If you've accepted that Hog Wild, The Music Box, Towed in a Hole and
Helpmates are Stan and Ollie's four greatest shorts (and you certainly
don't have to), then you have to start making the list of what you
would take to a desert island if those shorts weren't available.
This list, for me, would include Brats, Blotto and this film.
If all this film had was the "pom-pom" scene, it would be worth
I may be a heretic, but I was never a huge fan of the "reciprocal retaliation" business, though it made a great ending for many a silent L&H short. So the last five minutes of this film doesn't match to all the business in the trailer for me, but what the hell.
reciprocal routines worked better in the silents, where the gags could
come fast 'n' furious and they didn't take the time to stop the action
and point and laugh at poor Charlie with the butter and the plunger on
his head. But I tend to agree -- their best slapstick has a
freewheeling, spontaneous quality to it, while the reciprocal bits have
a calculated quality to them.
But the scene with the boys making their delicious dinner of beans and coffee holds me in a non-stop quiet giggle from beginning to end.
Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan