Chimney sweeps Stanley and Oliver go about their job, reducing Professor Noodle's living room to a shambles in the process, while the mad doctor works in his laboratory perfecting his "... See full summary »
Stan and Ollie take a trip into the mountains ('the high multitude') so that Ollie can recover from gout. Bootleggers have dumped their moonshine in the well from which the boys sample ... 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 »
Ordered out of town by angry Judge Beaumont, vagrants Stanley and Oliver meet a congenial drunk who invites them to stay at his luxurious mansion. The drunk can't find his key, but the boys... See full summary »
Barbershop owners Stanley and Oliver both answer a personal ad from a rich widow seeking a husband. Oliver hides Stanley's reply and mails just his own. When Oliver receives a proposal of ... See full summary »
Stan and Ollie give evidence which convicts vicious gangster Butch. They plan to leave town and advertise for a traveling companion to share expenses. Butch's girl replies to the advert and... See full summary »
Novice policemen Stanley and Oliver, eating lunch in their patrol car, nearly have their spare tire stolen by a thief and his sassy partner. They then miss the broadcast address of a ... See full summary »
Mrs. Hardy is irate that her husband Oliver spends more time with his friend Stanley than with her. Oliver decides to adopt a baby, hoping that it will keep his wife occupied so that he and... See full summary »
Door-to-door greeting card salesmen Stanley and Oliver call upon Mrs. Pierre Gustave, a woman distraught over her husband's neglect. They agree to her plan to reclaim her husband's ... See full summary »
It's a typical day at the woodshop for Stanley and Oliver, getting jammed in windows, puncturing water pipes, getting stuck to glue brushes, having tiffs with their co-workers, and finally getting their car cut in half in a giant band-saw. Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The sawmill where Laurel and Hardy work is equipped with precision saws and other high-accuracy motorized lumber-machining equipment, so there would not likely have been any reason/occasion for The Boys to have needed to use "primitive" woodworking tools like a manual jack-plane for simple "non technical" carpentry tasks like merely smoothing an ordinary flat board. They would only have needed hand-tools for more delicate "hands-on" or "people-skills-requiring" tasks like lightly shaving/sanding the parts of the window-frame assembly to allow the sashes to slide up and down smoothly. See more »
[Oliver pulls his car up behind Charlie as he's picking up boards. Oliver blows his car horn, scaring Charlie into flinging the boards high into the air and dropping them. Oliver is very amused]
Watta yuh think you're tryin' to do?
Can't you take a little joke?
[laughs and flutters his necktie derisively at Charlie]
See more »
Some Laurel & Hardy buffs prefer their domestic comedies, the ones where Stan & Ollie have wives and usually try to deceive them in some way-- with scant success, of course --but for hardcore fans there's nothing like watching the boys take on a construction project. Give them a basic task such as building a house, fixing a boat, or putting a radio antenna on the roof, a task requiring a certain amount of physical dexterity and skill, and you're in for twenty minutes of pure slapstick performed by experts. Busy Bodies is a two-reel masterpiece of this comic style, happily unencumbered with any unnecessary plot complications, largely because there's no plot. There's hardly any dialog, either. Stan Laurel doesn't speak at all until the halfway point, and utters only a few carefully chosen words even then. This film seems to have been an attempt to translate the team's silent comedy style into a talkie format, enhanced with cleverly chosen sound effects and the delightful background music of Le Roy Shield. I've always loved the opening gag, as the boys drive to work enjoying a familiar Shield melody ("Smile When the Raindrops Fall") in their car. When the song ends they pull over, then Stan gets out and opens the hood, revealing a phonograph with a record that's reached the end of a side. Stan pulls out another record from their collection, carefully wipes it off with his hand, puts it on and drops the needle. The jaunty tune resumes, and they drive on. Long before the days of tape decks or i-Pods, the boys found a way to supply their own cheery soundtrack music!
Once the guys arrive at the sawmill where they work, however, the mood changes. They must deal with co-workers, and, worse, with their assigned tasks. Viewers expecting an actual story to develop (or hoping a young romantic couple will step in and sing a few songs) will wait in vain, for the rest of the movie consists entirely of Stan & Ollie's increasing messy, heroic, yet ultimately futile attempt to put in a day's work. Stan is apparently supposed to plane some lumber while Ollie adjusts a window frame, but nothing constructive is accomplished. Distractions abound. Props at hand include saws, hammers, nails, two-by-fours, blue-prints for Boulder Dam, and Ollie's severed necktie. A conflict develops with a co-worker (the invaluable Charlie Hall), and then further conflict erupts between Stan & Ollie themselves. A paintbrush is forcibly glued to Ollie's chin, and must be removed. Finally Ollie loses his temper and yanks the entire sink out of the wall. It slams into him and flings him backward. Consequently he is sucked into the building's disposal chute, hurled through its maze-like passageways, and violently ejected from the building in a kind of frenzied re-birthing experience, also receiving a brisk spanking along the way. But the movie's not quite over yet: after all this the boys lose their jobs, and must depart. The memorable closing gag employs a lethal-looking band-saw to impressive effect.
The climax of Busy Bodies was excerpted for one of the Laurel & Hardy compilation films that came out in the 1960s, thus when I was a kid I was lucky enough to see the finale of this film on a big screen in a theater, where it was enjoyed by a loudly appreciative audience. I'll never forget the laughs that greeted Ollie's wild ride through the disposal chute. In the '70s I acquired a Blackhawk print of the film and still run it now and then, and it still makes me laugh. Laurel & Hardy never received the same degree of respect from critics and film scholars that some of their peers were granted, but for my money they were as great as any of the comedians of their era. And considering the competition, that's saying something.
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