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This is a first-rate Laurel & Hardy comedy, definitely among their most
enjoyable silent films and, for my money, one of the best short
comedies they ever made. The story follows a basic three-act structure,
yet it's loose enough to allow for plenty of gags along the way. It
builds steadily from the opening sequence to the wild climax, and it's
beautifully photographed. (Ahhh, the sunny streets of Culver City!)
You're Darn Tootin' is one of only two L&H comedies directed by their
frequent co-star Edgar Kennedy (the other is From Soup to Nuts), and
based on the results in both cases it's too bad Kennedy didn't direct
Laurel & Hardy more often, as he demonstrated a real flair for their
brand of comedy. The boys themselves-- who still look pretty boyish at
this early stage of their career --responded well to his direction, no
doubt because they'd all worked together as actors for a long time.
Here Stan and Ollie play a pair of hapless musicians whose professional status declines sharply in the course of one disastrous day. We begin with a band concert in a public park that starts placidly but turns rowdy; proceed to a quieter (albeit amusing) mid-section at the boys' boarding house, where they're behind on paying their rent; and conclude with a grand finale of contagious shin-kicking, pants-ripping, and other harrowing acts of civic chaos, all topped with a memorable pay-off gag. The opening scene at the park is so methodically timed and builds so rhythmically you can practically hear the music, even when watching a silent print. (The sequence was given a nicely synchronized musical track by Robert Youngson for his compilation The Further Perils of Laurel & Hardy in the '60s.) For me, the great moments often can be found in the smaller gestures rather than in the vistas of full-scale mayhem. Watch the guys' faces during the medium two-shot at the boarding house dinner table, all filmed in a single take, when Stan takes the tops off the salt and pepper shakers, uses each condiment on his soup, and then fails to put the tops back on properly. Ollie falls victim to this maneuver not once but twice, first dumping too much salt into his soup and then too much pepper. We know what's coming, but somehow our anticipation of this little tragedy translates into amusement. And they make it look so natural. We're amazed when Buster Keaton blithely crashes a bicycle and sails over the handlebars, but with Laurel & Hardy it's the nuances that count. It's Ollie's fingers as he delicately breaks the crackers into his soup, soup that we know is about to be ruined because he's not paying attention as Stan takes the top off the pepper shaker. Ollie takes such pleasure in breaking up those crackers it's heart-wrenching, and he looks so crushed when his soup gets ruined, but we laugh.
Everything comes to a head in the unforgettable finale, when the boys try to make a go of it as street buskers. They fail of course, then argue, and manage to draw an alarming number of passersby into their violent quarrel. We learn once again that it doesn't take much to start a full-scale riot in Culver City. On some level I suppose I enjoy these "total warfare" sequences because they use slapstick to cheerfully confirm our worst suspicion about humanity: i.e. that just under the veneer of Civilized Behavior, whether disguised in the natty suits and snap-brim hats of the 1920s or the clothes of today, we're quite ready to drop all pretense of civility and clobber each other for the dumbest reasons imaginable, or for no reason at all. That's what I love about the comedy of Laurel & Hardy: their films represent life as it's actually lived, exaggerated only slightly. Kind of appalling, isn't it?
This is the story of two musicians who played neither by note no ear,
instead they used brute strength. On the night in question the
orchestra leader was making his farewell appearance something the
public had been demanding for years. Fired for messing this up the pair
find themselves out of their house as well as they are already 14 weeks
late with the rent. On the city streets with only their instruments the
pair find it hard going earning money.
Shown as part of BBC3's generally good documentary series on silent comedy legends "Silent Clowns", this Laurel and Hardy short is one of the very few silent films of theirs I have seen. I do love their "talky" short films and looked forward to this. It took a minute or two to get used to the lack of audible jokes and the short does demonstrate that this was something they wanted, because the title cards are mostly funny and not solely used to describe plot. Naturally though the vast majority of this is physical comedy, which for fans will be just fine because they still deliver this really well.
It is impressive how the pair do so much with very basic routines and obvious gags. The opening orchestra scene is funny and, after a bridge scene, the streets produce some good laughs leading up to the famous sidewalk chaos bit. Newcomers might not see what the fuss is about (this is always the risk some viewers just watch L&H and think "all been done before", missing the point that no, it has all been done since) but fans will take to it despite the lack of sound. As always Laurel and Hardy work really well together, trading laughs off one another and delivering their parts equally well. Kennedy's directorial approach is wisely to pretty much just point and shoot.
Overall an enjoyable and funny silent short that Laurel and Hardy fans will lap up even if, like me, those accustom to sound will feel its absence.
You're Darn Tootin', released in 1928, is one of Laurel & Hardy's last
silent shorts. There is no high-brow humor, no Andy Kaufman
what's-he-really-doing-here angst, and the closest thing to
sophisticated word play comes when Stan throws Ollie's horn under a
steam roller and, after trying to get the now half-inch thick
instrument to toot, Ollie deadpans to the camera and a placard
announces "It's flat."
You can see the fine hand of legendary comedic actor Edgar Kennedy in his direction. Kennedy's fortes the slow burn and intricate interactions with props are the centerpieces here, from the fiddle bow and music sheet sequence early on to the gradual acceleration from annoyance to mayhem and utter anarchy at the end.
Stan and Ollie destroy a band concert, get fired, evicted, and fight with each other and everyone else who so much as passes by. The big finale is the infamous pants-ripping scene. "You're Darn Tootin'" is pure slapstick and low-brow humor. It's also the funniest twenty minutes ever committed to film.
Warning: do not watch this film without a change of underwear available.
YOU'RE DARN TOOTIN'
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Sound format: Silent
(Black and white - Short film)
Fired from an orchestra for causing havoc, Stan 'n' Ollie become street musicians and spark a near-riot...
Directed by comedy star Edgar Kennedy (originally billed as 'E. Livingston Kennedy'), this silent L&H short builds toward a climactic set-piece in which a large crowd of people are drawn into their personal squabble, resulting in complete anarchy (see also HATS OFF and PERFECT DAY for a similar scenario), largely because Stan is unwilling to suffer Ollie's bullying behavior, a dynamic which figured heavily in many of their silent entries. An earlier sequence, in which they ruin an orchestral presentation in the local park, sending conductor Otto Lederer into an apoplectic rage, is staged and executed with note-perfect precision. Originally released in the UK as THE MUSIC BLASTERS.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
YOU'RE DARN TOOTIN' was one of the last silent films Stan and Ollie
appeared in - within a year they would be in UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE,
where they demonstrated that they could handle talkie films with the
best of their competition. Because of it's transitional nature, there
is a major problem in the opening of the films, which suggests that the
Roach Studio may have originally planned to do it as a talkie. The boys
are in a town band, and they drive the conductor (Otto Lederer) wild by
wrecking the piece of music the band is supposed to be playing. That
the six to eight minute section of the film is not a waste (it is quite
funny) is due to the antics of it's stars and the band conductor.
Viewers tend to forget that Lederer's character (according to one of
the title cards) is generally regarded as an idiot by the locals
listening to his concerts - but he's worse when dealing with the boys.
Watch the fairly simple problem just at the start, where they are out
of sync with the other band members (including Charlie Hall) and keep
standing when the conductor taps his baton at them (while the others
sit down) and then sit down when the conductor tries to get the others
to stand up with them! It is only when they are playing the music that
the lack of a sound track occurs. We need to know what the music is
that they are lousing up (on You Tube's three video transfer version
the music appears to be Von Suppe's Light Cavalry Overture).
Still the antics, including Stan showing quicker wits than usual (surprisingly), are amusing. Stan's clarinet music is accidentally blown off his stand, and he sees it is under the conductor's foot (and Lederer is stamping his foot on the paper to keep the time). Ollie is not watching, so Stan steals his french horn music, and when Ollie notices it is gone Stan points to the missing music under the conductor. Ollie goes to retrieve it, and gets stepped on several times before retrieving it.
Fired for wrecking the concert, the boys have no money to pay for 14 weeks bread and board at a boarding house - so they are thrown out there too. They try to make some money as street performers, only to find that they can't coordinate their musical timing. They also keep running afoul of a local beat policeman because they lack a license (when asked about this, Ollie indignantly says "We don't have a dog!"). They have problems with manholes, falling down several by accident (and Ollie getting a warmed rear end at one point as a result).
Finally comes the fight at the end. Stan was more aggressive in the silent films - he would not take any of Ollie's bullying here as in the later sound films. A case of reciprocal damage of their clothes begins (with Ollie getting the worst of it). And soon others (including the cop) get drawn in - and grown-up men are soon ripping each other's pants off. The conclusion reminds one of the ends of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY where a whole city block is engaged in a pie fight. The final shot (regarding one really large man's loss of his trousers) also is suggestive of another silent Stan and Ollie classic: LIBERTY.
On the whole the film is quite funny, and well worth catching on You Tube or video or in a revival house.
