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Laurel & Hardy were in their prime when they appeared in Scram!, a
terrific two-reel comedy that's funny from the start and builds to an
uproarious finale of drunken mayhem. This is the one where Stan and
Ollie are vagrants, ordered to leave town by an ornery judge (the
magnificently irascible Rychard Cramer) who harbors a special hatred
for drunks. When the boys come to the assistance of an intoxicated
playboy (the supremely sozzled Arthur Housman) who has lost his car
keys he rewards them with an invitation to his home, then takes them to
the wrong address. Through a series of unfortunate misunderstandings
the guys wind up sporting silk pajamas in the boudoir of the lady of
the house (Vivien Oakland) and proceed to get her quite merrily
intoxicated, only to learn, belatedly but in the most unmistakable
fashion, that they are in the judge's house and the lady is his wife.
Mayhem ensures, but it's strangely "innocent" mayhem where the guys are
Sounds nightmarish, doesn't it? Actually it's hilarious, really one of the best Laurel & Hardy shorts of all. Something I admire about their characters is their sincerity, the sense that they're just being themselves and never straining for a laugh. I love the way Ollie politely addresses the judge as "Your Highness," just as I love the way Stan always blurts out precisely the wrong thing at times like this. And it's amusing as ever to watch as the boys try to break into a house the hard way, in their time-honored fashion. But as wonderful as they are, a few words should be said on behalf of the supporting players in these comedies. Some of the key members of the stock company (i.e. Jimmy Finalyson, Mae Busch, Charlie Hall, etc.) appear frequently and often deserve co-star status, but the three main supporting players seen here, while not so well known, each make a major contribution toward the success of this short. Rychard Cramer is so scary in his brief appearance as the judge in the opening scene that his angry words seem to echo long after he's gone -- foreshadowing his return, which plays like something out of a Noir melodrama or even a horror movie. The perpetually hammered Arthur Housman is given a rare opportunity to perform an extended version of his drunk routine, and more than holds his own opposite Stan & Ollie. But it's Vivien Oakland who gets the best sequence, a prolonged and hilariously pointless laughing jag with the boys that makes the boudoir finale the highlight of the film. This scene is a guaranteed laugh-provoker that defies the viewer NOT to join in the hilarity.
At a time when most of their contemporaries were still struggling to adjust to the new technology of talkies, silent comedy vets Laurel & Hardy had already mastered the new medium and were funnier than ever. Their voices suited their screen characters perfectly, their comedy was enhanced by the delightfully bouncy music of Le Roy Shield and Marvin Hatley, and the supporting roles were filled by a crew of distinctive, gifted players who look like they're having the times of their lives. All these years after the films were made, that sense of fun still comes across.
The sight of Stan and Ollie trying to help a drunk retrieve his keys
from under a large grating on the sidewalk, is without a doubt one of
the funniest visual moments in any of their movies. The great Arthur
Housman, once again plays the screen drunk, just as brilliantly as he
did in "Our Relations" and "The Fixer Uppers". It may lag a little in
the mid section, but it soon makes it up in the end.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone. A film for all the family and only 20 minutes long. The film is seventy three years old and is as funny now as it always was. That's what make Laurel & Hardy so good, their comedy is timeless. The perfect film to introduce someone to the lovable duo.
Convicted of vagrancy, Laurel and Hardy are give one hour to get out of town
or be jailed. On their way out of town they meet a drunk who has lost his
car keys. They help him find them and he takes them to his house, but given
the trouble they have getting inside, is it even his house?
As usual Stan and Oliver are homeless and workless. Here they are forced out of a town but think they've landed on their feet when a drunk takes them into his luxury home. This plot gives the leads only really one type of humour to concentrate on physical routines. That isn't a major problem as they are pretty funny is never exactly setting the world on fire.
However I always liked their dialogue together as it is often hilarious and well written to make them both look foolish. Here there is none of this worth speaking of. Both the leads do well and there's no doubting their abilities when it comes to falling over in amusing way.
Overall this is funny if you like L&H's physical stuff which I do, but I did feel like the job was only half done when their was none of their usual banter.
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Sound format: Mono
(Black and white - Short film)
Ordered out of town by an aggressive judge (Richard Cramer), two vagrants (Laurel and Hardy) become involved with a drunken motorist (Arthur Housman) who invites them home. Unfortunately, he takes them to the wrong house...
Brilliantly constructed short film, directed by Raymond McCarey and scripted by H.M. Walker, in which L&H fall foul of the same judge on two separate occasions, with hilarious (and painful) consequences. Cast alongside some of the best comic actors of the day (Housman is note-perfect in his signature role, while Cramer plays it straight as the no-nonsense judge), L&H ply their trade with consummate skill, and the scene in which co-star Vivien Oakland gets blind drunk and sets off a chain reaction of uproarious laughter is a joy. Wonderful stuff, a highlight of L&H's distinguished career.
I have seen all the films of L & H sometimes over and over. There are
some weak shorts, but this is the one I keep coming back to to watch
repeatedly. It is, in MHO, one of a handful of the best of their work
It is brilliantly planned, masterfully timed, perfectly acted, and expertly edited. I often tell folks who are not familiar with the boys to watch this one as their introduction to the boys. It is THAT funny.
One of my favorite things about it is watching perpetually drunk Arthur Houseman utter what appear to be ad-libs that almost crack up Stan and Babe.
The boys have stood up Arthur and are going through his pockets trying to find the key to his house. He has a lot of pockets to go through. After a moment he tells Ollie, "Someday I'm gonna have all my pockets indexed." Cracks me up every time.
