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Towed in a Hole
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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Priceless

Author: Stephen Bailey (diana@bailey6770.fsnet.co.uk) from Lincoln England
23 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Contains SPOILERS) I wish Stan & Ollie could've lived to see how much their work is appreciated, even after all these years. I watched "Towed In A Hole" today with a Russian friend who'd (amazingly) never heard of L&H - and she laughed her head off! The plot of this episode is devilishly simple, yet brilliantly executed as only Laurel & Hardy could do it. They have a small (very small) business selling fish, until Stan suggests they could double their profits by catching the fish they sell. All they need to do is buy an old boat and 'do it up'. I guess anyone even vaguely familiar with the genius of Stan and Ollie can guess what happens :) There are 2 specific scenes which are SO outstanding they carry Towed In A Hole into the premier league of Laurel & Hardy's output. The first is Oliver Hardy singing a public commercial for their 'business' in the old "negro spiritual" style. The second (and this is one of the finest things they ever did) involves Stan locked in the boat's cabin and trapping his head between the bottom of the mast and the hull. In panic he grabs a saw and starts sawing through it. meanwhile, Ollie is on a ladder at the top of the mast painting it. Hardy hears the sawing and his 'puzzled' expression, just before the inevitable " Oh-Ooohh-CRASH!" is the essence of what has made them icons of comedy for 3/4 of a century. Wonderful!

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Cinema's greatest comic actors at their absolute peak

10/10
Author: david-bartlett from United Kingdom
28 June 2006

Every single detail and frame of this film is a work of art. With only Laurel and Hardy in the cast, it is the most beautiful 18 minutes you could ever wish to spend watching a movie. Every gag, every nuance, every movement, every moment is timed and placed beautifully. I can only wonder if Stan and Babe had any idea when they were making this masterpiece quite what they were achieving... Is it possible to recognise timeless perfection in the midst of the process without spoiling the result? Whatever, this film could almost bring tears to the eyes it is so charming, so satisfying, so quietly side-splitting, and such a magnificent example of screen comedy at its best. Nothing comes better than this. Ever.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Very funny short – a favourite of mine

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
8 July 2003

Laurel and Hardy are travelling fishmongers, selling door to door on the street. Laurel has the idea to cut out the middle man and catch the fish themselves – hence turning pure profit on every fish they sell. They buy an old boat and begin to do it up – with predictable consequences.

From the opening conversation where Hardy asks Laurel to repeat his sensible and good idea and Laurel proceeds to muddle himself (`if we catch the fish, the people wouldn't have to pay and….') I was sold on this short film. The action follows this banter with a fantastic mix of physical humour and the good old double take stuff they do so well. Here the two (styles) really compliment each other – the highlight being when Laurel causes Hardy to become covered in paint and there is an eternity of looks, double takes and pauses before he asks `why did you put that stuff on your face'!

The stuff around the boat is all good and both men do really good work with their looks and their bodies. Hardy shows his class while leaning on the mast of the boat, hears sawing, looks to camera, looks down towards the sound, looks to camera then goes!

Overall this short has everything in it that I love about Laurel and Hardy and should be immediately seen by anyone who is wondering what all the fuss is about!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Silly but also very funny

Author: Dave French from United Kingdom
4 August 1999

This is probably my all time fav. L&H short. right from the start with the call of 'Fresh Fish' (toot), this is a 'hoot'. As always, Stan has an idea this time expressed as only Stan can. 'If we had a boat .....'. The bit that makes me howl is when Olly is painting the rudder and Stan is scrubbing the deck and finds the tiller in the way. The pause before 'what did you put that stuff on your face for' is agony!. As for Stan's method of getting his head out from behind the mast... See this one now.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

In my view best Laurel and Hardy short

Author: Tony Horrocks from London
11 June 2001

It has a laugh a minute and has some very sophisticated humour. Two fabulous bits stand out - one where Stan is washing the anchor chain and 'wrings' it into a bucket of water. The other is where Stan has been confined to the cabin and plays noughts and crosses with himself. In the finale, there is this wonderful scene where Stan and Ollie watch helplessly as their newly painted boat careers down the road under sail power and smashes into a million pieces. The film does not have too many set pieces but contains loads of small, exquisite gags which will have you doubling up with laughter.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Another Good Idea gone to Fine Mess

10/10
Author: John T. Ryan (redryan64@hotmail.com) from United States
25 February 2015

THE SELF SUFFICIENCY of the L & H team is presented here in the best example possible. The slow and deliberate method of working a gag to its maximum was very handily put to good use in these shorts. Whereas most all other comedians opted for an array of fast paced comic situations, being rapidly dispatched at sometimes break-neck pace, L & H worked each slowly and deliberately doing their own reactions to whatever. (As a true antithesis to this Hal Roach/Leo Mc Carey style, see some of comedian Larry Semon's silent screen work.)_

ANOTHER SINGULARLY UNIQUE feature of this short subject is that it is all Stan & Ollie. Other than the brief appearance of Billy Gilbert at the beginning, the boys have this one all to themselves. They play out their shtick against the backdrop of their seagoing reclamation project. The now familiar routines of Laurel messing up Hardy's work, Hardy's reaction, stare at the camera and his slow burn are meticulously combined with Laurel's crying to great effect.

