Author Topic: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films  (Read 2602 times)

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Offline Darth Geek

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2019, 10:16:24 AM »

James Finlayson
In 1929 First National Pictures  was acquired by Warner Bros. who were only interested in their California studio facilities. After only four films for First National, Finlayson was unemployed. So he returned to Hal Roach Studios where this time he knew he would only be a supporting actor. He was immediately teamed up with Laurel and Hardy for their most celebrated silent comedies, Big Business. For the first time he was their foil. He would appear in 24 more Laurel and Hardy films, although not always as their adversary.  Know for his exaggerated  double take during the silent era, his legacy will always be with his sound films due to one unintentional catch phrase.  During one of his first sound films he momentarily forgot his voice was being recorded and began to say "Damn it!", but then caught himself  midway through uttering the word "damn" and tried to cover it up by yelling "oh". The director thought it was funny and asked him to continue yelling "D'ooh!" whenever his character was exasperated. He continued using it in all his films. It would outlive him, being used by other comedians, and eventually becoming  a catchphrase of Homer Simpson. Undoubtedly Laurel and Hardy's greatest foil, the last film they made together was Saps at Sea in 1940, after which he left Roach for good. He continued appearing in small film roles until his death of a heart attack in 1953.

Watching through my ten disk L&H set I started to notice the recurring actors after a while, and this guy was my favorite. His best role is definitely Colonel Buckshot in Another Fine Mess.
It's neat that he originated the "d'oh" that became so memorable with Homer Simpson.



Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2019, 01:02:07 PM »

Watching through my ten disk L&H set I started to notice the recurring actors after a while, and this guy was my favorite. His best role is definitely Colonel Buckshot in Another Fine Mess.

That film has one of my all time favorite Finlayson moments. Buckshot returns to his home to find Ollie wearing his clothing. He asks Ollie "Who are you?" To which Ollie replies "I'm Col. Buckshot." Finlayson does this great double take where he sticks his head out the door for a split second to check and see if he is at the right address, as if that would make a difference.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2019, 01:04:55 PM »
#44
TWICE TWO ( 1933 )
5 points, 1 list, #21 Darth Geek

"Lets go down to Fu Young's and get some Sucky Yacky"

It is the one year anniversary of when Ollie married Stan's sister Sandy, and Stan married Ollie's sister Fanny, both who look uncannily like their brothers. Instead of going out to celebrate, both couples decide to stay at home and have a quiet dinner. But Fanny and Sandy don't just resemble their brothers, but have an equal personality, resulting in anything but a quiet dinner.

THE BIG SURPRISE
One plot point that has confused audiences over the years is the "surprise" for Ollie that is announced early in the film, and mentioned again near the ending. Stan was not to mention to Ollie that there would be a surprise, so naturally he does. Eventually Ollie gets so impatient waiting for the meal to end so he can find out what the surprise is, that he blurts out that he is expecting it. Another squabble breaks out between Fanny and Sandy, Ollie decides he and his wife should leave, and the film ends without revealing what the surprise was. ( And no, it wasn't the cake. ) Twice Two was heavily compromised due to Laurel and Hardy needing to switch back and fourth between roles throughout filming. As usual, the entire film was shot in sequence, and gags were ad libbed on the set. But the ad libbing was limited due to the need to stick to the script in order to get the effects right, which included the occasional split screen. Also compromised was the planned ending. The surprise was to be a film projector given to Ollie as a gift. Ollie attempts to project a film, but each time the picture is either upside-down, or reversed, or the film is running backwards. Ollie finally gets the projector to work correctly, but the film being projected is a lion charging the screen. Stan panics, knocking into Ollie who in turn knocks the projector over. It continues to project the lion, which appears to chase Stan around the room. Special effects expert Roy Seawright had the duty of figuring out how to make the scene happen. The problem was that the projected image would need to be optically printed on the same film with split screen effects. Even the part of the scene where Ollie can't figure out how to use the projector would need to optically print  the projected film onto a split screen film. Inevitably Seawright figured out how to achieve the effects, but it would have taken months to shoot. So they decided to end the short at two reels and scrap the entire projector, including any mention of it.

TWO DIRECTORS GONE
A good director would have realized the projector scene was too complicated for a shot that was already complicated to begin with. And Twice Two had a good director, George Marshall. At least he was during preproduction. That's when he was notified that his contract with the studio was cancelled. It was all part of yet another series of firings due to budget cuts. Marshall was replaced with James Parrott, who was a capable director. And I mean "was". By 1933 Parrott had become an alcoholic, and it was effecting his work. While he just managed to complete this film, it would be the last the studio allowed him to direct. Still kept on salary ( because he was the brother of one of the studio's stars Charley Chase, ) he was reduced to writing scripts.

VOICES
Despite some claims that Laurel and Hardy's voices were sped up or altered when they played their sisters, they were actually dubbed by two vocal actresses. May Wallace who dubbed Hardy was also a bit player at Roach Studios, and is best remembered as the head nurse in County Hospital. Carol Tevis who dubbed Stan Laurel would later be one of the vocal actors who dubbed the voices of The Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. ( The 1939 musical, not the 1925 Larry Semon version with Hardy. )
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:22:43 PM by stethacantus »


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2019, 01:33:27 PM »
#43
Our Relations ( 1936 )
5 Points, 1 list, #21 George-2.0

"Bring me two nice clean straws that haven't been used."