Vivian Okland is unforgettable as the judge's wife.
It was a sign of the boys generosity as actors that allows supporting players to get as many laughs as they get. They are the stars but not the only funny people in this.
This is a "vintage" Stan and Ollie film in more than one sense of the
word as four of the five main characters in the story are innebriated
for a large portion of the proceedings.
Token Hollywood drunk Arthur Houseman (an...ahem...method actor) is at his career best, and the boys are also on form. Watch for Stan's bewildered reply to the judge's question: "On what grounds?". It's a classic.
Richard Cramer is truly menacing as the judge, and the scenes featuring the judge's wife (played by Vivien Oakland) made me laugh out loud along with the characters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are in court for sleeping on the park benches. Judge Beaumont tells them they have one hour to get out of town and never let him set eyes on them again. Stan asks if that meant they could go back to sleep on the park bench. Outside, a drunk, Arthur Housman, drops his car key down the sewer grating. Stan and Ollie stop to help him. Stan get's an idea and using Arthur's umbrella and some chewing gum, he got the key. But it resulted in Stan and Arthur falling down the sewer. A police man stops by. Arthur blew a raspberry at him and the cop hit Ollie on the head. But they jump in Arthur's car and drive to his house, supposidly.
What Stan and Ollie didn't know is that this wasn't his house. Arthur says he lost the key to the house, so Stan and Ollie try getting in through the window. Inside, they meet the wife of the owner of the house. She get's drunk off Arthur's alcohol and she, Stan and Ollie get into trouble, until her husband, Judge Beaumont, returns home. He glares angrily at Ollie and Stan, who switches off the light just as chaos ensues. Scram! is celebrating it's 70th anniversary this year! It's a pretty good film! Arthur Housman would return to play a stumbling drunk two years later in The Live Ghost; Rychard Cramer plays the judge. He always plays a bad guy in Laurel & Hardy shorts. I guess because he looks like one, but in reality he was quite friendly. So if you can find it, I recommend Scram! Happy 70th anniversary!
*** 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. Stan and Ollie are charged with vagrancy (sleeping on a park bench), and Judge Beaumont (Richard Cramer) tells them to get out of town, as they could ruin the chance to win a civic prize, and he doesn't want to see them again. On their way they bump into a Drunk (Arthur Housman) who has lost his car key down the drain, and after the fuss of getting it back he takes him to a big house. The Drunk has also lost his door key, and while the boys try to climb through the open window, he falls through the already open front door. After so much fuss, the boys eventually ring the door bell so the Drunk lets them in, and while they go to the bedroom ready to sleep, the house butler comes out to tell the Drunk it isn't his house, so he leaves. The boys in pyjamas go to find the Drunk, and the woman of the house, Mrs. Beaumont (Vivien Oakland), sees them and faints, and they give her alcohol looking like water from a jug, replaced by the Drunk. She gets drunk very quickly, and starts laughing with the boys after blowing a raspberry, and then wants to dance. Then the real man of the house, her husband, the Judge comes home to see them laughing and drinking on the bed, and the film ends with the light going off with crash noises. Filled with wonderful slapstick and all classic comedy you could want from a black and white film, it is an enjoyable film. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were number 7 on The Comedians' Comedian. Very good!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kicked out of the city for sleeping on a park bench, Laurel and Hardy end up aiding a drunk (Arthur Housman) who lost his car keys. They aide him and accept the offer to stay in his mansion. The only problem is that they end up in the wrong home, and when the drunk leaves after being discovered by that home's butler, Laurel and Hardy are left behind with the mistress of the house who thinks they are with her husband, a tea totaler. The wife (Vivien Oakland), now accidentally drunk (and laughing like a mule) keeps em' around, resulting in a laugh fest, a wrestle and an encounter with the judge (Richard Cramer) who sentenced them. This is another adult entry in the series of shorts that goes to some pretty dark places, giving the judge a rather sinister close-up and a let down conclusion.
The Laurel and Hardy short Scram! feels less like a new skit from the
lovable and timeless comedy duo but a highlight reel of their most
famous moments from all of their shorts. This particular short is
packed with all the zaniness you can predict going into a Laurel and
Hardy film, from repeated stumbles, difficulty getting sneaking into
places, and a seriously deranged mix-up serving as the cherry on the
Scram! opens with Laurel and Hardy being ordered out of town by a judge after finding them sleeping on a park bench. In the process of leaving town, they run into a congenial drunk (Arthur Housman, who plays a wildly convincing drunk) who invites them back to his home to spend the night after they retrieved his key when it fell into a sewer. Despite being incoherent, the man manages to drive the two of them to the home of Mrs. Beaumont (Vivien Oakland), mistaking it for his own home. While the drunk mindlessly stands outside searching for the key to his home, Laurel and Hardy barge in through the window, being greeted with Mrs. Beaumont and proceeding to get drunk themselves when they inform her they know her husband, who happens to really be someone Laurel and Hardy have already found themselves acquainted with.
Scram! is all too familiar for a dedicated Laurel and Hardy fan, especially one who has seen their admittedly short range of physical comedy. All the aforementioned tropes make an appearance here or there, and their geniality could easily be mistaken for genuine humor. The moral of this particular short is just because you recognize the sight-gag or the ploy doesn't mean it's necessarily funny. If anything, the funniest part of the film is how much it got away with in 1932: drunk driving, breaking and entering, philandering, and two men in the same bed with one woman. Did the Motion Picture Association of America fall asleep when looking over the contents of the film making sure it was in line with the Hays Code?
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Arthur Housman, Vivien Oakland, and Richard Cramer. Directed by: Ray McCarey.
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