Among the horses stable hands Stanley and Oliver are tending is a thoroughbred named "Blue Boy." But when they overhear two men talking about a $5000 reward for the return of the stolen "...
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Among the horses stable hands Stanley and Oliver are tending is a thoroughbred named "Blue Boy." But when they overhear two men talking about a $5000 reward for the return of the stolen "Blue Boy," they miss the part about it being the painting, not the horse. They get the owner's address, though, and bring the horse along to claim the reward. They wonder at the rich man's instructions to put "Blue Boy" on the piano but, Oliver explains, "these millionaires are peculiar."Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
Director Leo McCarey got the inspiration for the movie's plot while sitting in his dentist's chair and seeing a copy of the famous "Blue Boy" painting on the dentist's wall. See more »
When the horse drinks from the fish tank it is only half full of water, but after chasing Stan the fish tank suddenly becomes full again. See more »
The available print has been composed from material lifted from different sources. The opening MGM credits are not the originals but a recreation using the ones from "Big Business" changing the title and certain names. Most of the film itself was lifted from elements used in the Robert Youngson compilation "Laurel & Hardy's Laughing Twenties" and for this reason the quality of the images constantly switches from excellent to mediocre, since the rest of the film was probably lifted from worn 16mm prints. See more »
Wrong Again was one of the last silent films to feature Laurel & Hardy, made at a time when the Hal Roach Studio was gearing up for 100% sound production, but there's nothing half-hearted or perfunctory about the effort put into this comedy. I feel it stands with the very best shorts the guys ever made: laugh-filled, clever, and unusual. And when we consider the high level of achievement they attained during this same period in such terrific late silents as That's My Wife and Big Business, and in their best early talkies such as Men O' War and Perfect Day, 1929 looks like the team's Golden Year. Wrong Again is perhaps not as well known as some of the others, at least in part because it doesn't readily lend itself to being excerpted; that is, the highlights don't work well when seen as brief clips. The plot is more convoluted than usual, although everything unfolds logically enough, given the misunderstanding at the heart of the story, yet the primary business at hand -- the placement of a horse upon a piano -- makes no sense when viewed out of context. In context however, when Stan and Ollie act in the sincere though erroneous belief that the horse's wealthy owner wants this done, their bizarre activity is oddly touching, surprisingly suspenseful, and genuinely funny.
Blue Boy the horse, by the way, appears calm, dignified, and self-possessed throughout. He earned his paycheck, whatever it was.
In addition to the unusually detailed plotting, Wrong Again relies more heavily on verbal humor via title cards than was typical for the team, but that's not a drawback in this case, for the dialog itself is witty and adds to the fun. The greater amount of verbiage could have been a result of the writers' anticipation of talkies looming ahead. We might wonder how this film would have differed if it had been made somewhat later with sound, but my feeling is that the silent screen was the ideal medium for this kind of 'naturalistic surrealism,' like Keaton's Sherlock Jr., which couldn't have been improved upon with sound, either. Viewing these silent images we relish the extended close-ups, first of Ollie, then of Stan, as they register shock, wonder, confusion, etc., concerning the task at hand. And it's worth mentioning that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy give first-rate performances here. Some viewers may not think of them as actors at all, but watch how they process each surprising piece of information they pick up along the way: their expressions reveal precisely what they're thinking. Clowns they were, but consummate actors first and foremost.
Two more things I like about Wrong Again: the supporting players are allotted a few gags of their own, and the biggest laughs are saved until the last couple of minutes. This comedy doesn't peter out, it ends on a high note with a perfect "topper." It's such a pleasure to watch real professionals do what they do best, when they were all working at the top of their game!
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