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Ben has a fare, the forbidding Miss Winterbottom. When his taxi won't start, Bill offers to push them. Ben's horn sticks, Bill thinks that's a signal to go faster, and in the ensuing chaos, they strike a manikin. Believing they've killed a person, they try to find a place to stash the body. That night, thinking they've found a cemetery, they enter the grounds of a girls' seminary, run by the same Miss Winterbottom, who's sure she witnessed manslaughter earlier in the day. She and the dummies - Ben, Bill, and the manikin - are bound to meet. Written by
Although Laurel and Hardy do not appear in this short, it shows what a unique and brilliant comedy team they were. The whole short seems tailor made for them. Even the macabre plot, which has Ben Blue and Billy Gilbert believing that they killed a man with their taxi is right up Laurel's alley. Much has been written about Laurel's genius as a gagman and the delicacy and depth of his screen character. Hardy seems to often get pushed to the background, and I must admit that I have often done this. But Oliver Hardy created a character who is human and lovable. We feel for him whenever Stan gets him into "a nice mess". (Stan and Oliver are so real and lovable that their characters sometimes counteract some of the more violent and surreal comedy.) I am not trying to imply that Blue and Gilbert are not fine comedians. Blue just reeks of Vaudeville experience and his specialty as an eccentric dancer makes him a graceful slapstick player. He is described in the short as goofy, and he plays this beautifully. Just the way he moves is hysterical. But his vocalizations are cartoonish when compared to Laurel's cry. Gilbert was an extremely versatile character comic who could play a bully, a villain, an idiot, or the unfortunate everyman. He was also adept at dialects. It's nice to see him playing a regular Joe in this short. He is likable, but does not milk the same kind of sympathy we would feel for Oliver Hardy in the same situation. Del Lord keeps the short moving fast. The only thing missing is the LeRoy Shield background music.
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