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Air Raid Wardens (1943)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | April 1943 (USA)
Two bumblers, failures as businessmen and air raid wardens, stumble across a nest of Nazi saboteurs bent on blowing up the local magnesium plant.

Director:

Edward Sedgwick

Writers:

Martin Rackin (original screenplay), Jack Jevne (original screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stan Laurel ... Stanley
Oliver Hardy ... Oliver
Edgar Kennedy ... Joe Bledsoe
Jacqueline White ... Peggy Parker
Stephen McNally ... Dan Madison (as Horace McNally)
Nella Walker ... Millicent Norton
Donald Meek ... Eustace Middling
Henry O'Neill ... Rittenhause
Howard Freeman ... J.P. Norton
Paul Stanton ... Capt. Biddle
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Charlie Beaugart (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
William Tannen ... Joseph
Russell Hicks ... Maj. Scanlon
Philip Van Zandt ... Herman (as Phil Van Zandt)
Frederick Worlock ... Otto (as Frederic Worlock)
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Storyline

Turned down when they try to enlist, the boys do the next best thing and become air raid wardens. They uncover and foil a Nazi plot to sabotage a magnesium plant. Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THEIR GAYEST FILM GLORIFIES OUR HOME FRONT HEROES! (original half-sheet poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

April 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bombenkerle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1976 Fairchild issued an MGM "Film Classic" puzzle series that included this film. The photo used for the 250-piece puzzle is obviously a publicity still (#1287) and not an actual scene, as it depicts in color Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy seated in a demolished antique car that is up against a tree. The car has no tires, only rims, although one back tire is shown lying on the ground in the rear. See more »

Quotes

J.P. Norton: With those men, we can never achieve perfection.
Dan Madison: Oh, yes we can. We're getting better all the time. We won't make the same mistakes twice.
J.P. Norton: I hope not.
Dan Madison: Look, Mr. Norton, why are you doing this work?
J.P. Norton: Why? Why? To serve my country.
Dan Madison: Well, that's their idea too.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Myra Breckinridge (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Below Par Post-Roach L & H comedy
30 October 2006 | by BJJManchesterSee all my reviews

Another unhappy post-1940's wartime comedy featuring arguably cinema's greatest laughter makers,Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy,although you'd hardly get that particular impression after watching AIR RAID WARDENS.After two unfortunate features at 20th CENTURY FOX,the boys went over to MGM,who distributed virtually all their Hal Roach efforts.They also made occasional guest appearances in all-star extravaganzas there(such as Hollywood REVUE OF 1929 and Hollywood PARTY).It seemed a rather better option as several members of the technical crew(Jack Jevne,Edward Sedgwick,Charles Rogers)had worked with the team before at Roach;Rogers especially was a reliable writer-director-actor and a trusted colleague of Stan Laurel.Most promising of all was the presence of Edgar Kennedy in the cast;it was his first role opposite the boys since NIGHT OWLS,released 13 years earlier.

So why is AIR RAID WARDENS little or no better than their other efforts at Fox? One reason is an overtly serious plot about Nazi saboteurs which,typical of wartime Hollywood,dissolves into much propaganda and takes up far too much running time,and mitigates against many opportunities for L & H humour.To be fair,there are scenes which promise to be typically funny in the L & H mould,but are affected by sub-standard direction and cutting.One of Stan's great strengths behind the camera was his immense contributions in supervising the direction and editing;it's plainly obvious big studio interference,as excessive here as it was at Fox,prevents most of these scenes from being nothing more than very mildly funny.Their two encounters with old foe Edgar Kennedy are a disappointment,particularly the second tit-for-tat battle which should have been far funnier,but is sabotaged by misjudged direction and pacing.Other misjudgements are poorly-handled sequences involving poster-hanging,Stan being forced by Ollie to sign his full name after already scrawling his usual 'X',the Nazi agent forcing Stan to shoot Ollie,and a morbidly out of character speech by Stan saying 'We're not as good as other people' after being sacked after their said confrontation with Kennedy,claiming they were drunk;his and Ollie's self-pitying attitudes are depressingly the total opposite of the eternal,naive optimists gloriously portrayed in the Roach films.Kennedy's role itself is all too brief;a larger concentration on him instead of the mostly bland supporting actors and grim storyline would have been a far better idea.The few brief points in the film's favour are a good production,fairly funny scenes involving a dog disrupting a meeting and a mock first aid encounter with pompous bank manager Norton,played by Howard Freeman,who in fact probably gives the most assured supporting performance in the film.Even so,these are still pretty hackneyed and mechanical comic incidents in which much lesser comedians than Laurel and Hardy could have done.Authentic L & H traits only last but a few seconds,the best of which are some familiar Hardy camera looks,which are in fact the only real amusing bits in the film.At Roach,these bits would have been considered mere punctuation during masterly comic sequences in such films as WAY OUT WEST,SONS OF THE DESERT and others;in AIR RAID WARDENS,they are the best bits of uninspired and banal material surrounding it.Inoffensive,but nowhere near the quality of even their average Roach films.


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