Ollie receives a letter from his mother containing a childhood picture of him and his twin brother Bert, and Stan and his twin brother Alf. Both twins ran away from home long ago and became sailors.  In the letter his mother says that she heard Alf and Bert were involved in an attempted mutiny, and were hung. Ollie tells Stan not to tell their wives because he doesn't want them to know there were criminals in their family. The rumors of Alf and Bert's demise turn out not to be true, as both are alive and well, and have just arrived in town on a ship. Unaware their twin brothers are living in that town, Alf and Bert go on shore leave. The captain has given them a pearl ring he wants delivered. But while in a beer garden, Alf and Bert meet two women who join them, and order a lot of food for themselves. Unable to pay the bill, Bert gives the proprietor the ring as collateral while he goes back to the ship for the money. Meanwhile Stan and Ollie show up at the same beer hall where they are accosted by the proprietor for the money they owe him, and upon paying it are given the ring.  What follows is a series of mistaken identity incidents as Alf and Bert search for the now missing ring, and both the Captain and some gangsters are after the same ring. All the time Ollie and Stan trying to convince their wives that they are not responsible for the chaos Alf and Bert have caused.

STAN LAUREL PRODUCTIONS
Now that Laurel and Hardy were making feature films exclusively, Hal Roach began assuming more and more creative control as the feature films cost more money to make. This lead to friction between him and Stan Laurel, as Stan was only interested in having comedy in their films, while Roach insisted they also have the elements that made feature films successful, namely musical numbers and romance ( almost always with a B plot involving co-stars and not Laurel and Hardy. ) The feature films were usually a compromise between what Roach wanted, and what Stan wanted, with neither fully happy with the results.  Wanting full creative control, Stan began demanding to be producer of the Laurel and Hardy feature films, much like how Chaplin and Lloyd were the producers of their films. Roach was quick to point out that both Chaplin and Lloyd also financed their films with their own money, and the Laurel and Hardy films were being financed by Hal Rach Studios. Never-the-less, Stan formed Stan Laurel Productions with the intent of the company producing all Laurel and Hardy films. It never really happened. Roach continued to be the producer on the films they made at his studio. However, on two films Roach allowed Stan Laurel Productions to be credited. This was the first film, and Way Out West was the second. In both cases the producer title was nothing more than a title, as Roach continued to own the films and their copyrights. During the period when Laurel temporarily left Hal Roach Studio for a year, Stan Laurel Productions actually produced a few films, all of them B Westerns that Stan didn't have much to do with other than lending his name.  When both Laurel and Hardy left Hal Roach for good, they formed a new production company, Laurel & Hardy Feature Productions, which had even less success in producing their films.

THE MONKEY'S PAW
Our Relations was based on a short story called The Money Box written by author W.W. Jacobs. He is best known for his horror story The Monkey's Paw, which a mummified monkey hand grants whoever possesses it three wishes, but each wish has some sort of terrible unforeseen consequence.  The story was so popular that by the time Our Relations came out, it had already been adapted as a feature film three times, and would be adapted again in 1948 and 2013. In addition, it was used as a segment in the British horror anthology film Tales From The Crypt, which is unrelated to HBO's Tales From The Crypt, although an episode of that series also adapted The Monkey's Paw. It was also used for an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, and  the original Twilight Zone where the paw was replaced with a genie. Parodies of the story appeared on the Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, an episode of Adventure Time, an episode of Rick and Morty, an episode of Ripping Yarns, and even an episode of The Monkees. The story was even used for an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The ironic thing is, that although W.W. Jacobs will go down in history as one of the greatest horror writers because of this story, he actually wrote very few horror tales. Most of his work was writing humorous tales.

GOODBYE CHARLIE
Hal Roach was phasing out shorts from his studio. Theaters stopped booking shorts in favor of booking two full length features for a double feature bill. MGM owned theaters still showed shorts, but they were too few. While MGM could afford to make their own shorts and recoup the costs with the feature film, Roach was beginning to loose money. He had discontinued making Laurel and Hardy shorts, and by 1936 the only shorts Roach Studios were still making were Charlie Chase and Our Gang. Roach had wanted to end Our Gang, but MGM studio head Louis B Mayer loved the series and persuaded Roach to continue making them. Which he did, but cutting them to one reel for the remainder of their run. In 1938 Roach sold the Our Gang franchise to MGM, which then proceeded to ruin it . Meanwhile, a decision was made not to renew Charlie Chase's contract with the studio. They had already made a Charlie Chase feature film which did poorly at the box office, an a second attempt at a feature film with the working title Bank Night wound up never being completed due to production problems. On The Wrong Trek was to be Chase's final short for the studio. Wanting to pay tribute to their friend, Laurel and Hardy took a break in shooting Our Relations to shoot a cameo in Chase's final short, where they are both briefly seen hitchhiking. It ended up not being his final short as footage from Bank Night was edited into a 20 minute film called Neighborhood House and became the final Hal Roach produced Charlie Chase short. Chase moved to Columbia Pictures where he made cheap two reelers for their theater chain.

NOT THE SKIPPER
A lot of modern day viewers are convinced the actor who played The Skipper from Gilligan's Island is in this film as the owner of the beer hall.  He looks exactly the same, sounds the same, and even has the same name, Alan Hale. Actually, he is the father of The Skipper, who's professional name is Alan Hale Jr. The son is so identical to his father that he was even cast as Porthos in Lady in the Iron Mask ( 1952 ) a semi sequel to Man in the Iron Mask ( 1939 ) where his father played Porthos. Also in 1952, Alan Hale Jr. played the son of Porthos in At Sword's Point, and Porthos again in the remake of Man in the Iron Mask called The Fifth Musketeer ( 1979 ).  Alan Hale ( the father ) began his acting career in the silent era, with roles in such classics as Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ( 1921 ) and The Covered Wagon ( 1923 ). In the sound era he had featured roles in It Happened One Night ( 1934 ), Great Expectations ( 1934 ), The Last Days of Pompeii ( 1935 ), The Adventures of Don Juan ( 1948 ), and The Inspector General ( 1949 ). But perhaps his best known role was as Little John, which he played in the Douglas Fairbanks version of Robin Hood ( 1922 ), the Erroly Flynn remake The Adventures of Robin Hood ( 1938 ), and reprised the role of Little John for a third time in a sequel to one of the Robin Hood films , Rogues of Sherwood Forest ( 1950 ) which turned out to be his last role as he died soon after filming of a viral infection.  His son also had an impressive movie career, starring in The Giant Spider Invasion ( 1975 ).
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:23:13 PM by stethacantus »


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2019, 02:57:23 PM »
#42
Be Big  ( 1930 )
9 points, 1 list, #17 Darth Geek

"There's nothing to getting a boot off. You don't have to drag me around the room."