This amusing, clever short feature is a pretty good example of the way that
Laurel & Hardy, at their best, could get a lot of mileage out of a few
simple ideas. While many of the gags have been done before, frequently by
Stan and Ollie themselves, the material works and provides good laughs
thanks to their expert timing, funny mannerisms, and creative use of props.
The wild sidewalk fracas is probably the best-remembered part of "You're
Darn Tootin'", but perhaps the wittiest sequence is the opening scene on
bandstand, which packs quite a few laughs into a short time. Any Laurel &
Hardy fan should enjoy this one.
I first read about this Laurel & Hardy short in Randy Skretvedt's book "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies". Then I saw the ending clip in Robert Youngston's first silent comedy compilation called The Golden Age of Comedy. I later bought the VHS tape of the film from Hal Roach Studios and now I've watched it on Hulu as linked from IMDb. As directed by Edgar Kennedy, who previously was with the boys in Leave 'Em Laughing, this was funny from start to finish from when they make a shambles of the band they're playing with to doing that to themselves on the street playing on their own to their fight with each other leading to lots of passersby getting caught in the chaos. Stan & Ollie drive each other crazy constantly with Stan, at this point, giving it as good as he gets instead of usually taking it which is quite refreshing to see but since other people are even worse to them, they really have no one but themselves to depend on. That's even more refreshing and it's for that reason that this team is considered one of the greatest ever in movies. I think I've said enough, so on that note, You're Darn Tootin' is highly recommended.
Although I certainly don't consider this movie to be Laurel & Hardy's
best, it still is of course a very amusing short, that features plenty
of good slapstick moments.
The movie is a bit dragging at times with its gags but overall the movie has plenty of moments in that will surely make you laugh. Especially the ending is purely classic. The slapstick comedy is very typically Laurel & Hardy like, so fans of the two will surely enjoy watching this comedy short.
Like often was the case with Laurel & Hardy, the movie can be divided into two parts. The first halve is about the comedy duo playing in a municipal band, while the second halve is about the two coping with the fact that they are fired from the band by trying to earn some money on the street by playing. Both parts have their up- and downsides but overall the upsides overcome its lesser parts.
The movie got directed by Edgar Kennedy, who also directed the other Laurel & Hardy silent short "From Soup To Nuts". Kennedy is still best known though as an actor playing in several Laurel & Hardy movies, most often as the cop Kennedy.
Amusing, especially for the fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
YOU'RE DARN TOOTIN' is arguably the film which started to properly
develop the essential traits of their unique characters and
adventures.The boys themselves are humble bandstand musicians who
inadvertently wreck the conductor's final appearance.Sacked,they are
also made homeless when their landlady throws them out of their digs
unable to pay their rent.Their attempts at being street musicians end
in predictable failure and frustration,culminating in a furious
free-for-all involving scores of other men.
The film gets off to a slightly variable start;the gags involving the bandstand sequence are funny,but the specific and precise timing to a musical beat makes the scene all the more difficult to follow since this is a silent comedy.Things regain their footing very quickly with an amusing dinner-table routine,and the carefully constructed street sequence.Stan and Ollie's never-ending frustrations are methodically and beautifully structured here(only marred by some silent-screen type histrionics by conductor Otto Lederer),until the truly magnificent shin-kicking,pants-ripping finale.It is one of the team's most memorable routines out of so many memorable others.This last scene's frenzied,frantic pace is perfectly judged with hilarious results,finishing off with an unforgettable,and indeed rather charming and dignified wrap-up gag (the boys leaving the scene of chaos tipping their derbies) which rates as one of their best ever.YOU'RE DARN TOOTIN' isn't quite in the classic mould as BIG BUSINESS,THE MUSIC BOX,SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST,but it very nearly gets there and would be rated classic by virtually anyone else's standards.Which shows you how high Laurel and Hardy's standards are.
RATING:8 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Laurel and Hardy silent films were in some ways them finding their feet and honing their partnership and thus they are a mixed bag. However they were half a dozen or so made that stand up against anything they did in the sound era and You're Darn Tootin' is one one of them, Structured into three different scenarios we first meet the boys as they play in a band in a bandstand one afternoon. True to form it does not go smooth and they disrupt everything and everybody around them. After they are fired the focus switches to them in their boarding house as they try and have a meal, but even this most simple of tasks seems beyond them. Finally we see the boys try to earn a new living busking out on the streets and this is where the most memorable scenes come as they soon get into a fight, kicking ankles and punching stomach which rapidly grows and soon there's a mob fighting and trousers are getting ripped off left right and centre in an hilarious finale which is one the funniest scenes the boys did in the silent era. If you have a sense of humour you'll love this short.
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