Great Guns (1941)

73 mins | Comedy | 10 October 1941

Director:

Monty Banks

Writer:

Lou Breslow

Cinematographer:

Glen MacWilliams

Production Designers:

Richard Day, Albert Hogsett

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Forward March . It was the first picture made by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy for Twentieth Century-Fox. Although a 24 Apr 1941 HR news item stated that the comedians had been signed by the studio to a contract specifying that they make nine films on a two-per-year basis, they made only six pictures for the company. (Their first feature film was the 1931 Hal Roach release Pardon Us . See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-1950 ; F3.3372.) Many modern sources comment on the disparity between the films Laurel and Hardy made for Twentieth Century-Fox and Hal Roach, noting that while at Roach, Laurel had considerable input into writing, directing and editing their pictures. At Twentieth Century-Fox, however, Laurel had little control over their films, and their makeup and costuming were also changed to some extent.
       According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Manning O'Connor and an unnamed writer went to Fort MacArthur and Camp Roberts, CA to study military procedures and observe new recruits going through basic training. The files also note that screenplay writer Lou Breslow intended for the picture to be set in "a cavalry division post similar to Fort Bliss, TX." The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also at UCLA, note that the railroad station scenes were shot on location in Inglewood, CA. Great Guns was the last feature film that comedian/director Montague (Monty) Banks directed, and was also the only feature film he directed in the United States. He ... More Less

The working title of this film was Forward March . It was the first picture made by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy for Twentieth Century-Fox. Although a 24 Apr 1941 HR news item stated that the comedians had been signed by the studio to a contract specifying that they make nine films on a two-per-year basis, they made only six pictures for the company. (Their first feature film was the 1931 Hal Roach release Pardon Us . See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-1950 ; F3.3372.) Many modern sources comment on the disparity between the films Laurel and Hardy made for Twentieth Century-Fox and Hal Roach, noting that while at Roach, Laurel had considerable input into writing, directing and editing their pictures. At Twentieth Century-Fox, however, Laurel had little control over their films, and their makeup and costuming were also changed to some extent.
       According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Manning O'Connor and an unnamed writer went to Fort MacArthur and Camp Roberts, CA to study military procedures and observe new recruits going through basic training. The files also note that screenplay writer Lou Breslow intended for the picture to be set in "a cavalry division post similar to Fort Bliss, TX." The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also at UCLA, note that the railroad station scenes were shot on location in Inglewood, CA. Great Guns was the last feature film that comedian/director Montague (Monty) Banks directed, and was also the only feature film he directed in the United States. He immigrated to the United States in 1940 with his wife, English actress Gracie Fields, after Great Britain entered World War II and Banks was declared an alien because of his Italian birth. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Sep 1941.
---
Daily Variety
10-Sep-41
---
Film Daily
10 Sep 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 41
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Sep 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Sep 41
p. 275.
New York Times
3 Oct 41
p. 27.
Variety
10 Sep 41
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Pub dir
Crow trainer
Researcher
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Forward March
Release Date:
10 October 1941
Production Date:
began 14 July 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
10 October 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10769
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73
Length(in feet):
6,619
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7564
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Wealthy Daniel Forrester IV, who is believed to be in very poor health by his well-meaning but interfering aunts, Martha and Agatha, is overjoyed when he receives his draft notice, for he will finally have a chance to prove that he is physically fit. After Daniel passes his army physical, his chauffeur, Oliver Hardy, and gardener, Stan Laurel, join the army with Daniel so that they can take care of their beloved employer. During basic training in the cavalry unit at Fort Merritt, Texas, Daniel thrives on the discipline and hard work, but the sheltered Stan and Ollie are thrown in a tizzy by the unfamiliar regulations and routines. Their drill sergeant, Sergeant Hippo, quickly identifies the boys as bumblers, and is continually irritated by the antics of Stan's pet crow, "Penelope." Hippo is further annoyed when Daniel attracts the attention of pretty Ginger Hammond, who works at the base developing photographs. Ginger's interest in Daniel goads the jealous Hippo, who has been courting her in vain, to threaten the new recruit. Later, Stan and Ollie overhear Daniel proclaim his love for Ginger as he talks in his sleep and, worried that a romance would strain his heart, decide to dissuade Ginger from pursuing the relationship. Posing as a government inspector and a Wall Street tycoon, Ollie and Stan visit Ginger and tell her that Daniel is actually broke, even though he says he is rich. Ginger, who recognizes the boys from one of Daniel's photographs, dramatically tells them that she will never give him up and throws them out. Distraught, Stan and Ollie ask Hippo for his advice, and in order to ... +


Wealthy Daniel Forrester IV, who is believed to be in very poor health by his well-meaning but interfering aunts, Martha and Agatha, is overjoyed when he receives his draft notice, for he will finally have a chance to prove that he is physically fit. After Daniel passes his army physical, his chauffeur, Oliver Hardy, and gardener, Stan Laurel, join the army with Daniel so that they can take care of their beloved employer. During basic training in the cavalry unit at Fort Merritt, Texas, Daniel thrives on the discipline and hard work, but the sheltered Stan and Ollie are thrown in a tizzy by the unfamiliar regulations and routines. Their drill sergeant, Sergeant Hippo, quickly identifies the boys as bumblers, and is continually irritated by the antics of Stan's pet crow, "Penelope." Hippo is further annoyed when Daniel attracts the attention of pretty Ginger Hammond, who works at the base developing photographs. Ginger's interest in Daniel goads the jealous Hippo, who has been courting her in vain, to threaten the new recruit. Later, Stan and Ollie overhear Daniel proclaim his love for Ginger as he talks in his sleep and, worried that a romance would strain his heart, decide to dissuade Ginger from pursuing the relationship. Posing as a government inspector and a Wall Street tycoon, Ollie and Stan visit Ginger and tell her that Daniel is actually broke, even though he says he is rich. Ginger, who recognizes the boys from one of Daniel's photographs, dramatically tells them that she will never give him up and throws them out. Distraught, Stan and Ollie ask Hippo for his advice, and in order to break Daniel's date with Ginger, Hippo cancels his furlough and throws him in the guardhouse. Soon after, Stan and Ollie participate in maneuvers, during which the blue team is supposed to construct a bridge and attack the white team. The boys act as spies for the white team, but are quickly captured and forced to help build the blue team's bridge. When Hippo taunts Daniel about his friends' capture, Daniel escapes and gets Penelope. Daniel tells Penelope to find Stan, and the crow leads Daniel and the white team to the blue team's bridge. The white team blows up the bridge and wins the games, and soon after, Ginger proudly watches with Agatha and Martha as Daniel marches during an inspection. Penelope participates in her own uniform, and Stan and Ollie bring up the rear in a sanitation truck. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.