While preparing to go to Atlantic City with their wives, Ollie gets a phone call from his and Stan's lodge that they are having a wild party that night. Faking a nervous breakdown, Ollie tells the wives to go on to Atlantic City while he and Stan will join them in the morning after his nerves calm down. The plan goes well, until Ollie puts on Stan's boots by mistake and can't get them off.

EN ESPANOL
For the Mexican and other Spanish language markets, a version where the cast speaks in Spanish was produced. Normally the reason for this was so the foreign audience could hear their favorite actors voices, but at the same time still understand what they are saying. But as it turned out, actress Anita Garvin was unable to learn her lines in Spanish. So Roach found a sound alike vocal actress who spoke Spanish, and had her stand off screen and speak Anita's lines into a microphone while Anita mouthed her lines. The deception was not caught until decades later when Anita admitted to it during an interview.

DRESS-UP
Hal Roach's first wife Margaret decided she wanted to be a costume designer, and Hal had little choice but to humor her. Her costumes  for the female cast members made their debut in Be Big. Not only were they Unflattering, but apparently Margaret chose to use wool, which made them itchy and uncomfortable as well.

GOODBYE ANITA
This was Anita Garvin's final film with Laurel and Hardy before retiring. She had just married Clifford Stanley, and wanted to settle down and become a housewife. Stan Laurel tried to talk her out of it, but Mrs Roach making her wear uncomfortable goofy clothing was not helping his cause. Laurel did manage to talk her into returning to the screen briefly in 1940 for A Chump At Oxford , but otherwise this was her final film.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2019, 03:09:56 PM »

THE ART OF RECIPROCAL DESTRUCTION


I will be using the term "reciprocal destruction" often in this LoC, and I suspect very few of you have any idea what it means. The term describes a trope found in slapstick comedies where two or more characters take turns causing each other damage. The term was coined by Stan Laurel when being interviewed by John McCabe for the book Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy. The trope had existed for three decades, yet had never been assigned a name, so Laurel had to think of something on the spot. The name stuck ever since.

In a more precise description of reciprocal destruction, character A and character B are having some sort of verbal argument. Character A decides to inflicted some sort of indignity on character B, usually in the form of throwing some sort of food or mud on him, but other times in the form of minor vandalism, like ripping a button off his shirt. Character B retaliates by inflicting slightly more damage on character A. Character A retaliates back with slightly more damage, and so on. Eventually everything escalates to the point where each character is causing major damage, which usually only ends with the arrival of a police officer to break it up. Perhaps the oddest characteristic of reciprocal destruction is how each character seemingly takes turns. When character A inflicts his damage, character B just stands there and allows it to happen. Then character A calmly awaits character B's response.

In an interview with Peter Bogdanovich, director Leo McCarey took credit for inventing the trope. One night he, Hal Roach and Mable Norman had plans to spend an evening at a nightclub. Leo was really bad at tying bowties and had asked Hal for help. But Mable not only talked Hal out of helping Leo, because she thought it was funny, but talked him into leaving Leo behind and going to the Club without him. Leo had to call a friend on the phone to instruct him how to tie the bowtie. When he arrived at the club late, Mable thought it would be funny to reach over and pull his tie out, undoing it completely. Hal began laughing at what happened, so Leo pulled his tie out. One of Hal's friends started laughing so Hal pulled his tie out.

Soon every man in the night club was pulling out each other's bowties. When there were no bowties left undone, someone thought of ripping out shirt collars, and soon the whole club was doing that. When every shirt collar had been pulled out, the crowd switched to the far more destructive cutting the back of a jacket with a table knife. From that experience, ( if it ever really happened, ) McCarey invented two major comedy tropes; reciprocal destruction, and the melee where some sort of vandalism or indignity caused by one character to another leads to an entire crowd dragged into the battle and doing the same to each other.

Laurel and Hardy were the masters of reciprocal destruction, filming the four greatest masterpieces of the trope; Two Tars, Big Business, Them Thar Hills and Tit For Tat. There were also minor reciprocal destruction flare-ups in Double Whoopee, A Perfect Day and a few other films. But perhaps their most celebrated instance of reciprocal destruction was limited to a single prop, raw eggs.  In the movie Hollywood Party Ollie returns a lost shoe to Lupe Velez, only to have her repay him by clubbing him over the head with the same shoe. But the bar she is sitting at conveniently has an entire bowl full of uncooked eggs, so naturally Stan retaliates by cracking open one of the eggs and dumping it's contents into her shoe. And from there the fight is on, with each taking turns finding different ways to egg each other. While Hollywood Party would go on to be a colossal flop, the egg fight would be remembered for years. Or at least another ten years when in 1945 writers at 20th Century Fox decided to recreate the scene in The Bullfighters. Comparing both versions you can see how reciprocal destruction was not just something anyone could pull off. When it was done in 1934 MGM gave Laurel and Hardy all the time they needed to perfect the scene on film, which meant hundreds of retakes of different variations of the fight with Velez until they had something that fit Stan's high standards for humor. Although the 1945 version had a lot more gags added, this time around Laurel and Hardy had to shoot from a script and couldn't properly pace it. The 1945 version is nowhere as funny. The director adding goofy chicken sound effects every time someone got hit with an egg only made things worse.

