|Index||8 reviews in total|
James Finlayson gets equal billing with Stan and Ollie for this one, and ends up doing a lot of work for it! Finlayson plays rich man Cyrus Brittle who awakes after a night out to discover he's been wed to a woman who wants his money. Actually, it's her brother who ends up doing most of the chasing. Mr. Hardy plays the butler, and Mr. Laurel is very Chaplinesque at times as Brittle's attorney. The first half of the film is a comedy of manners, with many amusing title cards. Perhaps this section would have benefited from sound technology, but nonetheless it's still packed with laughs. There is an abrupt change in the middle ("One week later" - perhaps the reel change point?) and suddenly Finlayson's discovered hiding at a swank hotel and it's up to Stan and Ollie to sneak him out. Stan spends most of the movie riding piggyback on Finlayson, camoflaged as Ollie's wife. And it really does look like Finlayson carried Stan around - you can tell that's not a stunt man, at least not all the time. Incredible stuff, and quite funny. George Stevens, the young cinematographer, contributes some pre-steadicam handheld tracking shots which are somewhat shaky but visually different... although I did notice that most of these shots follow the villains, not the protagonists. I was worried that I might not find Laurel, Hardy, and Finlayson as funny without their wonderful vocal humor, but this film proves they're all equally adept at physical comedy. I laughed quite heartily throughout.
The first thing you'll probably notice about this silent Laurel and
Hardy film is how ugly the print is. Considering that so many of the
early nitrate stock films have completely vanished, try to cut the film
some slack--at least it's still in one piece unlike the mostly lost
HATS OFF by the same team.
You'll also no doubt notice that Stan and Ollie don't in any way look like a team. They play different personas than you're used to seeing and they both even have different hair styles. This is because the team wasn't exactly a team yet. They'd made some films together but the familiar Laurel and Hardy formula was still in the future. Here, the film is more a film where they and James Finlayson star--a trio instead of a duo.
The final thing you'll probably notice is that the film appears to have lost the final few minutes. It all ends very abruptly and nothing is really achieved. My guess is that as much as five minutes are missing from this print--which happens to be the best extant prints of this early film.
James Finlayson plays a hard-drinking rich playboy. He awakens with one of the scariest hangovers I've ever seen and is shocked to find from his butler, Oliver Hardy, that he got married the night before to a gold-digger. She and her family are waiting downstairs to blackmail Fin into a settlement. Finlayson calls his attorney, Stan Laurel, and the three of them really achieve nothing when they talk to the family.
Rather abruptly, the scene switches to the beach. It seems the three escaped and are hiding out, though the blackmailers are soon at their heels. What ensues isn't all that funny (with Laurel and Finlayson pretending to be one ugly lady) and they are chased through a fun house. Then, oddly, it all just ends very, very abruptly with no resolution.
If you have seen the Thelma Todd/Zasu Pitts short ON THE LOOSE, then you might just recognize the fun house--it sure is a dead ringer for the one here. However, ON THE LOOSE is a very good film and SUGAR DADDIES really is only of interest to devoted fans of Laurel and Hardy like myself. Others beware--it's choppy and not particularly funny.
Two nights ago, I saw this film at the Old Town Music Hall in El
Segundo, California. The theater was filled with college students who
were there for an extra credit assignment. It can pretty safely be
assumed that none of them had seen this film before, and probably have
seen very little of Laurel and Hardy.
The point of all this is that this film got big laughs from this audience. All the way through. As a huge Laurel and Hardy fan myself, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this early example of their work being so appreciated by a modern audience. Just goes to show, funny is always funny regardless of time and place.
Not sure if you can actually regard this movie as being a 'Laurel &
Hardy' movie. Yes, sure they are both in the movie and act together in
most of the sequences but they don't really act together as a comedy
duo yet in this one. Guess its also fair to say that the real main
character of the movie is James Finlayson.
But even though they're not really a comedy duo in this movie yet the quality of the movie itself is great and makes this movie rank among their best of the '20's.
