Author Topic: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along  (Read 15904 times)

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2018, 11:54:36 PM »
I think we have to file Slipping Wives in the 'Laurel with Hardy, not Laurel and Hardy' pile. That's not to say it isn't enjoyable, and the boys do have a couple of close-quarters scenes together, but it's not too controversial an opinion to say that it's a step in the wrong direction from Duck Soup. Ollie's good enough as the butler, but underused in such a peripheral role; Stan's the expected level of clueless, but still not really fully in the character that we subsequently know and love. He's very nearly there, though.

The plot is daft and slightly convoluted - or, rather, the plan the wife comes up with is - though at least we get a couple of amusing hat gags early on. Hat gags used to get a disproportionately huge laugh back then, (or so I've read,) second only to trouser malfunctions, and that's something lost in the mists of time.

Nice faceplant from Ollie into the paint around 4:10, and subsequent look to camera. I suppose this goes down as the first of their trademark on-screen squabbles with messy results. One of the bigger cosmic jokes of the majority of L&H films is how much worse Ollie's life gets within moments of Stan coming into his presence. (This is taken to extremes in Block-Heads.)

The bedroom and bathroom scenes are the closest Slipping Wives gets to 'proper' Laurel and Hardy. Stan casually throwing away the lighter got a laugh from me, and of course we all know that Babe's going into the bath first, but it's still funny. Nice touch for Stan to voluntarily climb in afterwards, the damage having already been done.

I thought the segment with Stan pretending to be a storyteller had some great physical comedy, even if it goes on a touch too long. Fantastic slapstick kickings and eye-pokings from Ollie.

It took a while for me to be absolutely certain of Stan's confusion over who was the husband and who wasn't, but that could just be me. Likewise, I was a little slow to twig that he was getting him drunk from around 14:10 - the secrecy of the cabinet being down to prohibition at the time.

The bit with the cat was quite an image! It was especially strange, considering it could just as easily have been a real mouse or rat passing by. Good on them for going the extra mile.

The ensuing fight has the extra twist of not being real, and then it suddenly is - I like that. Also delighted at the being-shot-up-the-bum count being higher and more imaginative than the average.

Ollie emerging with a second black eye is a nice reveal. The final punchline is quite subversive for the time, I suppose.

To sum up, I've just read all that back and it seems slightly more negative than intended. The films themselves are improving with each one, but I can't shake the disappointment of them having pretty much nailed the proper Laurel and Hardy characters in Duck Soup, only to then be not in partnership here. You can still see the magic the two of them had together, though.

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2018, 12:03:55 AM »
The bit where said trashman breathes fire (12 mins or so in on the DM version) is a pretty impressive effect though, any idea how they did that?

I'm 99% certain that it's not a visual effect, but real-life excessively-dangerous 'fire-breathing':

https://youtu.be/h3czvJNTqUQ?t=90

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2018, 05:09:20 PM »
Very enjoyable review, Spudgun; thanks!  It didn’t come across as negative at all. 


On the topic of "Laurel with Hardy, not Laurel and Hardy", this list may help people to temper their expectations of what is to come:

- 'The Second Hundred Years' (8th October, 1927) is often considered the first film to properly recognise Laurel and Hardy as an official team, due to the way they were billed on promotional material at the time.  We will be reaching this film on 20th November.

- Until 'Duck Soup' was rediscovered, 'Do Detectives Think?' (20th November, 1927) was widely believed to be the first film in which Laurel and Hardy portrayed their soon to be familiar characters.  'Duck Soup' somewhat usurps that status, but 'Detectives' is the film that introduces (a primitive version of) their usual costumes.  We will be reaching 'Do Detectives Think?' on 11th December.

- 'Unaccustomed As We Are' (4th May, 1929) is the first all-talking Laurel and Hardy film.  We will be reaching it on 16th April.


We will encounter several more instances of ‘two steps forward, one step back’ during this watch-along.  For example after 'Do Detectives Think?' Laurel and Hardy will sometimes continue to appear in barely related roles akin to their pre-teaming works.  And after the all-talking 'Unaccustomed As We Are', you should expect to watch a few more silent films with synchronised music and sound effects.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2018, 05:12:28 PM »
Week 5

Love ‘em and Weep, released 12/06/1927




Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_%27em_and_Weep


Regarding the version on the UK DVD boxset:
Quote
Love 'Em And Weep - 1927 (silent)- At last original titles!  And from an early silent too!  However the introductory gag title, intertitles and end title are replacements.  The print quality is very good, however is worn at the reel changeover.
(http://www.laurelandhardy.org/newDVDREV.html)


Video source (from the above boxset):  https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x26g612

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2018, 05:24:09 PM »
A couple of encyclopedia entries focusing on reissues and remakes:


Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2018, 08:36:02 PM »
That was really enjoyable. It's a pity Ollie only had a bit part, but there was some absolutely top acting from the main cast - Stan, Fin, Mae Busch and Charlotte Mineau. There was a lovely little scene when Stan ran into the door, knocked his hat off, accidentally kicked it away, got it back, put it on and dropped it again. All in one movement, incredible. Also nice to see another shot up the bum scene, but this time we were treated to some picking glass out of the bum as well.

Can I also join in the chorus of saying what a good idea this thread is?

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2018, 12:45:03 PM »
We're well into the swing of Hal Roach's All-Star Comedies at this point, so it may be worth understanding what that particular set-up involved.

Here's the encyclopedia entry on the All-Star series:




And this is a pretty good resource if you follow the links down the left hand side of the page (you'll note pages for all the Hal Roach films we've watched so far, including Madame Mystery):

http://www.lordheath.com/menu1_1202.html

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2018, 01:04:49 PM »
Review from Skretvedt's book:

 

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2018, 02:37:39 PM »
For those of you interested in returning performers, this is probably the time for encyclopedia entries on Mae Busch and James Finlayson.

Mae Busch, who would take on the mantle of "Mrs Hardy" for many Laurel and Hardy films, made her first appearance with them in Love 'Em and Weep:

   


And James Finlayson, who had appeared in numerous films by now featuring Laurel and Hardy separately, made his first official appearance in our watch-along this week:

 

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2018, 07:43:55 PM »
It clear at this point that the studio viewed Stan as a bigger star than Ollie. A good lesson in hanging on in there, being a good hand and then seizing your break when its there. Was this the first time we have seen Stans Cry face?

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2018, 08:43:57 PM »
Was this the first time we have seen Stans Cry face?

No, we saw it quite a few times in Duck Soup (eg the bike sequence, the sequence when they are eating and the doorbell rings, and the bathroom sequence), and in Slipping Wives (eg when Stan wakes up with Ollie's arm pinning him down).  Even Forty-Five Minutes from Hollywood has a version of it, if you can see past the Finlayson disguise (and are watching the less worn print).  I suspect it appeared in a few solo Stan films, too.

In fact I have just discovered there is an encyclopedia entry on this very subject, so I'll share that tomorrow when the daylight is back! 

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2018, 11:10:26 AM »
Here you are, gink; the entry on crying:



Really cloudy today, but that's still just about readable.

Bobby Ralgex

  • Bumcheeks
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2018, 07:14:32 PM »
Fantastic thread. Following it. Thanks for doing this.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2018, 08:24:24 PM »
Thanks to everybody who has shown appreciation for this thread so far.  I value knowing that people are here and taking part; I know it's not always easy to chip in with responses to the films (I won't be doing it every week myself), but just being aware that we're on this journey together is great.

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2018, 08:44:38 PM »
Yes, I don't really have anything to say about the films that hasn't already been said by the time I get around to it, but I'm loving following along and watching them. Kudos for putting in the time to do it.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2018, 05:39:12 PM »
Week 6

Why Girls Love Sailors, released 17/07/1927




Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Girls_Love_Sailors


Regarding the version on the UK DVD boxset:
Quote
Why Girls Love Sailors - 1927- A long-lost film rediscovered in France in the 1980s, this has been restored from the French print.  The titles have been translated back into English retaining the caricatures contained in the French print with facsimile main titles.  Picture quality is a bit muddy but hey it's the only one available.  The Beau Hunks again do their best.
(http://www.laurelandhardy.org/newDVDREV.html)


Video source (from the above boxset):  https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x24uz1g

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2018, 06:27:58 PM »
It probably goes without saying that the original titles were not saying "Hal Roach presents Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy" at this stage.  From a link that I posted further up this page about Hal Roach's All-Star Comedies, I will occasionally post comparisons like this (click to enlarge):


http://www.lordheath.com/menu1_84.html

What you may appreciate in these comparisons is how superior the US releases tend to be.  From those stills alone it is not immediately clear that the US version uses a less muddy print than the others, but you will see that the title card is different (if not original it's more authentic) and also the image is zoomed in less tightly (most obviously you will notice the horizontal bar on the foregrounded bed frame).  There are also differences in running time, which more typically indicate variations in running speed rather than additional material in the longer versions.  Whether the slower speed is more authentic, I do not know.