Reciprocal destruction didn't end with Laurel and Hardy. But it has bloated into something nearly unrecognizable. I just saw an example the other day with a rerun of M*A*S*H. It was season 10 episode 6 Communication's Breakdown where  a missing newspaper causes a riff between Major Winchester and the rest of the camp, which eventually devolves into someone playing a practical joke on Winchester, and Winchester retaliating with a practical joke against the camp. Eventually Colonel Potter steps in to put a stop to the pranks just as Winchester is about to pull the entire mess hall tent down with a rope and jeep while the rest of the camp is dining.  This is a perfect example of how the trope is treated today. Unlike with Laurel and Hardy and any other slapstick comedian in a reciprocal destruction battle, retaliation is not immediate. In the M*A*S*H episode, for example, enough time passes between pranks that the episode fits in a touching B story where Pierce ( who is amazingly not part of the battle, at least in the edited version I saw on basic cable ) is able to reunite two brothers who ended up as soldiers on opposite sides of the Korean civil war.  Or take for example Revenge of the Nerds ( 1984 ), which is bloated with so many side plots that it is barely recognizable as a reciprocal destruction battle between nerds and jocks. Invented by Leo McCarey and perfected by Laurel and Hardy, and then padded out to the point where it is unrecognizable,  the reciprocal destruction trope is still a major part of comedy.



Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2019, 04:25:22 PM »
#41
Two Tars  ( 1928 )
9 points, 1 list, #41 Stethacantus

"The fleets in! Its the front and reer admiral themselves!"

Sailors on shore leave Stan and Ollie rent a car, and shortly after meet two girls attracted to their uniforms. They spend a wonderful day together, but it all comes to an abrupt end when their car gets stuck in a traffic jam. Attempting to back out, they collided with another vehicle. The girls instigate a fight with the other driver, and before long Stan and Ollie are in a reciprocal destruction fight. Other motorists het involved, and soon everyone in the jam is destroying each other's cars.

ALL HANDS ON DECK
Hal Roach needed a traffic jam. He had an isolated road the city was willing to close off for a few days, but no cars. So he put the word out to his entire staff, every actor, writer, director, and even those in the front office, to bring their cars in so they could be used in Two Tars for the jam. He paid for the vehicles that would be damaged, and for those who ended up as extras in the picture, paid for whatever clothing was damaged. Thomas Roberts, a construction worker at the lot who's job was to build the sets, ended up being used on screen. He played one of the characters who gets hit with a rotten tomato. Roberts later claimed the studio gave him money to buy new clothing to replace the ones stained by the tomatoes, but instead he kept the money and had his clothing washed.

CRUSHING THE MOTORCYCLE

Perhaps the hardest gag to pull off was the crushing of a cops motorcycle which is run over by a heavy truck.  Director James Parrott wanted a flattened motorcycle.  So a duplicate cycle was brought to a construction site and they paid for a steamroller to run over it. The cycle nearly broke the steamroller, and the only thing that ended up flattened was the handle bars.  The only thing left to do was to build a flattened motorcycle from scratch, with custom made flattened parts. Thy also had made a flimsy motorcycle out of tin that was designed to flatten on scree when the truck ran over it.

THE CANCELLED MOVIE
When Two Tars was released to theaters, one theater manager reported that after screening it, the audience demanded that they run it again. When he told the chanting crowd that if they run the short again, then they will have to cancel the feature film, the audience still insisted they replay Two Tars. So he did.

CONTROVERSY
Some censorship boards across the country had Two Tars banned for a single scene where one of the characters takes out a knife and cuts open a tire, causing the innertube to expand through the gap and explode. The censors complained that this would show teenagers and hoodlums how to puncture tires.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:31:11 PM by stethacantus »


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2019, 05:43:49 PM »
#40
CHICKENS COME HOME ( 1930 )
10 points, 1 list, #16 Darth Geek

"Don't trust any man. I've had five of 'em, and I know!"

FLASHBACK
Chickens Come Home was a remake of Love Em' And Weep, a silent Allstar comedy made three years earlier. Laurel and Hardy even used the same script, although eventually making changes for the remake. In the original, Jim Finlayson was the star, and was the politician being blackmailed. Both Stan Laurel and Mae Busch had the same roles of Finlayson's assistant and blackmailing ex respectively. And Oliver Hardy only had a minor role as a guest at Finlayson's party. In the remake, Finlayson took the smaller role as Hardy's butler. In just three years Hardy went from bit player to star, while Finlayson's fortunes went the opposite way.

FIRST!
Lets go all the way back to 1986. Everyone was having fun, everyone was Wang Chung, or doin' the  Super Bowl Shuffle.    Oprah Winfrey and  Phantom of the Opera  had their first shows. Mike Tyson won his first championship  Americans tried to form a human chain from the Atlantic to Pacific in the Hands Across America event, and completely forgot this country had hundreds of miles of desert.  Mike Tyson won his first championship. The FOX network was launched with a woman in prison sitcom, and another show about a werewolf. A Gerbil needed to be rescued from inside a celebrity's ass, allegedly.  And somewhere on the MGM lot they were just getting around to cleaning out the old movie vault that had been gathering those pesky cans of film since the 1920s. They were about to throw out some cans marked "L&H - Spanish" when someone suggested they should contact the Hal Roach library and see if they wanted them. Of course why would the Hal Roach library want Laurel and Hardy films dubbed in Spanish? They were about to tell MGM to go ahead and dump em, when someone at Hal Roach suggested they first call up film historian Richard W Bann and ask if he thought they had any value. The second Bann heard that prints of the Spanish Laurel and Hardy films were extant, he yelled over the phone not to throw them out, that they were indeed valuable. Little did Bann realize how valuable they were. He knew that in the early sound era, studios would reshoot scenes in foreign languages for the markets that didn't speak English, in effect making slightly different versions of the same film. Most of these were lost over time, and replaced with dubbed versions. He though the Laurel and Hardy Spanish films would only give us a slightly different performance from Laurel and Hardy, and would have them speaking in Spanish rather than English. But little did he know....

