Stan & Ollie have set up their own electrical repair store. Unfortunately, for them, the grocery store opposite is run by the man & wife they encountered with in Them Thar Hills (1935). ... See full summary »
Two sailors on leave, Stanley and Oliver meet two girls at a park and invite them to have a soda. Unfortunately, the boys have only enough money to split theirs, a point which Oliver can't ... See full summary »
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 »
Ollie Dee and Stanley Dum try to borrow money from their employer, the toymaker, to pay off the mortgage on Mother Peep's shoe and keep it and Little Bo Peep from the clutches of the evil ... See full summary »
Harold Hall, an accident prone young man with little or no acting ability, desperately wants to be in pictures. After a mix-up with his application photograph, he gets an offer to have a ... See full summary »
Stanley and Oliver are trying to spend a relaxing night at home playing checkers, but the antics of their mischievous sons keep interrupting their recreation. Exasperated, the fathers send their misbehaving offspring to bed and start in on a furniture-destroying game of billiards. Upstairs, the kids continue to cause a ruckus and leave the bathtub faucet running full force. Finally, Oliver asks if they'll go to sleep if he gives them each a drink of water, then heads for the bathroom door. Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Brats may be not only be one of the most subversive Laurel and Hardy shorts ever made but also one of the most subversive black and white shorts of the 1930's. Focusing on Laurel and Hardy looking after their young children, making sure they do not wreak havoc on the house while their wives are away, the short has Laurel and Hardy playing their younger selves, scaled down in size thanks to an entirely modified, recreated set with larger furniture. It's obvious that Laurel and Hardy were simply shrunk down to look the part in terms of physical size, but it's undoubtedly the harder, costlier way to go about this process rather than hiring two child actors to play the performers' children.
With this, Brats utilizes Laurel and Hardy's children quite vividly and frequently, not making them momentary, cameo characters, but centering the entire short around them. We see director James Parrott and writers Leo McCarey and H.M. Walker explore the possibilities of having these characters function as children, interacting with their elders and embracing their own level of mischief akin to their parents. The illusion of Laurel and Hardy being child-size comes from modifications in the set design, where oversized furniture, staircases, and rooms were constructed to give Laurel and Hardy the appearance of being small when surrounded by much bigger items. This effect is ingenuous, especially for the time period, and the fact that an easy, albeit less believable, way could've been done for a fraction of the price just shows the dedication of the film crew at hand.
Brats is a lot of fun, heavy on slapstick, but pleasantly so, as we have an original, innovative idea at hand and a nice focus on Laurel and Hardy rather than a bunch of occasionally distracting side characters. The short furthers my opinion that radicalism in film has always been present in a sense of finding out what you can do with the medium and pushing that boundary a bit further, and to see it exercised in a genre that didn't need or call for any enormous technical or production modifications whatsoever shows the power and ambition of those who work on a film.
Starring: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Directed by: James Parrott.
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