From what I can tell this is the US release of the film, but the picture only, because it lacks any music (which for the UK release is a modern recording anyway):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrD5HodeDq0.  Take into account the lower upload resolution, which can somewhat compromise a true comparison between versions.

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2018, 09:46:08 PM »
I didn't really like that one, but you could see things starting to come together. There's Stan's cry face and panicked leap (which was overdone here) and Ollie's look to camera. But the bit that most stands out is the increasingly violent flirting scene between the two of them, where you could see that the chemistry was starting to happen.

Nice to see another shot-up-the-bum gag, which seems to have been obligatory back then, but it was massively outdone by a paper-spike-up-the-arsehole gag that was properly painful to watch.

 

Endicott

  • I've done no research
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2018, 10:04:46 PM »
Top idea for a thread Replies, I am catching up. I've never seen Lucky Dog before so that was a bit of a treat. I don't think I've ever seen an effect like those ephemeral fairies in an early comedy short like this before.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2018, 11:45:53 PM »
it was massively outdone by a paper-spike-up-the-arsehole gag that was properly painful to watch.

Notice how, after inspecting the spike, the character didn't place it carefully out of the way, but instead immediately cast it downwards, where it would have the potential to generate further pain and annoyance.  That's something we will see developed in future shorts.

biggytitbo

  • WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAM JAFFA CAKES ASSWIPE
    • theunredacted
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2018, 09:14:00 AM »
Slight aside, but this looks great - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JG786KX/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_zPJXBbGAZNJY8?fbclid=IwAR2bpk30hEKhJSk0J3ncm8tPj_wZKepoq_BSQbzxfm5Uds0_bylAeiFTf-g


An impeccable selection, don't know what restoration they have done to make them blu-ray worthy though.

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #51 on: October 17, 2018, 02:25:06 PM »
Another Stan in Drag film. I wonder what the Sailors were thinking as he beckoned them one by one round the corner. That he was servicing them one after the other, that he was some kind of sex maniac with an obbsession with Salty Seamen.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #52 on: October 19, 2018, 11:22:42 PM »
Quite an interesting range of reviews in these books, as they were all published before the lost-and-rediscovered 'Why Girls Love Sailors' became more widely viewable in 1986.  Due to a misremembering by Hardy (published most completely in the excerpt from McCabe's 1961 book below) each of these speculative texts assumes this film to be the origin of Ollie's famous tie-twiddle.


McCabe, Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy (first published in the US in 1961, this UK reprint 2000)

In this volume, 'Why Girls Love Sailors' is discussed on pages 122-123; I've included page 121 for context:

 

 



Everson, The Films of Laurel and Hardy (first published 1967):





McCabe, Kilgore and Bann, Laurel and Hardy, (first published 1975):

 

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #53 on: October 19, 2018, 11:38:31 PM »
Skretvedt, Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies (first published in 1988), was able to give a more accurate assessment of the film:

   

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #54 on: October 20, 2018, 11:06:58 AM »
Here's the encyclopedia entry on Anita Garvin, who made her Laurel and Hardy debut in this week's film.

 

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #55 on: October 20, 2018, 01:00:01 PM »
Here's some film from a Sons of the Desert convention in 1979 where Anita Garvin attended as a guest - she appears from about 1.32 onwards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg5eKnUU6JU

Also some recollections about her here.

http://www.catsafterme.com/blog/archives/3501

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2018, 05:39:29 PM »
Since the films featuring both Laurel and Hardy have so far been ostensibly Laurel films with added Hardy, I thought I'd share 'Stick Around' from 1925, which features Hardy in a more prominent role (but of course no Laurel).  This is partly in response to Hardy's 1954 recollection that his looks to camera had their origin in 'Why Girls Love Sailors'.