For the first time since the 1930s the Spanish versions of the Laurel and Hardy films were screened. And to the shock of the historians watching them, they realized the Spanish versions were quite different. Some of them were longer. They had gags that the American versions didn't have. They sometimes had entirely different endings. The Spanish version of Pardon Us, for example, ends with a prison fire and Stan and Ollie rescuing the warden's daughter, while the ending on the American version has Stan and Ollie in a prison riot. ( NOTE: The version on the Essentials Collection is a hybrid of footage from both the Spanish and American versions, keeping the fire from the Spanish version instead of Stan and Ollie stopping the riot, but missing the final scene from the Spanish version where Stan and Ollie have left the prison and are planning to bootleg again. ) But perhaps the biggest shock was that some of the shorts were turned into feature films. Mostly by combining two half hour shorts into a single feature film. But then there was Politiquerias, the Spanish language version of Chickens Come Home which was expanded into a full length feature film.  It was filmed and released a few months before Pardon Us, making it  Laurel and Hardy's first feature film.
So, as already mentioned, the three reel short Chickens Come Home is a remake of a two reel silent short called Love Em' And Weep. As the two reel plot was already expanded an extra reel, how was it further expanded to a full 57 minutes? Well, there are a few extra lines that don't exist in the American version, and a couple of extra gags here and there. But the bulk of the padding happens during Ollie's dinner party. He announces to his guests that he has arranged entertainment, and brings out a magician ( A. J. Cantu ) who performs his entire act for about ten minutes, at one point getting a reluctant Finlayson involved. Next Ollie invites his guests to dance, and for the next five minutes everyone dances while Ollie tries to sneak out the door. Finally, Ollie announces he has more entertainment, and a professional regurgitator ( Hadji Ali ) does his entire act for another ten minutes. 


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2019, 07:22:28 PM »
What was I thinking hoping to watch some of these as they were posted?   Should have known better, this was never going to be a list with a handful of entries posted per week....


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2019, 07:45:01 PM »
#39
ONE GOOD TURN ( 1931 )
11 points, 1 list, #15 Darth Geek

"I must have made a faux pas"

A kindly old woman offers Stan and Ollie food in exchange for doing some chores. The old woman belongs to a theater group, and another actor ( Finlayson ) drops by to practice a scene from their play where he is a villainous landlord throwing her out for failure for paying the rent, and she tries to explain to the landlord that someone stole her rent money. Ollie overhears this and thinks it is happening for real. So he decides to auction off their last possession, their old beat up car. At the auction, a drunk man accidentally puts his wallet into Stan's pocket. When Ollie sees Stan suddenly has a lot of cash, he immediately assumes  Stan was the one who stole the money, and after publicly accusing him of being a thief, drags him back to the old lady to apologize. When the old lady explains it was a scene from a play and Ollie attempts to laugh it off as a simple mistake, an enraged Stan beats the crap out of Ollie.


STAN'S DAUGHTER
Stan Laurel began to notice something disturbing whenever Oliver Hardy dropped by his house for a visit. His daughter Lois would cower from him, and if he went near her she would cry. There is a home movie of Hardy visiting Laurel's house, and you can see how terrified she is of Hardy. Stan could not understand what was happening. Just a year earlier she had loved Uncle Babe, and would run up to greet him every time he visited. Eventually Stan figured out what was going on. He had been allowing Lois to watch his movies. And she was seeing Oliver Hardy beating up her father. This inspired Stan to write a script just for Lois that would show him beating up Ollie. Perhaps if Lois saw him stand up to Ollie, she wouldn't be so afraid of him.

HELLO BILLY
This was the first appearance in a Laurel and Hardy film for Stan Laurel's  discovery, Billy Gilbert. He had been at the studio for five months, but had been kept so busy working on shorts for Charley Chase, Thelma Todd and Our Gang that he didn't have time to work on a Laurel and Hardy film. Finally in May of 1931 his schedule allowed him to play a bit part as a drunk. Then it would be another seven months before Stan got him back for The Music Box, spending most of that time working in the Our Gang shorts.


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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2019, 08:06:21 PM »
What was I thinking hoping to watch some of these as they were posted?   Should have known better, this was never going to be a list with a handful of entries posted per week....

I'm trying to get this LoC done as fast as possible because I allowed an extra couple of weeks for the overdue lists. Ad it's a bit unfair for those waiting for the next LoC that they can participate in. ( Although I did point out that most of these films can be watched any time on YouTube, so it wasn't like participating was impossible. ) anyway, trying to get this done in record time. Only hit a few roadblocks. One being that it took me a couple of days to write the previous entry, and just completed it a few minutes ago. Some f these films have nothing to do a writeup on, so you really have to dig for something. Aside from the story about the film being made for Lois ( which I padded out as much as possible ) as well as padding out the debut of Gilbert. I had 39 of these written in advance, so am just catching up now with the last minute submissions.  Currently I am good up till #34 which is just being written now.



Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2019, 08:08:53 PM »
#38
Men O' War ( 1929 )
12 points, 1 list, #14 Darth Geek

"You gotta get out of here! The General will shoot you!"

while on shore leave, sailors Stan and Ollie find women's panties on the park ground and assume one of two women dropped them. Actually, one of the women has dropped her gloves, but Stan and Ollie assume she is talking about the panties. Just before they can embarrass themselves by handing the girls panties, a cop who found the gloves returns them. Stan and Ollie invite the girls on a date, which concludes with them renting a rowboat. Unfortunately seamen Stan and Ollie are inept at rowing, and are only able to get the boat to spin in circles. They crash into a canoe and get into a fight with the canoer. A cushion thrown at Ollie hits another canoe and causes a chain reaction of canoes and boats crashing and capsizing. everyone ends up on Stan and Ollie's boat, which inevitably sinks.
 
THOSE ANNOYING KIDS
Hal Roach was soon to discover that shooting a sound film on location was a nightmare. The microphone picked up the voices of anyone nearby, of passing motor vehicles, and the occasional airplane. It even picked up the motor in the camera during close-ups. A popular fad in those days was for a guy to take a lady out in a canoe, then serenade her with a ukulele. The lake they shot at was filled with dozens of untalented Romeos that day, their tunes echoing across the lake. But the final straw came when a nearby school let out early so the kids could watch a movie being made. Thousands of screaming kids crashed the set, and despite all attempts, there was no way to keep the pint sized crowd quiet. With no other choice, filming was suspended for the day.

THE MISSING SOUND
For years the only existing print of Men O' War was missing the audio in the beginning. The film began silently without any music on the opening credits, and even through a shot of a bandstand. The soundtrack finally cuts in with the shot of the panties falling out of the laundry basket. Exactly why the sound is missing is not explained in any book, other than the evidence was discovered that Roach Studios paid for the rights to use Runnin Wild, a popular hit that year, on the soundtrack, which at the time would only be on the opening credits. There are a few possibilities as to how the music was lost. One is that the surviving print was a work print prior to the music being added. Or that the opening of the master print of the sound version was damaged, and footage from the silent version was spliced in as a replacement. Or even more likely, Roach only had the rights to Runnin Wild for a short period of time, and it was removed from the soundtrack once the license expired.  When Film Classics rereleased the short, they added the music from the opening of Busy Bodies, not really caring much that the credits for Busy Bodies had a circular saw cutting through the titles, and now the circular saw sound effects were over the credits of Men O' War. Other attempts were made to patch music over the beginning, including lifting music from the openings of Any Old Port and One Good Turn, and on BBC Television, a newly recorded rendition of the Cuckoo song. And at this point I wish I had bought the latest editions of the books Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies and/or The Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia, because when the editions I bought were published, it was discovered that a collector had the sound disc for reel one of Men O' War in his possession, but was refusing to allow anyone access to it. Because the version on Laurel & Hardy: The Essentials Collection has the music Runnin Wild opening Men O' War, but only with the explanation in the liner notes that the original titles and soundtrack are restored. Did they finally pry the sound disc away from the collector? Did another sound disc surface? Did they simply recreate the music by finding a circa 1930 recording of the song that approximated how the musicians at Roach would have recorded it?


AINT NO HOLLENBECK GIRL
The location of this film was the lovely Hollenbeck Park, which has appeared in countless other films and television shows shot around Los Angeles. It was built 1892 from land donated to Los Angeles by the widow Hollenbeck in honor of her husband, who the park is named after. John Edward Hollenbeck was a financier and co-founder of the First National Bank,  who invested heavily in California and made Los Angeles possible.  The park was marred in 1960 when the  Golden State Freeway was built along the Western edge of the park, then turned Southward cutting across the lagoon at the Southern edge of the lake. Millions of Las Angeles residents protested the highway being built through the park, but were all ignored. Los Angeles neglected to build a public transit system, and needed to accommodate the heavy traffic caused when every citizen is forced to drive their own vehicles. Fortunately the highway didn't go through the section where Laurel and Hardy filmed Men O' War, and has since become one of the places of pilgrimage to diehard fans looking to track down their memorable shooting locations.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2019, 08:18:53 PM »
BE OUR GUESTS

Laurel and Hardy didn't just star in their own films, but on occasion had guest appearances in other films. And since the likelihood of anyone choosing a guest appearance film for their list are nil, the only place to mention those films is in this sub article. And they are worth mentioning.



Hollywood Review of 1929
1929 saw the first MGM all sound film, Broadway Melody, and a few months later it's final silent film, The Kiss. Fully committed to sound films, MGM decided to celebrate it's conversion to talking pictures by producing a musical review featuring almost every star they had under contract. There is no plot to Hollywood Review of 1929. Jack Benny walks out on a stage as a master of ceremonies and introduces one act after another, most of which were singing and dancing. When the film was completed, producer  Harry Raph  realized it had no comedy. Buster Keaton was in it. But since his first talking film had not been released yet, the studio didn't want him to blow his taking debut on this film. So instead of performing a comedy skit, Keaton was put in a dance number. The studio asked Roach if he could lend Laurel and Hardy for a day so they could shoot a funny skit that could be edited into the film. With just days until the preview, Laurel and Hardy were shooting a five minute skit where Ollie is a magician, and assistant Stan keeps ruining the tricks. Hollywood Review of 1929 was so popular on release that it was nominated for a Best picture Oscar.


The Rogue Song ( 1930 )
Three months later MGM asked Hal Roach if they could borrow Laure and Hardy again. The Rogue Song was their first technicolor musical, starring opera star Lawrence Tibbett as a leader of a gang of bandits who falls in love with a princess. The film had been completed and previewed, but the audience hated it.  Irving Thalberg  decided the only way to save the movie was to add comedy relief. Hal Roach directed several new technicolor scenes featuring Laurel and Hardy as bandits. Reportedly Lawrence Tibbett flew back to Hollywood to appear in one of the new scenes, otherwise they were just isolated fade out gags that had nothing to do with the rest of the plot. The Rogue Song has the dubious honor of being the only Laurel and Hardy feature film to be lost. Currently no known print of the film exists. Apparently in 1960  a print sized in Germany after the second world war was dubbed into Russian and screened for Russian troops, although at current time negotiations for access to the Russian film vaults to look for Rogue Song and other lost Hollywood films is still ongoing. Frustratingly, Lawrence Tibbitt owned a copy of The Rogue Song which he occasionally screened at parties. After his death in 1960, his friend Allan Jones acquired the print from Tibbett's estate. In 1992 MGM Home Video wanted to release all of the Laurel and Hardy films their studio owned on home video. They heard rumors of Tibbett screening the film at his parties, and sent a detective to track down the print. He finally found Jack Jones, son of Allan Jones, who had just died two months prior. According to Jack, after his father died and he assessed the estate, he had ordered all the reels of  The Rogue Song  to be taken to an incinerator and burned, out of fear the old nitrate prints would burst into flames. It was well known that the old nitrate film stock used in movies made prior to the 1950s often burst into flames, many times causing the homes of collectors to go up in flames. When his father gained possession of the [I[]Rogue Song[/I] print, Jack often worried that it and the other nitrate films his father possessed were ticking time bombs. After 60 years of not giving a crap about the fate of The Rogue Song or bothering to preserve a copy, MGM finally tried to find the film a month after the last confirmed existing print was destroyed.