The movie has a great variety of comical moments and slapstick comedy. The movie begins at the Finlayson residence. When he wakes up he is informed by his butler (Oliver Hardy) that he got married to a woman, in a drunk mood, no doubt. After this, his lawyer (Stan Laurel) is called to straighten things. Unfortunately for them, the brides brother, who steals and kills for pleasure only wants his sister to divorce if Finlayson pays her $50.000, as a financial settlement. Finlayson refuses and hides in a hotel with Laurel & Hardy, until they are of course are found by the brother and the rest of the family. What follows is an hilarious chase on a carnival, that was later redone again in the movie "On the Loose", also starring Laurel & Hardy in a small cameo appearance.
In between the movie has some great comical moments, that are original and brought well to the screen. Some of the camera-work is quite experimental at times. It works different and in a way also makes this movie distinct itself from other Laurel & Hardy movies. For most part of the movie Finlayson is hidden under Stan's dress, who is piggyback riding him and is dressed as Olie's wife to fool the in-laws. It's not the last time they used this simple comical premise in a movie and it works just as hilarious as always. It guarantees some great comical moments and big laughs.
The pace is very high. The movie never takes a rest, with as a result that the movie is an almost non-stop laugh-fest, that you don't want to end.
Even though they don't act together as a comedy duo yet, the performances from the boys is outstanding. It shows that they were great actors and could be funny, even when they were acting independently from each other. James Finlayson was great as always and so was Noah Young as the brother in-law, who also acted in several other Laurel & Hardy shorts, in similar like roles.
A surprisingly good and creative early silent Laurel & Hardy comedy short.
This silent short isn't so much a Laurel & Hardy vehicle as a short in
which they both appear. Hardy plays the butler to James Finlayson's
carousing playboy millionaire. Finlayson awakens after a major session
with the mother of all hangovers and a new wife he can't remember
marrying. The wife comes complete with brother and sister-in-law who
demand $50,000 from Finlayson to get out of his hair (metaphorically
speaking, of course). Stan Laurel plays the lawyer Finlayson recruits
to get him out of the pickle he's found himself in.
The film features an extended sequence in which Finlayson is concealed from his pursuers by pretending to be the bottom half of an improbably tall lady, the top half of which is Stan wearing a long robe. It's a trick that the trio used on at least two more occasions in the next few years (not that this was anything unusual, the early comics were always reworking previous material). Also of notice is an early use of hand-held camera - with only partial success - which definitely gives the film an in-your-face quality at times.
Sugar Daddies (1927)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
A millionaire (James Finlayson) wakes up after a night of partying to discover that he's now married. The new bride and her crazy brother are now trying to blackmail him so he calls his attorney (Stan Laurel) to settle the matter. Not too many laughs here but the thing is fun nonetheless. Oliver Hardy plays the butler.
Early to Bed (1928)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Hardy becomes rich overnight and offers his best friend Laurel a job as his butler. Money soon goes to Hardy's head and he come home picking on Laurel. This is a very unfunny film and certainly the worst I've seen from L&H. The two have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever, which really kills things. Most of the jokes come off annoying and not funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are the most famous comedy duo in history, and deservedly so, so I am happy to see any of their films. Cyrus Brittle (James Finlayson) wakes to be told by his butler (Hardy) that he got married last night, and his bride (Charlotte Mineau), her brother (Noah Young) and her daughter (Edna Marion) are all waiting for him downstairs. Cyrus calls his attorney/lawyer (Laurel) to help sort things out, as the bride's brother wants $50,000 to square the marriage, and he has a gun to make sure he gets it. To get away, Cyrus puts his lawyer on his shoulder's, and disguised as woman, he and the butler walk out. They do get chased though through the near circus, going through the fun house, over the rocking bridge and ending the film at the bottom of the slides, along with many other people, oh, and a cop after them gets a kick from a woman in the same outfit. There were the tiniest moments of comedy, but it isn't a great black and white film. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were number 7 on The Comedians' Comedian. Okay!
The added ingredient needed for Laurel and Hardy films was James Finlayson
as a foil. Without him, the duo would not be complete.
Laurel and Hardy needed at least seven years of development before their comic genius came through. Hal Roach paid for the privilege, and Charley Chase and James Finlayson were their contributors.
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