This is Hardy's recollection (I didn't notice this when I was sharing pages 121-123 above):




And to balance that recollection, from Skretvedt's book, page 27:

Quote
Many of Babe's most famous comic mannerisms can be seen in embryonic form in his early solo films.  Especially notable is a 1925 comedy, Stick Around, co-starring Hardy and Bobby Ray as inept paperhangers.  The derby, the toothbrush moustache, the flowery gestures and the disgusted looks to the camera are all there - it's as if Hardy had already created the "Ollie" character and was merely waiting for the right partner to come along.

Here is that film:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tUSHqGvWPs

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2018, 04:52:35 PM »
Week 7

With Love and Hisses, released 28/08/1927




Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Love_and_Hisses


Viewing options:

Regarding the version on the UK DVD boxset:
Quote
With Love and Hisses - 1927- Very muddy picture quality with remade titles; the originals are I believe lost, however the intertitles are original.  Great score from the Beau Hunks Orchestra.
(http://www.laurelandhardy.org/newDVDREV.html)


Sourced from the above boxset (the picture quality is indeed very muddy):  https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x26g6xd



(http://www.lordheath.com/menu1_90.html)


The US print is so much cleaner (even at a lower upload resolution) that I recommend you give it a go, using this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l96YS39t4eY

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #58 on: October 23, 2018, 06:53:00 PM »
Getting a bit behind here, but determined to keep up!

Really enjoyed Love 'em and Weep the previous week, even if it's another one that isn't proper Laurel and Hardy. How different history could have been had a Laurel and Finlayson partnership become the studio's favoured pairing! They are very good together, and the imagery of Stan walking out at the end with the two-under-a-coat monster is very, very funny, but thankfully we eventually got something even better. Nice to see Jimmy and Mae Busch putting in their appearances - on the strength of this short alone, I think we have all the justification we ever needed for them to be regulars when the boys' series properly got going.

The pose in the incriminating photo gave me a good laugh, and the plot's just daft enough without crossing over into totally unbelievable. The female co-stars mean we get the beginnings of a central L&H theme that would remain for years to come: just who precisely wears the trousers in any given relationship. The wives are brilliant, and the old gossip is a great character. One thing that I found almost endearing was that the first desperate thought when the gun comes out is suicide, not murdering the blackmailer. How times change. The only real downside of the short for me - besides Ollie being completely underused, of course - is how dialogue-card-heavy the film is, particularly early on. Because of that, it seems to take a little while to get into the flow of things, but ultimately that's a small nitpick. Really good fun.

As for Why Girls Love Sailors last week, it definitely had its moments, but I don't think was as good as the above. Seeing Babe as the brute of the piece never sits well with me, even though he plays the part perfectly well. Perhaps a rare case of an actor having more range than the audience wants. Still, taking out the randy sailors one by one was quite a funny plan, and the final joke of having their clothes blown off at the end must be about as risque as they could have got away with at the time. It could even have been a completely original gag, but it's difficult to know that sort of thing.

Stan being all loved-up and giggly at the beginning made me double-check his age when this was released: he'd just turned 37, while Ollie was 35. I honestly don't know whether I thought they were younger or older - the pair always seemed frozen in time to me, until the point when they suddenly appeared too old in their final few films.

I've seen all of these before, of course, but never in chronological order, and what I'm taking from this now is that, in the beginning, Stan was a much bigger star in his own right than I realised. It's also fairly obvious that fully-fledged plots are the one thing that classic Laurel and Hardy films don't need - they basically require a straightforward set-up to a plausible situation (getting a piano up some steps, fixing a boat, taking a trip to the mountains, etc.), and then the groundwork has been done and they can spend the rest of the time demonstrating their utter incompetence at everything. Anything else tends to just get in the way. Not to try to reduce the greatest comedy duo of all time to a simple formula, of course!

I'm now off to catch up fully...

Re: A Laurel and Hardy watch-along
« Reply #59 on: October 24, 2018, 05:44:57 PM »
Since the films featuring both Laurel and Hardy have so far been ostensibly Laurel films with added Hardy, I thought I'd share 'Stick Around' from 1925, which features Hardy in a more prominent role (but of course no Laurel). 

. . .

Here is that film:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tUSHqGvWPs

Thanks very much for that, RFV - another one I'd never seen before. That really is the Ollie character near enough fully-formed before the partnership, isn't it? The whole thing comes across as a sort of proto-Laurel and Hardy with a bit of watered-down Chaplin thrown in, but it's really not bad at all. The manhole stunts at the beginning were particularly well done, and there are plenty of good gags throughout. Goes on a bit, but very enjoyable.