ALONG WITH SUCH other titles as ME AND MY PAL. OUR WIFE and THE MUSIC BOX, we have what we like to call "quintessential Laurel & Hardy".

AS IS THE norm, all is lost in the end; bu we know that there will be other moments to come.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

excellent Laurel and Hardy fare

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
21 February 2006

This film is highly reminiscent of another Laurel and Hardy short, HELP MATES. They both concern this clumsy and dopey duo trying to fix something. In HELP MATES, it was home repair and here it is fixing up an old sailboat. In fact, now that I think about it, it's pretty much the same film all over again with only some minor differences. This, though, is not that bad, as regardless it is still very entertaining and funny. I particularly liked the paintbrush goatee that Ollie is sporting late in the movie after a mishap. And the ending, is pretty much as you'd expect--a total disaster. This is pure Laurel and Hardy and, like their best material, NOT set to music or a contrived plot--just simple stupidness--the way Laurel and Hardy are meant to be seen.

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"United we stand...."

10/10
Author: prichards12345 from United Kingdom
15 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ollie's dignified speech, appealing to Stan's common humanity after a hilarious water fight (in which Ollie is constantly hosed down) is just wonderful. And then after shaking Stan's hand he slips on a bar of soap and plummets into a muddy pool. And of course, you just know it's going to happen. That's what makes it so hilarious!

This is the boat-fixing up short; apart from a brief appearance by Billy Gilbert this is Stan and Ollie slowly building sight gag on sight gag in that unique way of theirs, until it's just irresistible. I'm still giggling over the sight of Stan tied to a barrel with two black eyes to keep him out of mischief, and immediately on being freed sending the boat to complete destruction with his first suggestion! What a brilliant comic actor Hardy was. Never been beaten. And Stan of course, a gag-creating genius. Their chemistry, timing and sheer invention has never been bettered.

This is a truly great short, and it's not alone in the L & H canon for being so that's for sure!

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Something fishy

6/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
11 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is not a comment on this film's quality though. It's another decent Laurel and Hardy short film that runs for 20 minutes. In here the boys sell fish, but get the idea to catch it as well in order to save money. So what do you need? That's right: a boat. And if you imagine the chaos that may ensue if these two gentlemen try to build their own boat, you imagine exactly what is happening in this one here. The two protagonists are around the age of 40 and this was already made during the sound era. However, it is still in black-and-white as almost all films were over 80 years ago. The humor is nice and it seems Laurel suffers even more than he usually does in this one here. All in all, I would say that this is not among the duo's best and not among their worst either. A solid watch and George Marshall did a good job directing here given the fact that he has not really worked with the legendary Stan and Ollie a lot. Thumbs up for this one.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

How Not to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying!

Author: (robocoptng986127@aol.com) from U.S.A
4 September 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

[CONTAINS SPOILERS]

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy drive around town trying to sell fish. Crabs are their specialty. They are having little or no luck. Stan suggests they catch their own fish so they wouldn't have to pay for them and whoever they sold them too, it would be clear profit. Ollie likes the idea and asks Stan to repeat it, so Stan "repeats" what he just said: if they caught their own fish, whoever they sold it to wouldn't have to pay for it and the profits would go to the fish. Ollie suggests they buy a boat, so they go to Joe's junk yard and buy a small run-down vessel. Their efforts are often unsuccessful. Ollie becomes soaking wet, Stan get's a black eye (from Ollie), and Ollie is painted when trying to paint the rudder. But soon the boat is all fixed up, but won't move. Stan suggests putting up the sail, which causes the boat (and their car) to crash and be destroyed. Oh well, it was a nice idea while it lasted.

A pretty good Laurel and Hardy short. Except for Billy Gilbert's small cameo, it's basically the only Laurel & Hardy short to feature just Laurel & Hardy, unless you count Brats. So if you can find it, I recommend Towed in a Hole, which will be celebrating it's 70th anniversary this year!

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