Filmed the same year as the first Laurel and Hardy feature PARDON US (1931), this follow-up was held from release until the following year while their money-making debut continued to rake in profits. For their second film the duo turned to an easy comic target--the Army. They play a
couple of WW I recruits who experience nothing but trouble while trying to serve their country. They pal around with Dillaway, who makes them promise to look after his daughter, Lyn, if he should not return from the war. When Dillaway is killed, Laurel and Hardy heed his wish and take the darling
3-year-old away from her miscreant foster parents. They then begin a seemingly fruitless search for the girl's grandfather, whose name is Smith. To make their search even more difficult, they do not know the grandfather's first name. They peruse the phone book but have no luck. Laurel, on a hunch,
travels to Poughkeepsie in search of the mysterious "Smith." When Hardy questions the trip, Laurel replies, "I went all the way to Poughkeepsie and this ain't them," as he holds out a box of Smith Brothers cough drops. Another lead has them attending a boxing match between Steamboat Smith and Kid
McCarey (a play on the codirectorial credit given to Ray McCarey). When Hardy informs the brutish boxer that they have his granddaughter, he angrily responds, "Blackmail, eh?" and belts Hardy in the jaw. Barely surviving on the meager profits of their lunch wagon, Laurel, Hardy, and Lyn decide to
try their luck at requesting a bank loan. It turns out, coincidentally, that the banker, Tucker, is Lyn's grandfather. Extending his gratitude to the duo, Tucker invites Laurel and Hardy to his luxurious mansion for dinner. Before they can eat, however, the cook recognizes them as enemies from
their days at the Army training camp and chases them out of the house. While not as funny as PARDON US, PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES does benefit from a somewhat more cohesive story line. Basically, PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES is a collection of humorous skits (the first half hour in the Army is only vaguely
connected to the later search). The funniest moment in the film's early half is when Laurel and Hardy are told by the Army cook (played wonderfully by director Marshall) to collect the garbage. When they ask what they should do with it, Marshall sarcastically responds, "Take it to the general." A
confused Laurel asks his hefty pal, "What do you suppose the general wants with it?" To which Hardy replies, "There you go asking questions again. When will you learn to follow Army curriculum? If the General wants it he can have it." They then proceed to fill up the General's office with garbage.
An even funnier moment occurs later when Laurel gives in to Lyn's wish for a bedtime story. Before long, Lyn has taken over the storytelling and has put Laurel into a sound sleep. Curiously, this scene was to have been played with Hardy in Laurel's role before Hardy suggested the change. Roach,
the film's producer, had discovered the charismatic 3-year-old Lyn in England and subsequently made great use of her in his "Our Gang" comedy shorts. Although a codirector credit is given on PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES, Marshall reportedly was the sole man at the helm. McCarey, a veteran of Hal Roach
shorts for the "Our Gang" series, "Charlie Chase" series, and Laurel and Hardy (as well as being the brother of Leo), is said to have been the chief gag writer.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Filmed the same year as the first Laurel and Hardy feature PARDON US (1931), this follow-up was held from release until the following year while their money-making debut continued to rake in profits. For their second film the duo turned to an easy comic ta… (more)