In lieu of back wages, the defunct circus that Stanley and Oliver have been working for pay them off with a flea circus and a trained chimpanzee named "Ethel." Unfortunately, that's also the name of their landlord's wife, and after the boys sneak the ape into their room, the jealous man draws some unfortunate conclusions when he overhears Oliver ordering Ethel to "come to bed." Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is not amongst my favourites of the many Laurel and Hardy shorts I have seen, but it was a perfectly passable short subject.
James Finlayson as ever is a boon of a presence; making a brilliant foil to the pair. Laurel and Hardy are as wonderful as ever, though possibly a slight weariness is evident; the antics here being so very similar to many other of their shorts. What especially enervates this film are the early, possibly all too brief, sequences in the circus; to see, largely in atmospheric long shot, the great duo comically spoiling the planned circus gags, only to create new ones in their bungling, is a wonderful spectacle. The spatial atmosphere given by a visible audience - though amusingly small
is quite a refreshing dichotomy; the performance-within-a-performance air
of this section is beautiful to watch.
Yes, things slip towards far more laboured chimp-related gags, but this is professional stuff; Laurel and Hardy executing the comedy finely. It does tend towards going through the motions, but, cripes, this is the funniest and most loved double act of all, on screen for our benefit. And thus, it's a film more laudable than so many.
Rating:- *** 1/2/*****
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