Unbeknownst to Stanley and Oliver, their long-lost twin brothers, sailors Alfie and Bert are in town on shore leave carrying a valuable pearl ring entrusted to them by their ship's captain.... See full summary »
Unbeknownst to Stanley and Oliver, their long-lost twin brothers, sailors Alfie and Bert are in town on shore leave carrying a valuable pearl ring entrusted to them by their ship's captain. All four get involved in multiple cases of mistaken identity as a gang of hoodlums try to steal the ring Stanley and Oliver wind up with their feet in cement, about to be dumped into the harbor. Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
Is this the most violent Laurel and Hardy film ever made? Surprisingly, while Stan and Ollie's twin brothers Bert and Alf are described as "bad lads", it's the originals that are the most malicious, in this sadistic yet very funny all the same Laurel and Hardy showcase. Stan gets to headbutt a barman and set fire to another man's chest hair, while Ollie, for his part, sticks a lightbulb in a man's mouth (James Finlayson, a regular stooge for the boys in 35 movies) then punches him in the face so he swallows the broken glass. Their supposedly rogue twins, meanwhile, merely try to save money and treat some ladies to a meal. In order to distinguish between the twins (other than the level of violence they display), musical cues are used a sea shanty for the sailors Bert and Alf, and the Laurel and Hardy theme for Stan and Ollie.
There are lots of great sustained jokes in this movie, such as Ollie's broken spectacles, and the ultimate in a sustained gag is the mistaken identities between the sets of twins. This joke is taken so far towards its logical conclusion that the duos don't discover each other's existence until the final ninety seconds of film. This causes the plot to be far more imaginative, whereas a lesser film would have had greater reliance on the two pairs meeting. Arthur Housman is also good as the drunk, a role he seemed to make a career out of playing in many of his 159 film roles. It was a also a role he reprised with Laurel and Hardy, having played both "drunk" and "drunk sailor" in Scram!, The Live Ghost and The Fixer Uppers.
The direction by Harry Lachman is well above average for the pair. Some scenes are shot through a fish tank or the back of a bed's headrail, and there are lots of aerial shots. The split screen technology, while used sparingly, was extremely proficient for the time. One thing of note is that a couple of the sequences, such as the crushed in the telephone box scene, are slightly similar to sight gags in the Marx Brothers film of the previous year, A Night At The Opera. It's not that obvious, and may just be coincidence, but I'd rather hoped that Laurel and Hardy had inspired the Marx Brothers, and not the other way around. But it's probably funnier here anyway, particularly poor old Stan with a boot on his neck. Finally, one of the concluding scenes Stan crying hysterically as he rolls around on concrete boots is a real winner.
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