It opens like Miracle Mile with a fortuitous phone call. A nobleman has gone to change a bill, Charley is fleeing a dog, he enters the phone booth and picks up the receiver. The girl at the other end is about to be married off by her parents.
Charley becomes a butler at the manse, ordered to give The Duke a bath. It’s finally explained to him that it’s milady’s dog.
“The howling hour of 12.” Charley and the girl are eloping, milord and a cop are getting rid of the pesky dog, the nobleman and a confederate are set to lift the safe. All have a prearranged signal, howling.
We faw down
Mrs. Laurel and Mrs. Hardy hold all the cards. You can’t get up a game of poker with them.
Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy go to “meet the Boss at the Orpheum Theatre” for a matinee of vaudeville.
On their way to the midday poker game, they help a lady and get all wet. She invites them upstairs with her friend to dry off.
The Orpheum Theatre burns down, the wives rush out.
Mr. Laurel doesn’t want to play, but the lady has a way of eliciting involuntary responses. One-Round comes home, they flee, observed by the wives on a sidewalk.
Knowing nothing of the disaster, they disastrously relate the entertainment that was offered.
Geo. Washington, Abe Lincoln, Gen. Pershing, Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy.
Busting out of prison, they get their clothes mixed-up in the getaway car, hats of course but also pants.
It’s very hard to change your pants in public, Mr. Laurel gets a crab in his behind a fish market, they are Mr. Hardy’s of course, it imparts a sudden jerk to the stance or gait.
A construction elevator whizzes them to the top of a building going up, Mr. Hardy has the crab now, they teeter and totter above the city until the elevator whizzes them down again, dwarfing a policeman.
The joking apparatus is instantly recognizable (horse, piano, Mr. Hardy) as a cousin to Un Chien Andalou, and especially when the statue gag is deployed you are made aware of a complicated view of art from the standpoint of a disinterested observer.
Sylvania wants to take over Freedonia, the main plans are to foment a revolution and to seduce the new leader, Rufus T. Firefly, with a Latin Mata Hari.
Firefly’s popularity defeats the one, his feverish desire for the nation’s benefactress the other.
The Sylvanian ambassador is also wooing the dame, and that puts Firefly on the offensive. His insults mean war.
All the huggermugger dissolves in Sylvania’s invasion of Freedonia, the ambassador is caught in his own trap.
A complicated succession of thematic gags (admired by Variety, not by the New York Times) generally expresses the opening image of ducks swimming in a caldron on the fire.
Belle of the Nineties
It Ain’t No Sin, goading the New Masses (“whether the success of her bawdiness is a sign that we have conquered Puritanism and are a mature people at last or whether it represents a complete collapse of morality,” wrote Robert Forsythe there, “it is evident that it reveals the lack of authority of religion”), cp. Rally ‘Round The Flag, Boys!, of course. The opening number presents Welles with an ideal entertainment for Citizen Kane. “And remember, I’m a lady, ya woim.” Those two cops in The Trial, the title character calls them on an impediment, “fix this guy.” Question of a champ’s regimen. “Well, I ain’t got a heart o’ stone, I can listen to reason.”
“I wouldn’t mind being a woman myself and have a place like this.” By steamboat to New Orleans, with paddlewheel wipes. “Great town, St. Louis. You were born there?