JL: Their most under-rated early talkie, perhaps because it's not widely seen. A simple situation, a crummy apartment, loads o' laffs. If the early talkies were cumbersome, then this one takes the right approach. Rather than being a situation comedy like Unaccustomed As We Are, it's just a string of simple, close-up sight gags which all work as long as the camera's pointed in the general direction.
JB: This film has some of the sad atmosphere found in the later Below Zero and the music-barren soundtrack merely emphasises those feelings,
but, like Below Zero, the atmosphere adds poignancy to an otherwise average short.
It is a claustrophobic film, taking place in one small room with a few cutaways to the kitchen, but this is not a drawback. It feels like it is going to be a slow-moving, lifeless short, but it keeps surprising. Just when you think it is getting a bit too slow, they pull of a great sight gag like Stan tripping with the bucket of water, soaking Ollie. It's just Stan, Ollie, a landlord, a bed, a kitchen and two windows, and yet, somehow, that's enough to keep coming up with fun gags and situations.
They Go Boom proves that even at 3 in the morning, nothing goes right in Mr. Hardy's world.
Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan