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Liberty (1929)

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Two escaped convicts (Laurel & Hardy) change clothes in the getaway car, but wind up wearing each other's pants. The rest of the film involves their trying to exchange pants, in alleys, in ... See full summary »



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Title: Liberty (1929)

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Cast overview:
Tom Kennedy ...
Construction worker (scenes deleted)
Sam Lufkin ...
Getaway Driver
James Finlayson ...
Store keeper
Jack Hill ...
Harry Bernard ...
Worker at Sea Food dealer
Woman in cab (as Harlean Carpenter)
Ed Brandenburg ...
Cab driver


Two escaped convicts (Laurel & Hardy) change clothes in the getaway car, but wind up wearing each other's pants. The rest of the film involves their trying to exchange pants, in alleys, in cabs and finally high above the street on the girders of a construction site. Written by Herman Seifer <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short | Family





Release Date:

26 January 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Criminals at Large  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Released in silent and limited sound versions. See more »


Referenced in Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

"This is no time for nipping"
25 May 2011 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Laurel and Hardy didn't go in for acrobatics much. Unlike the athletic antics of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, their comedy was based more around mannerisms, reactions and silly situations. Liberty however sees them out of their depth in Harold Lloyd/Safety Last! territory, stuck high above the city in the shell of a half-built skyscraper. The pants mix-up and skyscraper escapade that make up the bulk of Liberty were originally shot for the earlier short "We Faw Down", but was cut from that film for reasons of length. Judging the material too good to throw away, the studio commissioned this new story to showcase it.

The setting for Liberty may be inspired by Harold Lloyd, but the style of comedy is purely Laurel and Hardy's own. They were the perfect double act. Neither of them could have done too well on his own but together they are worth more than the sum of their parts. Stan's clownish clumsiness brings out the best on Oli, Hardy being so good at indignity and injured pomposity. Meanwhile Oli's continual berating of Stan brings out Laurel's nervous, put-upon displays. A lot of the humour in Liberty derives from the mismatch between the duo's ineptitude and the precarious place they find themselves in. Despite the building site location there aren't really many props or other characters for them to interact with, and you really get to see how much mileage there is in their surprised reactions and ungainly movements.

Liberty was directed by Leo McCarey, a very fine slapstick director who would soon be graduating onto full-length features. Often the most important thing he does is simply allow the players time and space to perform, and Liberty features some unusually long, static takes to allow Stan and Oli to do their thing. However he does know exactly when and how to change the shot, such as the quick close-up of the crab followed by Hardy's stunned reaction. And one very effective thing about Liberty is that the editing does get quicker the longer they are up on the skyscraper. The looming cityscape becomes ever more visible and those straight-down shots of the ground become increasingly frequent. It gives us a real feeling of danger and sets up some genuine tension. Just as in Safety Last! six years earlier, the constant will-they-won't-they situation simply makes Liberty all the more intensely funny.

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