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Laurel & Hardy's De Bote en Bote, or Los presidiarios, is as funny as its American counterpart-Pardon Us

8/10
Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
27 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the early days of talking pictures, in order to get the continued popularity of certain stars going after the silent era ended, (when all one had to do was remove the English intertitles and replace with foreign ones on film) those celebrities refilmed their sequences-one by one-in other languages with offscreen cue cards provided to read lines phonetically after the final American cut was previewed. So it was with Laurel & Hardy of which Pardon Us was one of them. This is the Spanish version of it called De Bote en Bote or Los presidiarios in Mexico. Among the differences: when Stan sees a couple of African-Americans in one cell, he doesn't call them Amos 'n' Andy. He also doesn't decide to name one of the bloodhounds in the plantation sequence "Oliver" to Hardy's consternation. While the "Back Home in Michagan" number with the white prisoners is translated, the songs by the Etude Ethiopian Chorus is still in English which includes Oliver Hardy's "Lazy Moon" which as I previously noted in Pardon Us is a marvelous performance. Also, the dentist sequence is planted much earlier and there's no James Finlayson teacher scene here. The biggest difference is the way the whole thing ends-instead of Stan & Ollie accidentally setting off a machine gun, there's a fire involving the second story of the warden's daughter's (June Marlowe as in the original) nearby house as the boys attempt to rescue her while also trying to avoid fellow prisoner The Tiger (Walter Long as in the original). Speaking of the latter, he pulls a knife in this version which later results in Stan poking him in the eyes with his fingers in a scene worthy of Moe Howard of The Three Stooges! Oh, and this is a real spoiler so don't read further if you don't want to know, instead of Stan upsetting the warden with an offer of selling beer, it ends with them out with Ollie saying he never wants to be reminded of the place before Stan shows him pictures of their incarceration (he had earlier wanted a couple of prints "if they turn out"!) making his partner push him aside. One more thing, instead of the usual gag introductory beginning title ("Mr. Hardy is a man of wonderful ideas-So is Mr. Laurel-As long as he doesn't try to think" on the U.S. print), one was made explaining the Prohibition ruling in America at the time. All in all, De Bote en Bote-or Los presidiarios-was quite a fascinating alternate look at Laurel & Hardy in another language. P.S. While the warden was played by Wilfred Lucas in the U.S. version, here he's played by Enrique Acosta with the same bloodthirsty anger.

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