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The Hoose-Gow (1929)

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Stanley and Oliver protest that they were only bystanders to the raid, but are hauled off to a prison labor camp anyway. They procede with their usual mayhem, Stanley getting his pick stuck... See full summary »

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Title: The Hoose-Gow (1929)

The Hoose-Gow (1929) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Storyline

Stanley and Oliver protest that they were only bystanders to the raid, but are hauled off to a prison labor camp anyway. They procede with their usual mayhem, Stanley getting his pick stuck in Oliver's coat, Oliver chopping down a tree which just happens to contain the guard lookout post. When the Governor's party happens by, Oliver accidentally pokes a hole in his car's radiator, then attempts to stop the leak by filling the radiator with rice. The result is melee with all involved throwing clumps of soggy rice at each other. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Neither Mr. Laurel nor Mr. Hardy had any thoughts of doing wrong. As a matter of fact, they had no thoughts of any kind.

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Comedy | Short

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16 November 1929 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ham Kinsey, who played a prisoner, later became Stan Laurel's stand-in. Baldwin Cooke, another prisoner here, and his wife Alice played in a three-act with Stan in England. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film the car backs into the truck, just before the impact two barrels of whitewash tip over. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The slapstick has finally won me over
29 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

James Parrot's short film The Hoose-Gow opens with Laurel and Hardy being trafficked to prison after being mistaken for involvement in a hold-up. The two spend their days digging ditches, cutting down trees, and doing the hard manual labor in prison with the comedic longevity expected from two of the greatest masterminds in silent/talkie comedy. The two manage to get themselves into enough physical pain and trouble that makes up for their false prison sentence, but the two push on and try to pay their dues, even if it results in grave injury.

This is one of the first times I've seen where slapstick really works for Laurel and Hardy. The Hoose-Gow doesn't make much of an effort to incorporate a lot of verbal wit, and instead, emphasizes the physical elements. For some reason, perhaps the result of a mood-change or an unconscious desire, I was pleased by the slapstick here, especially during the scenes when Hardy is attempting to cut down a tree and Laurel keeps getting in the way, nearly missing the sharp blade of the pickaxe. Scenes like that provide for slapstick that almost seems improvisational rather than a copout for screen writing.

One can tell, however, this is an early sound-short because of the lack of formal dialog. The Hoose-Gow could've really been a silent short and simply had the timely luxury of being able to be produced with sound. My only assumption to the lack of real conversation was writers at the time, in this case, H.M. Walker, who wrote most of Laurel and Hardy's short films, was just getting used to screen writing with audible dialog, making the early sound-shorts lack the kind of leisurely- paced dialog that would be present in Laurel and Hardy's later shorts. It's not a particular flaw, just a difficultly in adapting on part of the short's crew, but it would've made for a more witty short.

Yet The Hoose-Gow accomplishes a feat I never really thought possible with Laurel and Hardy shorts, which is make them more slapstick driven than dialog driven and have them turn out successful. For that, the film deserves a huge plus, and the fact that this is the most active I've seen both men in any project only adheres to their credibility has fantastic physical performers.

Starring: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Directed by: James Parrot.


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