|Directed by||Monty Banks|
|Produced by||Sol M. Wurtzel|
|Written by||Lou Breslow|
|Music by||David Buttolph|
|Edited by||Alfred DeGaetano|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
The young, spoiled but feeble Daniel Forrester IV (Dick Nelson), a very rich eligible bachelor, gets his draft notice from the US Army and is beside himself with joy, because now he has a chance to prove he does not have the weak constitution his aunts Martha (Mae Marsh) and Agatha (Ethel Griffies) believe him to have. Daniel performs well at his army physical and is enrolled in the army soon afterward.
To look after Daniel during his service, his chauffeur Ollie (Oliver Hardy) and gardener Stan (Stan Laurel) join the army at the same time. They all go to basic military training at legendary Fort Merritt in Texas. Daniel finds the army to his liking, performing excellently at the exercises, but Stan and Ollie are less happy with their new duties. Their drill sergeant, Hippo (Edmund MacDonald), considers Stan and Ollie to be lazy, and their antics drive the sergeant crazy. Stan's pet crow Penelope is a constant source of irritation to the sergeant. But what irritates Hippo most is that the fort's photo developer, Ginger Hammond (Sheila Ryan), takes a special interest in Daniel. The sergeant, who has tried to catch Ginger's heart himself for quite some time, becomes jealous of Daniel. Daniel confesses his love for her in his sleep, while Stan and Ollie listen in. They do not want Daniel to pursue Ginger, since they are not certain that his health will cope with the strain of a romantic involvement.
Stan and Ollie worry that a such relationship between the two will kill their employer, so posing as businessmen, they pay Ginger a visit at home and try to deflect her by telling her that Daniel is broke and not the catch she believes he is. She recognizes them and throws them out of her apartment. Hippo also tries to break up the loving couple by cancelling Daniel's night leave and making him a prisoner in the guard room instead.
Stan and Ollie get into trouble when they are captured by the opposing team in a military exercise. When Daniel hears about their unfortunate situation, he escapes his lock-up and uses Penelope to find Stan. Penelope helps find Stan, and the team that Stan and Ollie belong to win the maneuver. Daniel and his employees become heroes, and Daniel and Ginger become a couple. Penelope gets her own bird-size uniform and all the boys participate in a military parade together, while the aunts and Ginger watch.
- Stan Laurel as Stan
- Oliver Hardy as Ollie
- Sheila Ryan as Ginger Hammond
- Dick Nelson as Dan Forrester
- Edmund MacDonald as Sgt. Hippo
- Charles Trowbridge as Colonel Ridley
- Ludwig Stössel as Dr. Schickel (as Ludwig Stossel)
- Kane Richmond as Captain Baker
- Mae Marsh as Aunt Martha
- Ethel Griffies as Aunt Agatha
- Paul Harvey as General Taylor
- Charles Arnt as Doctor
- Pierre Watkin as Colonel Wayburn
- Russell Hicks as General Burns
- Irving Bacon as Postman
The first of Laurel and Hardy's post-Hal Roach features, Great Guns is generally regarded as the start of the team's decline, since they were given unsuitable, out-of-character scripts to work with, and very little artistic freedom. At Hal Roach Studios, Stan Laurel looked on such creativity behind as well as in front of the camera as routine, but 20th Century Fox did not allow such luxuries. Biographer John McCabe was among those who documented Laurel's unhappiness with these later films for Fox and MGM.
Alan Ladd appears briefly as a photo store customer.
The film shows the American army preparing for World War Two and is laughable (pun intended) for the antiquated tactics and equipment shown. Much of the film is about a mounted cavalry unit training for war. As the film was released in October 1941, two months before Pearl Harbor, but well after the Fall of France and the invasion of the Soviet Union, the obvious superiority of tanks made this film seem very outdated.
- "Great Guns (1941) - Overview". TCM.com. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
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