The Music Box [Laurel and Hardy]

The Music Box (1932), starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Billy Gilbert

Synopsis of The Music Box

In The Music Box, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are furniture movers with a simple task.  All they have to do is deliver a piano.  Up a long flight of steps.  While the piano keeps rolling down the steps at every opportunity.  And having to deal with the reluctant customer

Review of The Music Box

In short, The Music Box is one of the funniest short films that I’ve ever seen, or ever will.  It’s the only Laurel and Hardy film to win an Oscar, which is well-deserved.  The film builds slowly, with one minor obstacle after the other.  Each obstacle is slightly larger than the one before, building into a crescendo of comedy.  And that musical piano keeps rolling down the steps …

The first obstacle is their mule, Susie, who “helps” them unload the piano by pulling the cart forward, as Stan Laurel is trying to unload the piano.  Onto Oliver Hardy‘s back.

The second obstacle is a nanny, who tries to get down the long stairway with her baby buggy.  And in the process, the piano is bumped, and back down the steps it goes!  The nanny laughs at the situation at the bottom of the hill, and Stan’s temper gets the better of him.  And he gets punched by her, and poor Oliver gets a baby bottle broken over his head.  And she then tells a police officer, who calls them down when they’re halfway up … and down goes the piano!

After the officer “bounds over his steps” and delivers some slapstick, it’s back up the stairs … and Billy Gilbert appears, as a stuffy professor who refuses to walk around.  Verbal abuse becomes physical, and Stan knocks off his hat.  Which goes down the steps, into the street, and flattened by a car.

There’s much more, including the damage to the house once they get there, but I won’t spoil it.  In short, if you haven’t seen The Music Box, go see it.  You’ll laugh out loud at one of the finest examples of film clowning that you’ll ever see.

Jitterbugs

Jitterbugs (1943) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Bob Bailey, Vivian Blaine

Buy Jitterbugs from Amazon.com Jitterbugs is, hands down, one of the funniest Laurel and Hardy films that I’ve ever seen. The jitterbug ending, especially, is laugh out loud hilarious — literally. The movie begins with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy driving across the country as not-too-successful musicians, and are soon picked up by a likable con man (Bob Bailey) who uses the unwitting duo to sell his bogus “gas pill” (think free gasoline) at every stop — and soon have lots of dissatisfied people chasing them. Continue reading

The Dancing Masters

The Dancing Masters, starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Trudy Marshall, Robert Bailey, Margaret Dumont

Editorial review of The Dancing Masters courtesy of Amazon.com

This Laurel and Hardy vehicle casts Stan and Ollie as the proprietors of the “Arthur Hurry” dance studio. Despite a rather sizeable student body, the boys would starve to death were it not for their only paying customer, socialite Trudy Harlan (Trudy Marshall). Trudy is in love with Grant Lawrence (Robert Bailey), an aspiring inventor who needs financial backing for his revolutionary new flame thrower. Continue reading

The Bohemian Girl

The Bohemian Girl (1936) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, James Finlayson, Thelma Todd

Laurel and Hardy's comedy, The Bohemian Girl

Many people think of The Bohemian Girl as the answer to the trivia question, “What was Thelma Todd‘s final film?”  €”And that’s a crying shame.  The Bohemian Girl is actually one of my favorite Laurel and Hardy films, for several reasons.  It’s quick-paced, with some excellent comedic bits between Stan and Ollie.  The interplay between Oliver Hardy and Mae Busch (who plays his nagging, unfaithful wife) is very funny, with their perennial foil James Finlayson making an appearance at the end as “Captain Finn”, captain of the guard for the harsh Count Arnheim. Continue reading

Two Tars

Two Tars (1928) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Edgar Kennedy, Charlie Hall, Thelma Hill, Ruby Blaine

Two Tars (1928) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Edgar Kennedy, Charlie Hall, Thelma Hill, Ruby BlaineTwo Tars is a classic Laurel and Hardy short film, dealing with a basic concept.  Stan and Ollie are two sailors on leave, who simply want to go on a date with their respective girlfriends.  They rent a car and get stuck in a traffic jam.  It’s the tit for tat escalating destruction between the irate motorists that make this a comedy classic. Continue reading