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The final shot of this Laurel & Hardy two-reeler has been excerpted and
used in several silent comedy compilations: it shows Stan and Ollie
laughing uproariously in their car as bemused cop Edgar Kennedy glares
at them . . . while in the meantime, the car and all three occupants
are sinking into a deep, watery mud hole. That shot captures the antic
spirit of silent comedy neatly and amusingly. Leave 'Em Laughing itself
is an early L&H comedy, made while they were still finding their style,
but there are several funny moments en route to that memorable, watery
The film consists of three sequences: the boys in their apartment, contending with Stan's toothache and angry landlord Charlie Hall; a trip to the dentist's office, where they are overcome with laughing gas; and the finale, as they try to deal with traffic -- and with Officer Kennedy -- while helpless with laughter. I like the third part best, myself, but perhaps that's because of the discomfiting tooth pain element of the earlier scenes. In watching the film again recently I notice gags in the first two sequences that are rather cartoon-y, and not in keeping with what the guys would do in their prime. For instance: early on, Stan has a handkerchief around his jaw, tied in two knots atop his head like rabbit ears, and at one point the pain he's feeling is indicated by the "ears" twisting themselves in circles. Similarly, in the dentist's waiting room, surprise is indicated through Stan's hat flying up into the air. This kind of shtick seems more typical of the Mack Sennett Studio, whereas the best comedians on the Hal Roach lot (L&H, Our Gang, Charley Chase, etc.) tended to favor a more naturalistic style with less straining for laughs. It's interesting to compare these gags to the later 'Magic Stan' bits, such as the hat-eating in Way Out West or the thumb-smoking in Block-Heads; those routines are certainly unreal, but they feel intrinsic to Stan's oddness and somehow perfectly natural, not standard shtick which any other comic could do, like the rabbit ear hankie or the flying hat bit.
At any rate, the finale is great fun. I once saw this film at a museum screening, and despite the lack of sound the boys' unstoppable laughter during the final sequence succeeded in getting the audience going, too. That could also be a matter of context: Stan and Ollie are creating a traffic jam, but instead of reacting fearfully they're laughing in the face of the unsmiling cop who doggedly tries to make them follow the rules. It's a rare sequence where Stan and Ollie are openly subversive and don't give a damn about the consequences, and it's downright liberating.
This movie certainly does justice to its title.
It takes a while for the movie to take shape and pace, after all, this is one of the earliest Laurel & Hardy movies, from the period when they obviously were still searching for the right style. However after the movie its slow ending the movie really starts to take pace and become interesting from the moment the two boys are at the dentist. The movie becomes a good old fashioned laugh fest from that point on.
The bits at the dentist were already great but the movie gets even better in the ending, when the boys are extremely high from the laughing gas they got exposed to at the dentist. They get into trouble with the police officer played by Edgar Kennedy, who tries to control the traffic but of course the seriously high boys keep messing things and traffic up with their car.
The movie consists out of some great slapstick moments and some hilarious comical situations. Also the very last scene is one to remember, also because of the fact that it's so totally random. It makes it all the more hilarious.
All in all this is a surprisingly good and entertaining Laurel & Hardy silent comedy short, especially when considering that this movie was from their begin-period.
This was another Laurel & Hardy short I watched on Hulu as linked from IMDb. In this one, Stanley has a toothache that's bothering bed mate Ollie so he tries various ways to get rid of it to no results. So they go to the dentist but this one is not the best in health care since the patients keep running away! I'll stop there and just say that this was quite funny almost to the end but when the laughing gas effect comes in and they run into cop Edgar Kennedy, the scene is maybe milked a little too long but it at least leads to a hilarious ending. Oh, and Charlie Hall also has a good bit as the landlord. So on that note, Leave 'Em Laughing mostly lives up to its title.
*** 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. Stan is suffering a toothache, wearing a bandage that has the knots acting like bunny ears when Ollie touches his jaw. Ollie goes to get him a water bottle, getting a pin in his foot (twice), but then Stan wants him to help pull the hurting tooth out, so it is tied to the blind, and the door (twice). The Lodger (Charlie Hall) comes in complaining about the noise, getting a kick from Stan, and a little fight of kicks and punches happens, before they go back to the bed, which breaks. Next day, they are at the dentist, Stan is scared (especially after hearing about dentist breaking jaw, and seeing covered body taken out), and Ollie has to carry him in after he faints. After Stan's waking and panicking, the doctor goes to the next room, while Ollie tries to show Stan how easy the chair procedure is, little realising the fellow doctor will be knocking him unconscious and taking out a tooth. In a little squabble, both Stan and Ollie inhale the mask's gas, the nurse recognises it as laughing gas, so the two guys can't stop laughing while going outside, getting into the car, bumping it into others, and being told off by the cop (Perfect Day's Edgar Kennedy). The film ends with the cop driving the car, and ignoring the road, they drive into a closed part of the road, and as result end up sinking into the large puddle (possibly wet tarmac), just like the end of Perfect Day. Filled with wonderful slapstick and all classic comedy you could want from a black and white silent film, it is an enjoyable film. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were number 7 on The Comedians' Comedian. Very good!
For the lovers of Laurel and Hardy out there, this is about as typical
as you can find--with lots of bits in this silent film that were
reprised in later Stan and Ollie shorts. While some may find this a bit
repetitive, there is a nice familiarity about the film--plus in most
cases, this was their first film to feature these bits.
The film begins with Stan in misery with a toothache and their irritated landlord losing his patience. Once again, as in THEY GO BOOM, Charlie Hall is the short-tempered landlord and once again the argument results in some funny rough and tumble bits. Then the film switches to the dentist's office and is reminiscent of the dentist portion of PARDON US--but with a twist. Both Stan and Ollie get a massive over-dose of laughing gas and leave the office highly intoxicated. This leads to a funny but overly long segment with traffic cop Edgar Kennedy. It seems to go on forever but end very well.
Again, nothing especially different about this film compared to others, but it is all done so well and is so much fun, I really didn't mind at all. This is one of the more difficult silent shorts of the team to find, but if you do, be sure to give it a watch.
Leave 'Em Laughing (1928)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Laurel is suffering from a toothache so Hardy takes him to the dentist who accidentally fills them with laughing gas. The early gags of Hardy trying to pull the tooth are funny but the ending with the cars goes on a bit too long and gets rather tiresome.
They Go Boom! (1929)
*** (out of 4)
Hardy has a cold so it's up to Laurel to try and find a cure so that they can get a good night's sleep. Highlights include the mustard bath and the exploding mattress.
One Good Turn (1931)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
L&H set out to raise $100 when they overhear an elderly woman say she's going to be evicted. Not too many laughs in this one outside the opening sequence in the woods.
Thicker Than Water (1935)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Laurel and Hardy waste $300 on a grandfather clock so Hardy's wife hits him with a frying pan and sends him to the hospital. Again, not too funny and the worst part is the ending where the two change personalities. This here should have been a lot funnier than it turned out.
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