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"Be Big" is one of the better short slapstick movies that the legendary
couple made.Like always the story is not as important as the many jokes and
The phone and doorbell of Hardy is hilarious as well as the doorbell of
Still,the biggest laughs come after the wives have left and when Ollie &
Stan put on their boots for the club.These scenes are,although sometimes a
bit long,really funny.
Of course it ends all wrong,but that is typical for these short features.A very nice piece of work. 9/10
Laurel and Hardy and their wives are due to go away for a trip. However
when Hardy's pals call him and tell him of a party in his honour he feigns
illness and sends them on ahead of him and Laurel. But making excuses to
his wife and getting away with it is only the start of the problem when it
comes to actually getting ready to go out.
In what seems to be more an exercise in patience rather than a short film, the duo go through the motions in a film that doesn't do them justice when viewed along with other shorts. The plot's high point is a sequence where Hardy tries to get Laurel's boot (which he has mistaken for his own) first onto his foot and then, realising his mistake, off his foot. This is the guts of the film and is easily the funniest bit but it isn't very good. It goes on too long and, save the great work in delivery, isn't funny enough to carry the film in the way it is expected to.
The duo try hard and both Laurel and Hardy do their well known thing to the best of their abilities but the material and the gags simply let them down. As real troopers they do their best and they are still worth watching the short for (I can't help but love Hardy's looks!) but they are not well served. The support cast (the wives) are good despite having little of consequence to do it is nice to see Laurel and Hardy given wives who look pretty as opposed to battleaxe types (or themselves!)
Overall I feel that Laurel and Hardy are always worth watching, but this would be a poor place to start. A short film that goes through the motions with no really good gags or high points.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many of Laurel and Hardy's shorts were domestic comedies that concerned
relatively mundane activities that somehow became hilarious due to
excellent writing, direction and the acting of the team. This film is a
great example, as the plot is paper-thin and yet the film made me
The plot is an early incarnation of the plot that was later used in their best full-length film, SONS OF THE DESERT. Like this other film, the boys want to slip away for some fun with their lodge brothers and Ollie fakes an illness and convinces the wives to go off to Atlantic City without them. Probably the worst moment in the film was Ollies overacting--instead of a sick man, he sounds more like a walrus in heat! But no matter, the women believe the act and Stan stays back to take care of his friend. As soon as the ladies leave, Ollie tells Stan of the plan,...and dumb old Stan tells him he CAN'T go out because he's sick! Well, after finally helping Stan understand it was all a trick, they start to change into their lodge uniforms and believe it or not, it takes them half the film to do this, as Ollie accidentally puts on Stan's boots and cannot get them off. It IS very mundane stuff, but considering how much material they get from just this, it is truly an amazing film.
Like SONS OF THE DESERT, the wives eventually see through the plan and make the boys pay--and boy do they pay!! It's a cute little short and while not their best, it's an excellent example of their work and well worth seeing.
FYI--There is a French language version (LES CAROTTIERS) and Spanish language version (LOS CALAVERAS) of this film combined with LAUGHING GRAVY. Even if you don't know the languages, they are very watchable--especially after you see the English language versions.
Laurel and Hardy are both married in this comedy short. They are about to
take their wives to Atlantic City when Hardy gets a call. The men at the
club will honor Hardy tonight so he must be there. Hardy fakes he is
suddenly ill and he wants Laurel to take care of him while the ladies must
have their fun in Atlantic City. Laurel and Hardy change for the evening
there is some trouble with Laurel's boot on Hardy's foot. Hilarious
sequences is what we get to see.
Although almost the entire short deals with the boots, Laurel and Hardy find enough ways to make us laugh. Hardy takes some nasty falls and Laurel has some nice moments with his stupidity. A very entertaining short.
Stan, Ollie and their wives are going on a trip to Atlantic City, but when Ollie gets a call from a friend saying a stag party is being thrown in his (and Stan's) honor, he cannot resist. The boys get themselves into their usual bit of trouble, although the laughs here are a bit strained, most notably in the long winded boot sequence which went on entirely too long.
This particular Hal Roach short with Laurel and Hardy seems to have
worked so well that the idea was later expanded into their classic Sons
Of The Desert comedy.
Stan and Ollie are a couple of henpecked husbands who have planned to take a joint vacation to Atlantic City with the wives. But then Ollie gets a call from a hunt club that he and Stan belong to and it seems as though the gang is throwing them a bash. And since this is a guys only type gathering, they have to ditch the wives.
Ollie fakes a tremendous headache in the usual overactive Ollie fashion and the wives decide to make it a girls only trip to Atlantic City. With the ruse working, Ollie and Stan have to get into their hunting outfits.
Personally I find it hard to believe that some hoity toity outfit would even have Laurel and Hardy as members let alone as honored guests at a party. But leaving that aside, most of the film from this point on is taken up with Hardy having managed to squeeze into Laurel's boots by mistake now trying to get them off his feet with Laurel's inept assistance.
I've never seen one gag milked so successfully for a film, granted it's just a short subject. Seeing poor Laurel struggling to get those boots off Hardy's feet, dragging him around the apartment and wrecking half of it is hilarious.
Who could have known that in reality the title Be Big referred to Ollie's feet.
