Carl Schenstrøm and Harald Madsen were the leading pair of 'Fat and Skinny' comedians in the movie world until Laurel and Hardy came along. While their characters never shed their movie-comic trappings -- ill fitting costumes, weird mustaches and bad hats -- they remained enormously popular and continued making films until 1940 -- two years after their first and best director, Lau Lauritzen Sr. died and two years before Schenstrom, the skinny one died.
Kinowelt, which has had success with its Laurel & Hardy DVD set has produced a seven-DVD set of the comedies, under the name "Pat und Patachon", the name they were known under in Germany. I have issues. The versions are cut down (this one is 48 minutes instead of the original run time of 95 minutes) and a voice over tells you what is going on -- in German, which, alas, I do not speak. These are apparently TV versions made in the late 1960s or early 1970s and it is difficult to judge what is missing -- although a lot of the continuity is definitely lost.
In this one, they play a couple of small time performers with ambitions. Schenstrom imagines himself a dancer; Madsen is a dab hand with any aimed weapon, including bow, gun, slingshot and spit. They have a cabaret act in which Madsen shoots an apple off Schenstrom's head. Interestingly, in character, they remind me of Abbott and Costello, although Schenstrom is not a straight man. The situations are well constructed, the gags are well performed and if the movie seems episodic with the occasional sudden twist, well, chopping out half the movie can't have helped. Still, this is a strong and interesting comedy and worth a look for any fan of silent -- or indeed, any sort of film -- comedy.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this