Written and filmed December, 1929. Released by MGM, February, 1930. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed by James Parrott. Three reels.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Anita Garvin, Tiny Sandford, Frank Holliday.   

STORY: Stan is eager to get away from his wife and join Ollie in an evening of revelry. It's Prohibition, so Stan sneaks a bottle of his wife's liquor which The Boys will enjoy at the swanky nightclub at which Ollie has made reservations. Mrs. Laurel, however, overhears the scheme and replaces the liquor in the bottle with a vile concotion of tea, mustard, Tabasco, and various hot-peppered condiments. The power of suggestion insures that Stan and Ollie get roaring drunk on the stuff. The film ends with them trying to escape Mrs. Laurel and her shotgun.


JL: I like this one, though a little trimming wouldn't hurt it a bit. But it's an unrelievedly happy little film, right up to the end where Anita Garvin chases them with the shotgun. I have to wonder, however, how much the cheery background music, which wasn't added until 7 years after the film's release, contributes to the mood. More than any other, I'm curious to see how this one would play without music. This is one short where I really enjoy Stan, and one of the very few in which he is the slightly dominant character.

JB: The background music, added in a 1937 rerelease of the film, helps this film out tremendously. The pacing and editing in this film is a little off, but the music often smooths things over.  Blotto is a minor classic, the best film they've done since Perfect Day, and the opening gun to a series of four films where Laurel and Hardy fully make their mark in talking films.  The first half is a delight, with Stan Laurel showing he can be very funny for an extended period even without working off of Oliver Hardy.  The second half, in the night club, is Laurel and Hardy at their best.  Stan knocking over the table, the singing waiter making them weep, "you certainly can tell good liquor when you taste it", the laughing routine --- it's ten minutes in Laurel and Hardy heaven.

    My only caveat is the same as yours - with tighter editing, this one would be perfect. 

NOTE: Our original review above implies that Blotto was originallly released without a musical soundtrack.  In reality, it did have one.  In 1937, Hal Roach rereleased Blotto, and several other films, with new musical soundtracks made up of themes by Leroy Shield and T. Marvin Hatley. - JL, JB

Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan

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