Laurel and Hardy
One Good Turn (1931) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Mary Carr
At the beginning of One Good Turn, Laurel and Hardy are victims of the Depression, living on the outskirts of town with their meager possessions – an old, run-down automobile, an older army surplus tent, the clothes on their back and some spare shirts. While Stanley (Stan Laurel) is cooking soup for lunch, Ollie (Oliver Hardy) is washing out their clothes in a nearby stream. Oliver, however, makes the mistake of asking Stan to “do something and help me” – and in the process of hanging up the clothes, he trips and knocks the tent into the fire.
In an inspired clown moment, he grabs a drinking cup, walks past Ollie and the stream of water to a water pump, where he fills the cup with water and dashes back. He repeats this twice, finally asking Ollie if he has another cup – why? asks Ollie. “Because the tent is on fire!” They dash back to the remains of the tent and Stan, now that things are too late, flings the soup on the fire in a useless attempt at saving the tent. Ollie, tempting fate, asks how could things get any worse — and the camera obligingly answers, but showing their clothes on the clothesline, shrunk by the heat of the tent flames, now worthless.
Pardon Us (1931) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy – the first Laurel and Hardy feature length movie
Pardon Us is Laurel and Hardy‘s first feature length film. Sent in the middle of Prohibition in the United States, the movie begins with a funny scene where Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy) are crossing the street, and having a car zoom by behind them, almost hitting them; as they turn around to express their anger, a car goes the other way, again almost hitting them. Finally crossing the street safely, Laurel and Hardy begin shopping for the various items that they need to make their own beer – which was legal during Prohibition. What wasn’t legal, however, was to sell any to somebody else – which is exactly what Ollie and Stan are planning to do. Stan, not being a criminal mastermind, makes the mistake of trying to sell a bottle of beer to a policeman, and the boys are off to prison. (more…)
review of The Chimp (1932) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Billy Gilbert
Laurel and Hardy‘s The Chimp is reminiscent of another of their short films, Laughing Gravy, where the bulk of the film deals with them trying to hide a pet (in this case, a gorilla) from their landlord. The Chimp begins with Laurel and Hardy working at a circus, where Hal Roach Studio regular James Finlayson is the ringmaster. Strangely enough, however, Finlayson is not their primary antagonist in the film. Instead, after a short, but very funny, bit where Stan and Ollie are working as a pantomime horse, and then as assistants to “Destructo” the circus strong man. My favorite bit from the movie, in fact, is their “helping” the circus strong man with his act, ruining it. Ending with destroying the circus by firing a cannon through the circus tent. (more…)
Scram! (1932) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Arthur Housman
Scram! begins with Laurel and Hardy in court, on a charge of vagrancy. It’s a warm, funny bit with Oliver Hardy’s kissing up to the judge, and Stan Laurel inadvertently admitting their guilt. Since the jail is full the judge kindly gives them one hour to get out of town. On their way, in a downpour, the two encounter a drunken millionaire, played by Arthur Housman, who has dropped his car key down a grate. (more…)
County Hospital (1932), starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Stan Laurel has nothing better to do, so he decides to visit his friend Oliver Hardy, who’s recovering from a broken leg in the hospital. The introduction is quite humorous, as the clueless Stan looks for Ollie in the wrong places, including the maternity ward — a classic moment. Eventually, he finds his way to Oliver’s room, where Oliver is enjoying himself immensely, enjoying his quiet, relaxing time in the hospital.
Soon after Stan’s arrival, the peace and quiet go “out the window” — quite literally. First, he drops a boiled egg in Oliver’s water pitcher, and in the process of retrieving it, he pours the water all over. Next, when Ollie’s physician, played by classic comic actor Billy Gilbert, comes in to check on his favorite patient, Stan beings playing with the weight attached to Oliver’s hospital bed (keeping his broken leg elevated). (more…)
Laurel & Hardy – Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble
Laurel and Hardy made two films for the MGM studios in the 1940’s – Air Raid Wardens (1943) and Nothing But Trouble (1944). Both films followed the MGM studio film formula at the time, which was not the best fit for the boys’ style of comedy. Even so, both are enjoyable and worth watching. (more…)
Review of The Laurel and Hardy Collection, volume 1 (Great Guns / Jitterbugs / The Big Noise)
After Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy left the Hal Roach studios, they made several movies for 20th Century Fox. Unlike at the smaller Roach studio, Laurel and Hardy were relatively small cogs in a fairly large machine. They had much less control over the making of their movies than previously. Although not of the same caliber of their earlier films, they still had their charms, and are worth watching. In The Laurel and Hardy Collection volume 1, the following movies are included: (more…)
The Midnight Patrol (1933) Laurel and Hardy short film, starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy
Sad to say, The Midnight Patrol was the first Laurel and Hardy movie that I’ve ever seen that I didn’t find very funny. The basic plot has rookie policemen Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy on patrol, who are notified by the police dispatcher that thieves are presently stealing their spare tire. Shortly after, they are called to a possible burglary, but they miss the address, and Stan has accidentally cut the phone line at the call box, and so they try to find a place to use a phone to call in and get the address. (more…)
Men O’War (1929) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Charlie Hall
Men O’War is a Laurel and Hardy short film where Navy sailors Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are on shore leave, and try to pick up a pair of lovely young ladies, and treat them to sodas. However, Stan only has 15 cents, leaving them 5 cents short (I’m resisting the urge to mention inflation here – back in 1929, that was the price of a soda). Oliver decides at first that, in order to maintain their appearance, Stan will simply pretend not to be thirsty when they order. However, Stan keeps forgetting and ordering a soda anyway, much to the annoyance of Ollie — and suffering soda jerk Jimmy Finlayson. Eventually, the boys decide to split a soda — so Stan drinks the entire thing since his half was on the bottom. (more…)
Movie review of the Laurel and Hardy short film Habeas Corpus (1928)
Habeas Corpus is a very funny Laurel and Hardy short film, although it’s technically not a “silent” movie. There’s a synchronised music soundtrack, but Stan and Ollie’s only dialogue is revealed through cue cards.
Habeas Corpus begins with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy coming to a mansion, looking for food – buttered toast. Instead, the butler takes them to see “The Professor”, a mad scientist. Literally mad — as he puts the ashes from his cigarette into his vest pocket, eventually putting them out with a glass of water. He offers them the princely sum (for the time) of five hundred dollars to go to the local graveyard and dig up bodies for his experiments. Although unhappy, the monetary temptation is too much for the boys, and they agree. No sooner have they left than the “butler” reveals himself to be an undercover police officer. He alerts the precinct that the Professor has gone insane — again. And that they need to take him back to the sanitarium, while he follows the two “grave robbers” to the cemetery. (more…)