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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.


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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