Age Old Male-Female Farce & their problems on Wedding Night !
WITH A ROSTER OF comedy shorts that was topped by such series as: LAUREL & HARDY, CHARLEY CHASE, OUR GANG (aka THE LITTLE RASCALS on TV)and the ZASU PITTS/PATSY KELLY/THELMA TODD, we often are not aware of the great number of Comedy Shorts Series featuring such great number of comedy series were filmed on the Hal Roach lot, featuring so many actors/actresses in the starring roles.
NOW, THANKS TO our friends at Turner Classic Movies, we are only now beginning to fully appreciate such a great variety.
TAKE FOR EXAMPLE today's celebrator, MRS. BARNACLE BILL (HAL ROACH/MGM, 1934). Here is a two reeler that has all of the same hallmarks of those previously mentioned and far more well known titles. Their opening theme and background/incidental themes are all familiar to us; as are the supporting players, sets and overall tone of it is also familiar.
PERHAPS BECAUSE WE have come to recognize all of these traits and indeed trademarks as exclusively belonging to those two, Stan & Ollie or to Spanky, Farina, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Butch, etc. . The result appears to be a flat reaction to such other, lesser known series as THE BOYFRIENDS, TAXI BOYS and any number of other films which are often just one shot and non-series; rendering them somehow as not funny or at least no as funny.
THESE THOUGHTS DID pass through our gray matter yesterday as we watched this MRS. BARNACKLE BILL.
WHEN WE WERE able to run It again today, we found it remarkable in that they (Director Lloyd French & the Roach Studios' team, were able to take what was essentially a one gag storyline and maker it quite enjoyable. The gag in question is that of the newlyweds and their struggle to have some privacy in order to, well, consummate their entrance into Holy Matrimony. They do seem to give new life to such an age old aspect of the battle of the sexes.
AND, IT WAS highly surprising to us as to just how sexy was the portrayal of the twists and turns that the blushing couple go through in attempting to be alone.
THE FILM FEATURES Eddie Foy, Jr. as the Sailor seeking shore leave from his shipmates, the wedding party, the police and just about everyone else. The amorous attitudes of both of the male and the female is quite emphatically shown, if not exactly explicate; as would; have to be in any contemporary production.
WE ARE ALSO treated to a brief appearance by a very young George "Spanky" McFarland and Billy Gilbert as a sailor sans any beard, mustache and "Dutch" accent.
NEXT TIME IT'S on, give it a try!
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