it The Gold Rush) and The Music Box –a film in which they try to deliver a piano.

    • I think I remember the piano one. I watched one last year which was hilarious but had nothing to do with war. I think they were both married. Need to find out how it was called.

  2. the war movie buff says:

    This is a huge departure from your usual posts! I am not a big fan of old school humor. It just does not hold up for me. I found “Flying Deuces” on Neflix instant play so I may write a companion review of your post.

    BTW Charlie Chaplin eats his shoes in “The Gold Rush”.

    • Guy Savage says:

      I have this memory of Oliver making a fuss of putting a napkin in his shirt before tucking into a shoe.

    • I know, that was the point, I wanted something very different. I haven’t watched a lot of war comedies, old school or other, it’s a beginning. I saw one of their movies which was even more war themed.
      I enjoyed this, there are silly boot camp scenes and what not…
      But “Fyling Deuces” has no war theme or does it?

  3. Why can shoe eating not be in both movies?

    • Guy Savage says:

      If anyone remembers the name of the film with the shoe eating (if it indeed exists) add it to the post here, please. I can even see Hardy picking out nails from the sole. I don’t think it can be the Chaplin film I remember as I’m not a Chaplin fan.

    • the war movie buff says:

      It could be “Saps at Sea”.

    • the war movie buff says:

      Congratulations, you posed a question that has never been asked in the entire span of mankind’s existence! I will go you one further, why can’t shoe eating be in all movies? Imagine it in 3D! I would go to more movies if there was more shoe-eating. You should do a post on the best shoe-eating movies.

  4. TBM says:

    I haven’t seen too many Laurel and Hardy shows. The Three Stooges were always on instead. I was surprised that Laurel and Hardy had a war film actually. I should check it out. I’ve always liked humor like this, even if it isn’t their greatest work.

    • I have never seen The Three Stooge. They were never on TV here.
      They have amde many “war movies”. Haff a dozen at least. I’ll get to them sooner or later.
      It’s an amusing movie. The scene in which they have to take German prisoners is hilarious.

      • TBM says:

        Wow…you’ve never seen the Three Stooges…that is a shame. I loved them as a kid but I haven’t watched them in years so I have no idea if I would like them as an adult. Sometimes childhood memories are best left alone. I’ve ruined a few movies that I loved as a child and then watched them as adult and ended up hating the movie.

      • It can be soo disappointing, I agree.
        It happend to me once or twice as well.

  5. Chinmaya says:

    Hello,
    A quick introduction from my end-Iam Chinmaya from Bangalore,India. The reason for my mail is that I understand that the “Sons of the Desert” are having their next convention at Hollywood later this year and would want to know if you are attending it. You may check this for more details- http://www.laurelandhardywood.com/ .

    Incase you or anyone whom you know are,please let me know as there are somethings that i want to discuss regarding transport and accommodation.My id is chimayaprakash@gmail.com Else,you may ignore this.

    Regards and best wishes,
    Chinmaya

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