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Laurel & Hardy: Hilarious Antics

Laurel & Hardy: Hilarious Antics

  • Phil S. posted: 20 Oct at 6:45 pm

    Many fans and historians, schooled in the L & H classics from 1927 to 1940, and unfamiliar with their duo and solo silents, may be disappointed by the frantic formulas at work in these ancient celluliod efforts. The Larry Semon entries are quite rough, artistically and technically: the first selection, “Hop To It Bell Hop”, has the value of a youthful Oliver Hardy, playing a somewhat nonchalant Bell Hop, who lifts the proceedings with his huge yet graceful form, and offbeat body language. Without Babe, this picture would offer nothing, other than a disgraceful sight gag with a hatchet, and a stereotypical treatment of an character played by an African American actor.

    “Luck Dog” is here, in an “extract” from “1917”, though it certainly appears to be intact, and reported elsewhere to be from 1920. Yes, it’s the very first on screen appearance of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, though not as a “team”. The discerning viewer can surely see greatness in the making, especially in a botched robbery attempt, and later, at the home of Stan’s sweetheart, in a bit involving Stan assisting Ollie (here, obviously a “villain”) in fixing a gun that is jammed – after it was pointed at him! The Hal Roach touch is abundant here – cinematography and editing are outstanding.

    Another good Roach entry is “Yes, Yes, Nanette”, starring Jimmy Finlayson, and co-directed by Mr. Stan Laurel.

    He also plays the beau who is initially terrorized by an intimidating former flame, Babe Hardy. In a sudden burst of courage, he tells his future in-laws where to go – not in so many words – and tosses his rather large nemisis out the door. In the final shot, he’s back…on the bottom, however.

    Package short on notes – also has three colorized stills on the back-jacket *not* from the DVD contents – but the price is nice.
    Rating: 3 / 5

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