Their Purple Moment
Mr. Laurel has saved a nest egg from his wife, he and Mr. Hardy take a couple of sharp ladies to dinner, but all of the nest egg has been switched for cigar coupons by Mrs. Laurel, who’s saving them for a cream pitcher.
The disaster ends in the restaurant kitchen with a pie in the face for both wives and the headwaiter.
Should Married Men Go Home?
That is, return to the unmarried state. A bachelor is portrayed clumsily visiting the home of his married friend, the two set off for a game of golf as the bachelor wishes and the wife angrily insists.
Foursomes Only is the order of the day, two lovely slips of girls seek accommodation.
And now the married man (Oliver Hardy, a “lonesome banker” like his friend Stan Laurel) must tacitly begin all over again on the wide course with oil wells, where Edgar Kennedy loses his toupee and replaces it with a divot inadvertently, all ends with a mud fight eventually sinking the bachelor.
The basis of Foster’s Men O’ War, and not only that but Godard’s Weekend as well.
Two girls with a stuck “bubblegum gimmick”, Sailor Hardy shakes ‘em loose. They pile into a rented jalopy and hit the highway, where there’s an immense traffic jam. And this, too, they eventually leave behind.
The Flat Brain Theory has infected a professor, he hires Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy to dig up a body.
The professor’s butler is a cop.
Graveyard horrors peopled by the cop, who of course isn’t dead.
The professor’s carted away in the first reel.
They Go Boom!
As in Bonnie Scotland (dir. James W. Horne), the power of the Hardy sneeze.
It deflates his sickbed with a bang when the air mattress has so distended with gas that he’s staring at the ceiling like Michelangelo, and it repels the landlord and a squad of policemen come to take action against the noise generated by Mr. Laurel’s every attempt to alleviate Mr. Hardy’s sniffles.
The prison population is increased by Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy, H.M. Walker opens the film in very best style by stating the case for a miscarriage of justice.
Men with apples go over the wall, Stanny and Ollie chop down a cherry tree that ain’t to earn their supper, and spoil the governor’s inspection tour with rice in the radiator.
Governor and warder in reverse prove conclusively that the two cons are not as black as they are painted.
Skretvedt remarks that it is “one of their most concise” and quotes Motion Picture Magazine, “if you don’t laugh yourself silly, you must have lockjaw.”
Halliwell’s Film Guide, “splendid”.
Ersatz alky provided by jealous Mrs. Laurel is bravely drunk but she is there with a shotgun to punish like a revenooer in this satire of Prohibition.
“Après moi, le déluge.”
Inequitable weather for the harmonium and bull fiddle on a sidewalk.
Three ladies send them along, drop a dove’s egg in the cup, and destroy their instruments.
A cop’s wallet seals the deal.
To put up a radio aerial so Mrs. Hardy can hear Japan.
The desperate efforts end down the streets of town in Mr. Laurel’s scrunched car, the radio repossessed.
The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case
Analysis of this great satire was undertaken by Roy Del Ruth in Topper Returns, where it’s not Uncle but a lady who perishes.
The punchline here at the start of the Depression is not that it’s a dream, but that “they’ve been looking for work since 1921.”
Another Fine Mess
Col. Buckshot’s off to South Africa for the hunting, two city park benchwarmers hide out in the Beverly Hills mansion he’s renting out for the duration.
And they very nearly rent it to an Englishman before they’re sent fleeing down the avenue in the skin of a wildebeest, riding a tandem bicycle into a streetcar tunnel that denudes the local police force and divides the pair, Mr. Hardy shamming as “the last of the Kentucky Buckshots” and Mr. Laurel as Hives and Agnes, the butler and maid respectively
Should married men go to the Polo Club? Stan and Ollie are members, a stag party is offered in their honor.
The wives have arranged a trip to Atlantic City.
Ollie gets a headache, the wives go to the train station.
The boys in their polo outfits bring on the great central gag. Ollie has Stan’s boots on, they won’t come off, the entire plight is Ollie trying to remove a boot that’s too small. His house gets smashed up as he tries, the pure surrealist mystery of his married life is revealed everywhere.
The great anti-Prohibition comedy is now sixty-seven minutes long and includes nearly all the elements cited by Skretvedt as excised in preview. Only this editing can account for the film’s lesser reputation.
“Because they decided to sell what they couldn’t drink, Laurel and Hardy are put in the big house,” says a Hal Roach summary. The prison break to cotton fields anticipates Cool Hand Luke (dir. Stuart Rosenberg), the prison riot is as fierce as Alcatraz around Frankenheimer’s Birdman.
Ollie blows the roof off when his wife’s away in Chicago visiting her mother. Stan is there at once to help clean up, but when all’s said and done Ollie has a bent sword and a black eye and it raineth.
The Music Box
How Madame *** installed a player-piano in the Alps with the aid of Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy.
A surreal commentary on the theme of bachelorhood and marriage, where the one is simply a flea circus and the other a pistol-packin’ mama gorilla.
It begins with the collapse of the big top after roustabouts Ollie and Stan pour too much gunpowder into Destructo’s cannon and ditheringly fire it straight up, this follows upon the circus parade (before an amusing crowd of stragglers) with Lady Godiva a circus hand in union suit and wig briefly riding a pony.
A further surreal examination of the state depicted in Should Married Men Go Home? and Unaccustomed as we are—, Ollie is seen reading in bed with an enormous plastered leg extending up in the air, Stan comes to visit. The doctor advises a month or two of rest, Ollie is agreeable.
“Hardboiled eggs and nuts” are the theme, Stan brings them instead of candy, Ollie can’t eat them. The traction weight goes out the window with the doctor dangling from it for his life, Ollie is suspended above his bed. The double room is shared with a monocled Englishman gleeful at being released, Ollie too is sent home. Stan sits on a nurse’s hypodermic needle, her laughter mystifies the boys, she shares the joke with the head nurse. “He’ll sleep for a month,” says the latter, also laughing.
In a careering process shot that solely exists to manifest the giddy hazards of city life, Stan nearly unconscious drives Ollie in an open car along the boulevard through traffic wildly, the enormous projection of the cast rises from the back seat like an ithyphallic festival.
The car is crushed between two streetcars so that, despite a cop’s demand to pull it over, Stan is only able to drive it in circles.
A tale of intermarriage. Mr. Laurel has married Mr. Hardy’s sister, and vice versa.
A most meticulous comedy, what with the trickwork and the voiceovers, a sendup of the ladies.