1940s Air Raid Wardens (1943)

Published on March 13th, 2008 | by Chris

0

Air Raid Wardens (1943)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On March 13, 2008
Last modified:October 6, 2012

Summary:

But in 1943's Air Raid Wardens, that original magic was pretty much gone. They were both a few years older, and by this time were just going through the motions, and their "shtick" had already become somewhat dated

Air Raid Wardens (1943)I love Laurel and Hardy.  I really do.  I mean how can you not?  During the 30's they were sort of a counterpoint and companion to the slapstick of the Three Stooges.

But in 1943's Air Raid Wardens, that original magic was pretty much gone.  They were both a few years older, and by this time were just going through the motions, and their "shtick" had already become somewhat dated, having been surpassed by more contemporary acts like Abbot and Costello.

The picture finds the two in their usual state of decrepitude.  Having gone belly up in several business ventures, they've started a bicycle shop.  But shortly after they get the patriotic itch and decide to join up with the war effort.

Well, they get turned down by every division of the service, and return home.  Really this early part of the film sets a tone for the rest of it.  From this point its clear they're no longer what they used to be, both on the screen, and generally as an act.  It's kind of an ironic bit.

Anyway, they return to find a group of guys moving a radio shop into their bicycle store!  And, as we soon find out, they're not what they appear to be.

Well, the town's Civil Defense Corps. takes pity on them, and lets them do their part as Air Raid Wardens.  Of course they're inept even at that, and are subsequently discharged from that duty as well.

But, as luck would have it, they stumble upon, quite by accident, a Nazi plot to blow up the local Magnesium plant, and in their own bumbling way, save the day.

Truthfully, as a fan of the early Laurel and Hardy this was a disappointment of epic scale.  It's clear that Air Raid Wardens is nothing but a wartime propaganda piece.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  There were lots of them at the time.

The problem is that, quite frankly, you just can't go home again.  The few episodes of typical Laurel and Hardy mayhem in the film just have a "going through the motions" feel to them.  They just didn't have it anymore.  Some of the bits, while they may have been funny during the post-depression 30's, just seem sad at this point.  Such as Stan struggling furiously just to write his name down as he's checking out his gear.

And the ending?  Well, lets just say it ends like you'd expect the typical fifteen minute short to, not a feature-length picture.

I really wanted to like Air Raid Wardens, but when it was all said and done I just couldn't.  Another fine mess, indeed.

Laurel & Hardy - Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble Laurel & Hardy - Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble
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Description

Laurel and Hardy: Air Raid Wardens/Nothing But Trouble (DVD) (DBFE)Whether serving their country in wartime or serving multicourse mealtime mayhem, Laurel and Hardy serve up laughs in this classic twofer...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
Manufacturer: WarnerBrothers
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Various

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Home Front Rallying movie with Laurel and Hardy, September 10, 2008
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This review is from: Laurel & Hardy - Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble (DVD)
The backstory of this film has been told many times: the original script was a successful blend of traditional L & H and a story about a typical small town in the homeland which tries to do its' part in Civil Defense despite the blunders of a couple of well-intentioned but hopelessly confused shopkeepers who sign up as Air Raid Wardens.
What was removed from the screenplay has never been located to my knowledge, so what we have is a good story, but one which features much humourless, belabored slapstick. The more demanding 1943 ticket-holders would have to turn one of the many Laurel and Hardy revivals - a more representative Stan & Babe movie like "Way Out West" might be in circulation just down the street.
The 1943 MGM offer is the best of the two on this set: Actually a well-crafted light comedy, despite the use of two comedy legends with next to no regard for their established screen characters. The troupers make due with tired, downbeat material, although there are... Read more
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as I thought, December 8, 2011
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This review is from: Laurel & Hardy - Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble (DVD)
I won't go into detail about the plots, or the behind the scene events with these MGM pictures,as both have been written about in other reviews with far more detail and insight than I could provide. When I ordered these (to complete my L&H sound film collection) I was expecting the worst. I was happily surprised that I actually liked them. Stan and Ollie are doing the best they can under the circumstances - and even while not their best work, they are still better than anyone else. It was fun seeing them with Edgar Kennedy again, and both films have some wonderful moments. While they don't compare with the incredible shorts and features at Roach, they are nevertheless entertaining, and like I said at the top, not as terrible as I was expecting them to be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not their best, but still a lot of laughs., April 17, 2013
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This review is from: Laurel & Hardy - Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble (DVD)
To me, Laurel and Hardy's best days were the late twenties and early thirties. These come from the mid-forties and Stan and Ollie are showing their age. That said, I did laugh out loud a number of times. I found Nothing But Trouble to be the funnier of the two--our fearless duo take on a culinary challenge--which, of course, goes horribly wrong. In Air Raid Wardens Stan and Ollie inadvertently take on the Nazis--with predictably hilarious results. Well worth it for the Laurel and Hardy fan or anyone who wants a good, clean chuckle.
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Air Raid Wardens (1943) Chris

Summary: But in 1943's Air Raid Wardens, that original magic was pretty much gone. They were both a few years older, and by this time were just going through the motions, and their "shtick" had already become somewhat dated

2.5


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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