Written and filmed June-July, 1929. Released by MGM, September, 1929. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed by James Parrott. Two reels.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall, Sam Lufkin.   

STORY: Ollie has a bad cold, made worse by Stan's efforts to care for him.


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

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