The Stolen Jools ( 1931 )
Back in the 1930s something was causing a plague of tuberculosis among the population, and no one seemed to know what was causing it. Thankfully, to the recue came Chesterfield Cigarettes who financed this all star film to raise money for the Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Saranac Lake, New York who was at the forefront of treating and  researching lung disease. Of course, no one stopped to question why a cigarette company would be so interested in research in lung disease. But it did result in this fascinating short starring a lot of popular movie stars who al donated their time for the cause, which all amounted to just a few minutes each. ( After the short played, ushers would walk around the theater with donation buckets. )   Norma Shearer's jewelry has been stolen during a party she threw, and a detective played by Eddie Kane asks a lot of Hollywood's top stars if they know who took them. Among the stars who appear on screen are Wallace Beery, Edward G Robinson, George E Stone, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, the 1931 lineup of Our Gang, Norma Shearer, Hedda Hopper, Joan Crawford, Wheeler and Woosley, Gary Cooper, Buddy Rogers, Maurice Chevalier, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Loretta Young, Bebe Daniels, Barbara Stanwyck, Fay Wray, Gabby Hayes, and many other stars I wont bother mentioning because you probably don't know who they are, but were definitely famous in 1931.


Hollywood Party ( 1934 )
What if I was to say there is an all star movie with a cast that includes Jimmy Durante, Jack Pearl ( a.k.a. Baron Munchausen ), Lupe Velez, The Three Stooges, Mickey Mouse ( voiced by Walt Disney himself ), and Laurel and Hardy. Sounds like a film you would want to see, if not for the Stooges, then for Mickey Mouse. Well, then be glad you never saw this amazing glob of turd. Not that there aren't any scenes that are worth fast forwarding to. Mickey Mouse, for instance, introduces what amounts to a technicolor Silly Symphony cartoon called The Hot Choc-late Soldiers, one of the last Walt Disney cartoons the Disney corporation doesn't own. This was suppose to be another one of the Hollywood Review films with every star on the MGM lot forced to appear. Somewhere along the way it went from being a review show to having a plot. Jimmy Durante plays a character called Schnarzan, an obvious parody of Tarzan. ( Apparently MGM had no idea what to do with Durante after they fired his film partner Buster Keaton. ) The box office for Schnarzan films has been plummeting, and the studio blames it on the old lackluster lions he uses in his films. So Schnarzan needs to buy new younger lions, and the only one in Hollywood selling lions is Baron Munchausen. Meanwhile, Schnarzan's rival Liondora is also trying to buy the lions, so Schnarzan decides to throw a star studded party in Munchausen's honor to make sure he sells him the lions. That is basically the set up. All the A-list MGM stars were suppose to show up at this party and have their own B plots. But the movie went through several writers and directors, all who tried to take their names off the film, and the A list stars at MGM refused to be in it. Luckily MGM had already contracted Walt Disney for his animated segment before the film went down the tubes and everyone knew enough to void it. Realizing the finished production was shit, MGM once again asked Hal Roach to save one of their films by lending them Laurel and Hardy. And it is actually some of Laurel and Hardy's best work. They show up at the end of the movie, and are in a few scenes that include a legendary egg fight with Lupe Velez. Of course, by that time the audience had been subjugated to one of the all time worst comedies, full of annoying B plots with contract players instead of famous stars.

A little side note here. How does one go about selling this shit to the home video market? Take a look at the VHS cover for this film.
Yep, that's right. Just the title and a picture of Laurel and Hardy, and for some reason a gorilla that doesn't even appear in the film. It should be pointed out that this was part of the 1992 releases of all the Laurel and Hardy films MGM had the rights to. But this is no Laurel and Hardy film.  Also, you would think that Mickey Mouse would be the biggest selling point.  Ever since the home video market opened up, Walt Disney films had always been the best sellers, and would remain so for years to come. Why isn't Mickey Mouse on the front cover instead of some random gorilla? As far as MGM Home Video were concerned, the film's greatest selling point was Laurel and Hardy, and they needed nothing else. Except maybe a gorilla. Anyway, the back of the box has yet another picture of Laurel and Hardy, this time some unidentified publicity still of Laurel sewing a hole in Hardy's pants. But at least some of the other actors get mentioned during the spiel written on the back:

Quote
Join Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges, Jimmy Durante, and Mickey Mouse at the wildest, wackiest party ever tossed in Tinsel Town.

When MGM studio chief Louis B. Meyer decided to make an all-star comedy, singing and dancing revue, he sent out invitations to talent all across Hollywood. And they all came!

Leapfrogging from gags to songs to big "Buzzby Berkeley"-like production numbers, the film's fanciful plot spins off the guest list of a lavish party tossed by movie star Durante, famous for his Tarzan-like film character, "Schnarzan the Conqueror."  But no amount of glitz can impress a mischievous Mickey Mouse ( with Walt Disney himself doing the voice ), who introduces an outstanding example of early Disney animation, "Red Hot Chocolate Soldiers," filmed in Technicolor┬«.

The film's comedy highlight pits Laurel & Hardy against Lupe "The Mexican Spitfire" Velez in a classic egg breaking duel described by The Hollywood Reporter as "The Greates and longest belly laugh scene for a long time."

