Young Wilbur Wart gets a letter from a man who may be his rich uncle. It seems the uncle is dying and looking for heirs to leave his fortune to. On his way to his uncle's place, he gets ... See full summary »
Young Wilbur Wart gets a letter from a man who may be his rich uncle. It seems the uncle is dying and looking for heirs to leave his fortune to. On his way to his uncle's place, he gets into a fight with a man who turns out to be his long-lost cousin Harry, who is also on his way to the uncle's. Wilbur and Harry both plot to screw the other out of the inheritance, but it turns out that there may be more to the uncle than there seems to be. Written by
"Close Relations" is one of the six short comedies which comprise Roscoe Arbuckle's entire talking-film career. He's ably assisted in this film by Shemp Howard, the once and future Stooge, riding on a pogo stick.
The plot involves a rivalry between two branches of Arbuckle's family. Arbuckle's clan are named the Warts and the rival clan are named the Moles. Charles Judels, as Arbuckle's uncle, does a tasteless monologue in which he describes how to tell the difference between a Wart and a Mole.
Even after his long exile from the screen, Arbuckle's agility is amazing. In this film, he does a very funny pratfall routine with a concertina attached to his body. Very good use of sound effects here.
This film has a running gag featuring the punchline "Nuts!" which will probably baffle modern viewers. In the 1930s, the slang word "nuts!" was considered mildly obscene, and so it was a sure laugh-getter. (The Hays Office production code specifically banned the word "nuts!" from film scripts, unless it clearly referred to insanity.) Several films of the early '30s came up with contrived ways to get the word "nuts" past the censors: "Close Relations" is one such film; "Broadway Through a Keyhole" was another.
"Close Relations" is hilarious, except for that Wart-versus-Mole routine. The ending is unexpected, and quite funny. I'll rate this short 8 out of 10.
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