With the police hot on their trail, Stan and Ollie attempt to change clothes in their getaway car, only to find themselves struggling to balance atop the girders of an unfinished skyscraper. Will they return to ground level in one piece?
Two escaped convicts (Laurel & Hardy) change clothes in the getaway car, but wind up wearing each other's pants. The rest of the film involves their trying to exchange pants, in alleys, in cabs and finally high above the street on the girders of a construction site.Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Released in silent and limited sound versions. See more »
The girder on which Stan and Ollie are struggling on has the number 1-113-4 painted on it upside down. in succeeding shots it changes to 1-814-6 the right way up before reverting back to 1-113-4 the right way up. See more »
The available print does not feature the original credits. It is based, in part, from a 1950 reissue by Film Classics, and the elements used by Robert Younson in his 1965 compilation "Laurel & Hardy's Laughing 20's". Although it still features the introductory roar of the MGM lion the credits were replaced and the name of H. M. Walker is misspelled. See more »
Laurel and Hardy are prison escapees, desperately trying to change out of their convict-attire to much less noticeable street clothes. In their frantic dressing, they realize they are wearing each others pants and, in their distracted haze, are chased by a policeman into a construction site, where they flee police-sight by riding an elevator to the top of an unfinished building. Twenty stories into the air, Laurel and Hardy are now stranded on the pillars of the building, frantically trying to switch trousers while avoiding the large drop to their death.
Such is the premise for Leo McCarey's comedy short Liberty, which adheres to the silent comedy principles of "thrill-comedies," which are comedies that bear a great deal of suspenseful elements intended on making the audiences laugh one minute before gasping the next. One of the most famous examples - one I also happened to review too - was Harold Lloyd's Never Weaken, from 1921, which Liberty seems to borrow quite a bit from. However, unlike the darker undertones Never Weaken provided, Liberty is much more carefree and comedic, as well as manic.
Its manic qualities are precisely what kept Laurel and Hardy in the business for so long, with Liberty coming later in the game for their silent shorts. If not for the incredible stunts of the short, which Laurel and Hardy performed at their own risk, the music and overall writing/directing pace unleashed by McCarey and H.M. Walker (who would later direct the Marx Brothers' superb comedic masterwork Duck Soup) make Liberty enough to be immersing on terms outside its contributions to a genre so significant in the early days of film.
Starring: Stan Laurel and Olive Hardy. Directed by: Leo McCarey.
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