Unbeknownst to Stanley and Oliver, their long-lost twin brothers, sailors Alfie and Bert are in town on shore leave carrying a valuable pearl ring entrusted to them by their ship's captain.... See full summary »
Stanley and Oliver are mousetrap salesmen hoping to strike it rich in Switzerland, but get swindled out of all their money by a cheesemaker. While working off their hotel debt, Oliver falls... See full summary »
A band of Gypsies are camped outside the walls of Count Arnheim's palace. Oliver's wife kidnaps the Count's daughter Arline, then leaves the child and runs off with her lover, Devilshoof. ... See full summary »
It's 1938, but Stan doesn't know the war is over; he's still patrolling the trenches in France, and shoots down a French aviator. Oliver sees his old chum's picture in the paper and goes to... See full summary »
Oliver's house is in a shambles after a wild party, and his wife is due home at noon. He calls Stanley to help him fix the place up, and the typical catastrophies ensue. Somehow, however, ... See full summary »
Oliver is heartbroken when he finds that Georgette, the inkeeper's daughter he's fallen in love with, is already married to dashing Foreign Legion officer Francois. To forget her, he joins ... See full summary »
It's Prohibition, and the boys wind up behind bars after Stan sells some of their home-brew beer to a policeman. In prison, Stan's loose tooth keeps getting him in trouble, because it sounds like he's giving everybody a rasp- berry. But it earns him the respect of The Tiger, a rough prisoner, and the boys manage to slip away during The Tiger's escape attempt. They disguise themselves in blackface and hide on a cotton plantation, but are recaptured when the warden happens by. Back in the big house, they find themselves in a hail of bullets, caught between the state militia and gun-toting prisoners, when The Tiger tries another escape. Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The boom mic, the lighting and the cameras are reflected on the warden's car as Stan and Ollie are fixing it. See more »
[Stan and Ollie disguised in black face]
They'll never recognize us in a 100 years. For once in your life you've hit up on a good idea.
A practical idea.
What about the tooth? The buzzer.
Oh, I fixed that too. I vulcanized it.
I vulcanized it. I put some chewing gum in there and it don't buzz any more.
You're actually using your brain. That's what comes from associating with me.
What do you mean associa...
Tut tut tut tut tut.
Tut tut tut tut?
See more »
PARDON US (Hal Roach/MGM, 1931), directed by James Parrott, introduces
the team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy to feature length comedy.
Having been paired in comedy shorts since their initial teaming in
1927, and continuing through 1935, Laurel and Hardy's participation in
features began with guest spots in musicals "The Hollywood Revue"
(1929) and "The Rogue Song" (1930). Working in shorts with a feature
per year before promoted directly to features by 1936, for PARDON US, a
parody on prison films that were the stir of the time, was in fact a
spoof on MGM's own success of THE BIG HOUSE (1930) starring Chester
Morris and Wallace Beery. Although a drama, Fox Studios accomplishment
in prison films followed with UP THE RIVER (1930) featuring Spencer
Tracy, Warren Hymer and a very young Humphrey Bogart. Being a comedy,
it lacked the humor PARDON US provided, mainly because the teaming of
Tracy and Hymer an attempt of copying the friendly rivals chemistry of
Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe of WHAT PRICE GLORY? (1926) fame, can't
compare to them nor Laurel and Hardy, nor did they ever try to be. Such
as it is, Laurel and Hardy's PARDON US is another fine mess they've
gotten themselves into, with fine results.
Opening title: "Mr. Hardy is a man of wonderful ideas ... so is Mr.
Laurel, as long as he doesn't try to think." Set during the Prohibition
era, Oliver has a get-rich-quick scheme about brewing beer. He tells
his partner, Stanley, "whatever we can't drink, we can sell." Next
scene finds the Laurel and Hardy handcuffed and escorted to prison
after Stanley sells their home made beer to a policeman he mistakes for
a streetcar conductor. After meeting with their warden (Wilfred Lucas)
who gives them a lecture on prison life, they are then placed in a cell
with four other convicts, with The Tiger (Walter Long) the leader and
toughest of the bunch. Because Stanley's loose molar causes him to make
a buzzing sound mistaken for what's commonly known as a "raspberry,"
which gets him into trouble, The Tiger takes it as a sign of courage,
making Stanley his immediate pal. With Ollie wanting to get in good
with the Tiger by doing the same thing, he isn't so fortunate. Going
through the daily routine of prison life, attending school and placed
into solitary confinement for unwittingly disrupting the class, Stan
and Ollie later take part in a prison break, and hide themselves from
the law by taking refuge in a Negro community disguised as black cotton
PARDON US may not be the best in the filmography of Laurel and Hardy,
but delivers with its full quota of laughs. The classroom sequence with
James Finlayson as the schoolmaster is a true highlight. School was
never like this, especially with prisoners beginning their school day
singing, "Good morning, dear teacher," along with the teacher asking
students questions and getting the answers not found in text books. For
the ten minute cotton field sequence where fugitives Stan and Ollie
appear in black-face, they, along with the other Negro workers, do some
singing while working in the fields to such tunes as "Hand Me Down,"
"Way Down in the Old Camp Ground," "Swing Along," "From Birmingham" and
"Down at the Farm." Oliver Hardy, a gifted singer in his own right,
solos during the evening's recreation period with "Lazy Moon." While
there's no secondary love interest to bog down the plot, June Marlowe,
as the warden's daughter, is the only female in the cast, with very
little to do, probably a victim of heavy film editing. Other Laurel and
Hardy stock players, aside from Walter Long's parody of Wallace Beery
from THE BIG HOUSE, and the hilarious Jimmy Finlayson, include Charles
Hall as The Dentist; and Stanley "Tiny" Sanford as one of the prison
guards. It should be noted that in the French language version of
PARDON US, Boris Karloff appears in place of Walter Long. Not that's
something to see!
A neglected comedy gem that would have been virtually forgotten had it
not been for television where Laurel and Hardy comedies were
rediscovered by a new generation with each passing decade since the
1950s. By the 1980s, home video such as Nostalgia Merchant, and cable
TV guaranteed further popularity for Stan and Ollie, where this and
their short subjects and features were presented, including American
Movie Classics (1994-1996), and Turner Classic Movies where PARDON US
premiered April 1, 2005 as part of its April Fools festival.
While prints of PARDON US were shown in years past in slightly choppy
55 minute format, the TCM print offers better picture quality at 64
minutes. Regardless of its pros and cons, PARDON US demonstrated
further that Laurel and hardy are capable of carrying on successfully
in feature length comedies, especially with such masterpieces as SONS
OF THE DESERT (1933), BABES IN TOYLAND (1934) and WAY OUT WEST (1937)
into their not so distant future. (**1/2)
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