Stanley and Oliver, in their new jobs as footman and doorman at a ritzy hotel, wreak their usual havoc on the guests, including partially undressing a swanky blonde guest and repeatedly ... See full summary »
Stanley and Oliver, in their new jobs as footman and doorman at a ritzy hotel, wreak their usual havoc on the guests, including partially undressing a swanky blonde guest and repeatedly escorting a haughty Prussian nobleman into an empty elevator shaft. Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Noel Madison, who played the desk clerk, later said no one was prepared for the appearance of 17 year old Jean Harlow, who wore a translucent slip under her dress. Madison reported that, even though he had been in burlesque, he had "never seen anything like that before". See more »
The biggest reason to see this Laurel and Hardy film is to see a very young Jean Harlow
For years there has been a half-truth among Hollywood lore that Howard Hughes "discovered" Jean Harlow when he cast her to star in HELL'S ANGELS. While this may have been her first big role, she'd already appeared in quite a few shorts for the Hal Roach Studios. This film, in fact, was the second Laurel and Hardy film in which she appeared (the other being LIBERTY). While her role is not huge, it's very clear that this is Jean--though her 1930s trademark looks are not present in DOUBLE WHOOPEE.
Aside from Jean, it's pretty much an average to below average Laurel and Hardy film. I think most of this is because while funny, the chemistry isn't quite right here, though it's hard to exactly put my finger on it. It just didn't seem quite like a Laurel and Hardy film--and by 1929 the style and format of their shorts was pretty much established.
The boys play employees that are sent by an agency to work at a nice New York hotel. At the same time, a rich European prince arrives and the folks at the hotel mistake Stan and Ollie for the prince and his Prime Minister. After finally discovering the mistake, they put the boys to work.
There are two main "big gags" in this film. The first involves a contrived bit involving an incredibly unsafe elevator. Through no fault of Stan and Ollie, the Prince keeps falling down the elevator shaft. This bit was a bit over-used and also had me wondering if they really made elevators like this. If so, then I am surprised that most Americans weren't killed! The second is a series of bit like you'd see in other Laurel and Hardy films such as TIT FOR TAT and TWO TARS. A small argument escalates and Ollie and a tough guy (Charles Hall--in a very typical role for him) start destroying each other's clothes--and Stan joining in for good measure. This bit is reprised later inside the hotel with the other hotel employees and soon everyone is fighting and destroying each other's outfits. Both gags are reasonably funny to watch but also seem amazingly contrived if not impossible--making the humor just a bit forced. Still, it's not a bad film at all, though one that is best remembered for a small part played by a young and relatively inexperienced Jean Harlow.
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