BTW, that Hollywood Reporter review also called the rest of the film dull. I also like how they call the terrible dance number with the phone operators that inexplicably pops up in the beginning of the film "Buzzby Berkley"-like as if to trick the casual reader into thinking Busby Berkley had anything to do with the film. I'm not sure who Buzzby Berkley is, but Busby Berkley worked at Warner Bros, and wouldn't move to MGM until 1939. 


 

Pick A Star ( 1937 )
This film always made little sense to me. It is a remake of Buster Keaton's first sound film Free and Easy, with Jack Haley replacing Buster Keaton, Rosina Lawrence replacing Anita Page, Patsy Kelly replacing Trixie Friganza  and Mischa Auer replacing Robert Montgomery. Pretty much the same exact plot of a small town girl invited to Hollywood as part of a contest and becomes a star herself, and ends up falling in love with another movie star instead of her hometown friend who always had a crush on her. For Buster Keaton it was the studio's ill advised attempt to put him in a pathos plot, and it marked the beginning of the downfall of his career.  I have no idea why only seven years later Hal Roach would want to remake it, or why MGM, who produced the original, wanted to release the remake. Despite playing what amounted to the fourth character, Patsy Kelly was suppose to be the star of this film. Yet something else that makes no sense, picking a film for your star that makes her the fourth wheel. Laurel and Hardy were in the middle of filming Way Out West when Roach put them in this film to boost it's box office potential. They have two extended scenes, one where they play themselves filming a western comedy ( but not Way Out West. A different comedy where they play Mexican bandits. ) And another scene where Hardy ( once again playing himself on a movie set ) accidentally swallows a harmonica, and Laurel gets it to work by pushing on Hardy's stomach.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2019, 03:37:54 AM »
#37
A CHUMP AT OXFORD   ( 1940 )
12 points, 1 list, #14  George-2.0

"fe fi fo fum we want the blood of an American"

After inadvertently foiling a bank robbery, street cleaners Stan and Ollie are rewarded by the bank manager by sending them to Oxford. On arriving, they are continuously prank by the other students. One student dresses up as the head master, and directs Stan and Ollie to their living quarters, which turns out to be the actual head master's house. This final prank backfires, and the students responsible are expelled, all vowing revenge on the Yanks who got them thrown out of school. Meanwhile Stan finds out that he is actually Lord Paddington, an exceptionally smart student with superior athletic and fighting abilities. Paddington disappeared from Oxford years earlier after receiving a brain injury when a window fell on his head. While the expelled students try to take their revenge, Stan is hit on the head by the same window and turns back into Paddington. He easily defeats the other students, but in the days that follow turns out to be a stuck up asshole who calls Ollie "Fatty" and treats him like a servant. Having had enough, Ollie decides to go home, until Paddington gets another blow on the head and turns back into Stan.

STREAMLINERS
Hal Roach Studios had made their money selling two reel comedies. But by the mid 1930s theaters were no longer booking shorts, but instead booking two feature films as a double feature. At first Roach was resigned to the fact that for his studio to survive, they would need to stop producing shorts and start producing feature films. Then he had an epiphany.  If he began releasing 40 minute feature films, theaters would prefer them because shown with an average 70 minute feature, the combined running time would be less than 2 hours, meaning the theater could get in three showings of the double feature a night instead of two, and therefore sell more tickets. Roach called his shorter feature films Streamliners. He had planned for the remaining Laurel and Hardy films to be streamliners. A Chump At Oxford was shot with a 40 minute running time. But later Roach decided it should be longer for the European market. So he asked Laurel to shoot an additional 20 minutes. The new footage was basically a remake of one of their silent shorts From Soup To Nuts, and was it's own independent plot. From there the story continues into the 40 minute streamliner story. While Roach did release the 42 minute version of A Chump at Oxford in the United States, he eventually made the 63 minute version available for the theaters that refused to book the streamliner because it was too short. The streamliner experiment was a failure. Theaters didn't want 40 minute films. The next Laurel and Hardy film to be released from Roach would be a full length feature film.


AMAZING
One of the gags in the film had a prankster giving Stan and Ollie directions that lead them into a vast labyrinth made of hedges. The scene almost didn't make it into the film as Laurel didn't think it was funny. But he was eventually talked into it. The labyrinth was actually another visual effect by Roy Seawright. Only a third of the labyrinth seen on screen existed, and the other two thirds was a matte painting. The size of the labyrinth is further embellished by it disappearing out of frame in the painting. This was combined with movable hedges to create the different locations in the ground level shots.

OBLIGATORY STAR WARS TIE-IN
What is a LoC without at least one entry related to Star Wars? The villain in this film is Grand Moff Tarkin. Well, sort of. It was one of the first films for Peter Cushing. In lieu of shooting on location in Oxford, Hal Roach wanted real Brits in the cast. Cushing had just finished working on The Man in the Iron Mask of which he doubled for the other actors and had a bit part as a guard, when he overheard that Hal Roach was looking for a British actor for a Laurel and Hardy film. While it was a small part, Cushing was a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, who he considered two of the greatest comedians cinema ever produced. After practically begging he landed the role of Student Jones, one of the merry pranksters who ends up expelled and vowing to take revenge against the Yanks who snitched on him. And from there he landed the role of Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. Well, sort of, There were a few Dracula films in between



Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #118: The 50 Best Laurel and Hardy Films
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2019, 04:00:43 AM »
Surprised it only got one vote. Yeah, you could lose the first 20 minutes (or just pretend it's the short before the feature) but Stan as Lord Paddington was priceless, just a hoot and a half. The window fight was classic, and the snooty way he treated Ollie afterward, and that voice....   priceless.

Oh, and to hell with Star Wars, Peter Cushing will always be Baron von Frankenstein to me.

Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
Evil of Frankenstein (1964)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1969)
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)

(and yeah, he was a great Van Helsing as well, in what, 5 Hammer films?)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 04:13:24 AM by George-2.0 »