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 names 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 76 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.
This one has three segments. In the first, they are ice sailing and fall into the water, where they float for a while, being tormented by seals and swordfish. Then they are rescued by a tramp steamer, where they are befriended by the cook and beaten up by the first officer. They hit port in Bilbao, where they rescue the captain's pretty niece, who seems to have been sold into the degrading life of a taxi dancer. On the way back, Madsen winds up boxing some big guy for a lot of money, with the usual amount of cheating and confusion -- Abbott and Costello seem to have borrowed a lot from this movie for IN THE NAVY.
All in all, a pleasant comedy, but it lacks the inventiveness of some of the movies that these two have been in and the range of characterization of others. Maybe I just don't enjoy boxing comedies. They always require too much obtuseness on the part of the other characters in the movie. Skip this one and come back to it if you really like the others.
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