A LAUREL & HARDY Comedy Short. The Boys are all set to
their wives for a weekend in Atlantic City when Ollie discovers
that the gang at the club are going to hold a stag party in
honor that very night. Feigning a terrific nervous headache,
gets Stanley to agree to send the wives on ahead by
themselves. Now Ollie & Stanley can dress for the party
except for the little matter of Stanley's boots on Ollie's feet.
the wives find out they've been tricked, the Boys had better
face their wrath like grownups and BE BIG!
This is a very funny film, relying almost entirely on slapstick humor - one has to wonder how Ollie could take those falls without seriously hurting himself. Watching him strain to get Stanley's boot off his right leg is genuinely exhausting and will make all fat men ache in sympathy.
Be Big! should be one of those early, late-1800's film shorts that
lasted about a minute or a minute and a half in length and were clearly
spur-of-the-moment and provided a momentary relief from the drudgery of
ones day. Instead, it's a nearly thirty-minute long, failed attempt at
comedy from one of America's most famous comedy duos, Stan Laurel and
Oliver Hardy. The short concerns the two men about to go to Atlantic
City with their wives until Hardy abruptly changes plans when his pal
calls and informs him of a stag party that is taking place in their
honor. In order to get out of the trip, Hardy pretends to be ill and in
pain and implores Laurel to stay behind, promising to meet the wives in
the morning. The plan would be fool-proof if those executing it weren't
fools themselves, as much of the short concerns Laurel attempting to
pull the boots off of Hardy's feet, resulting in mishaps galore.
What ensues is a repetitive and dreadfully overlong account of Laurel attempting to undress Hardy, and being that this is a film with sound and dialog, it clearly functions in that time when screen writing with vocal dialog was something to still be practiced, resulting in Be Big! playing like a silent comedy in terms of its simple narrative. Because of this, the simplicity of the short is also its greatest issue, with the short never reaching comedic heights in terms of writing or performances, and we're robbed of the great situational comedy typically brought on by the team of director James W. Horne and writer H.M. Walker.
Be Big! does have one memorable thing about it; it's what I was practically telling the short's ambition and scope to do while watching it.
Starring: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Directed by: James W. Horne.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the weaker Laurel and Hardy shorts from 1931.
Stan, Ollie and their wives (Anita Garvin and Isabelle Keith) are off on a vacation. They are almost ready to go when Ollie gets a phone call from his friend Cookie (Baldwin Cook) saying the lads down his club are giving a party in Stan and Ollie's honour. He reluctantly agrees to go along. He feigns illness, tells his wife he'll be fine in a day, Stan will look after him, then they will meet them on vacation. They somehow agree to this. Stan and Ollie get their outfits ready for the party, but due to a mix up of boots, Ollie can't get Stan's boot off. And will the wives get to their train on time...
This is a great situation which worked so well in the previous short 'Blotto', lie to the wives to go out with the lads. 'Be Big' is in someways a forerunner to 'Sons of the Desert' which is probably Laurel & Hardy's greatest ever film together. Here was a similar situation, lie to the wives and using illness as an excuse. Also, the club Stan and Ollie are in during 'Be Big' is similar to that of 'The Sons of the Desert' and the Sons of the Desert theme tune also plays during whilst they are getting their costumes on.
Yet the problem with 'Be Big' is that the gag of Stan trying to get the boot off Ollie lasts way too long. It takes up about half of the film and it's a three wheeler. This would have been a much better film had it had been a two wheeler. How many laughs can you possibly get from Stan trying to take a boot off Ollie? Apparently in some foreign language editions of this film, the boot gag goes on longer. That must have been borderline torture to watch.
'Be Big' had a great situation, but the over-use of material spoilt the effort. There was no need for it to be a three wheeler. It is little wonder when watching this film Stan Laurel was reluctant to make a 'Laurel & Hardy' feature film. 'Be Big' is a case of the Stan & Ollie resting on their laurels (ba dumb tish).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are the most famous comedy duo in history, and deservedly so, so I am happy to see any of their films. Ollie and Stan are packed for a trip to Atlantic City with their wives (Isabelle Keith and Anita Garvin). But then Ollie gets a phone call from their friend Cookie (Baldwin Cooke) who invites them to a surprise stag party, he originally refuses because of the wives, but he agrees when he hears of things to expect. So Ollie gets talcum powder on his face, and pretends to be very sick to fool the wives, and Stan as well, and they go without them. So the wives leave for the train station without the boys, and they start dressing in their special clothes, while the wives find out that they just missed the train, and go back. While dressing for the stag night, Ollie manages to get his boot stuck on his foot, only to realise that he has got Stan's pair, so there is a big struggle to get one boot off. They try pulling hard on the rocking chair, using the boot jack and a little hammering, manoeuvring on the fold away bed, and a final backwards fall into the bath. Eventually the wives return home, and the boys hide in the fold away bed, and when the wives know why, they shoot the boys (in the bed) through the window, crashing, and landing in the below pond. Also starring Charlie Hall as Bellboy. Filled with good slapstick and all classic comedy you want from a black and white film, it is an enjoyable film. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were number 7 on The Comedians' Comedian. Worth watching!
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