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 »

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Storyline

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 "rejuvination formula." Cackling with glee, the Professor demonstrates his success for the boys, dropping a duckling into the vat and winding up with an egg. There's a somewhat different type of regression, however, when Stanley accidentally knocks Oliver into the formula. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

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Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

25 November 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alchimia  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The clouds of chimney soot which engulfs the boys and Jessup was actually powdered chocolate. See more »

Quotes

Professor Noodle: Three drops of frinacka...
Jessup: Fahlootuhhh!
Professor Noodle: [pouring in a good measure each time instead of just a "drop"] One... two... three!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Dance of the Cookoos (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Is this the home of Professor Noodle? We've come to sweep his chimney!"
4 February 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

This is an unusual Laurel & Hardy comedy with something of a split personality: at times it feels like two movies made in different styles spliced into a single short. Happily, each portion is funny in its own right, and the boys' seemingly effortless clowning carries the day and synthesizes the film's disparate elements into an entertaining whole. While I've never heard any Laurel & Hardy buff cite Dirty Work as an all-time favorite, it's nonetheless one that everybody seems to like.

Our story is set in the home of Professor Noodle, who represents one element of the story-line: a wildly over-the-top parody of Mad Scientist tales. This marks a rare venture into sci-fi territory for L&H; Abbott & Costello and The Three Stooges tangled with mad doctors far more often than Stan and Ollie. In any event, the professor is obsessed with creating a rejuvenating serum that can make people younger, while his sardonic butler, Jessup, expresses skepticism with rolled eyes and the occasional dry quip. Meanwhile, Stan and Ollie are chimney sweeps who show up at the Professor's home the very day he perfects his solution. "Their" portion of the film consists of characteristic (but first-rate) slapstick involving the chimney, the roof, shovels, and a number of unfortunate mishaps. If you don't enjoy watching the boys screw up a task then you probably won't like Dirty Work, but for fans of the team this movie is a feast. The highlight comes when Ollie plummets through the chimney, lands in the fireplace, and is then pummeled with bricks that fall onto his head with maddening, rhythmic precision, one by one. I also like the shot of Ollie tumbling off the roof into a greenhouse; the process work is so rudimentary I suspect it was something of an inside joke, in the way that W.C. Fields' movies would boast the world's worst rear projection screens.

The slapstick stuff is great fun, but it's the mad scientist motif that makes this film memorably offbeat, and two supporting players deserve a tip of the bowler hat: prolific character actor Lucien Littlefield is terrific as Professor Noodle, delivering his overripe lines with relish and cackling with glee, while Sam Adams is a stitch in the less showy role of Jessup the butler. As great as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were in their prime, it's always worth noting that their supporting players at the Hal Roach Studio gave their films an enormous boost. So too, usually, did the background music of Le Roy Shield, but Dirty Work marks a rare occasion from this period that a Roach comedy has no musical accompaniment at all after the opening credits. Mood music might have enhanced the proceedings, but the lack of it is no great flaw. This is a highly enjoyable comedy, a prime example of what made Laurel & Hardy so popular in their day -- and long beyond it.


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