Many L&H scholars over the years have tended to give little
than a passing nod to their formative, pre-team silents. The
consequence has been that the occasional fine comedy like Slipping
Wives tends to get lost in the shuffle. It is a clever,
funny film that
plays much better than The Fixer-Uppers,
Laurel and Hardy's 1935
attempt at roughly the same plot.
Priscilla Dean was one of Universal's top stars of the early 20's; by this point in her career, she was appearing in Hal Roach two-reelers. Though she is afforded star billing, it is third-billed Stan Laurel's film all the way. His
pantomime of "Samson
and Delilah" is the film's highlight, as are any and all scenes he
shares with butler Hardy. Their chemistry is so evident, so glaringly
obvious, that one has to wonder why it took another half-dozen films
before they became a bona-fide team. An underrated little gem.
JB: Besides Stan's great "Samson" scene, the best part of this film is watching Stan and Ollie fight whenever they get within two feet of each other.
The partial remake The Fixer-Uppers gets a bad rap from some, but I always liked it. It is touching when Ollie displays genuine concern for Mae Busch, and it gives The Fixer-Uppers a warmth that Slipping Wives cannot match.
Copyright © 2013 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan