6.7/10
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3 user

Rolling Along (1930)

George Sidney and Charles Murray are both bus drivers who hate each other but then are assigned to the same bus for a wild ride with crazy passengers.

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Cast

Cast overview:
... Izzy
... Francis Patrick McGillicuddy O'Grady (as Charlie Murray)
... Drunk Bus Passenger
Roger Gray ... Bus Dispatcher
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Storyline

Charlie and George work for a bus line in Los Angeles. one morning, they are both assigned to the Wilshire Boulevard route after the regular drivers are sacked by their bullying boss. Charlie Drives and George collects the fares, but both are easily overwhelmed by a mob of crabby passengers, and a pushy trouble-making drunk. Charlie and George catch up with their mean boss, and chase him with the bus. All goes awry when the drunk gets control of the wheel, and a speeding, careening chase through the city ensues. Written by WesternOne1

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

1 October 1930 (USA)  »

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1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Happy Feet
(uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Played during the opening credits
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User Reviews

 
You're either on the bus or off the bus
7 May 2017 | by See all my reviews

This comedy short stars veteran performers Charles Murray and George Sidney, who worked together frequently. When this film was made they were also appearing in a series of feature length programmers known as The Cohens and the Kellys, which traded on the great popular success of the stage play "Abie's Irish Rose." The play established a familiar, crowd-pleasing template: an Irish dad and a Jewish dad are comically at odds. They trade barbs, squabble, and even duke it out, but eventually make peace. The film series began in 1926 during the silent era, and lasted well into the '30s.

In the opening minutes of Rolling Along it appears the time-tested formula has been adapted to a new setting. Murray and Sidney are bus drivers. Murray has applied for a transfer to different station, to get away from an annoying colleague—who, of course, is Sidney. Meanwhile, Sidney has also applied for a transfer. And, wouldn't you know it, they both wind up at the same place. It looks like the squabbling is set to continue, but instead, when the guys are bedeviled by a harsh supervisor, they quickly put their differences aside and focus their anger on him.

"Rolling Along" is the perfect title for this short, for most of it takes place on a moving bus as it rolls through the city streets. Murray is at the wheel, while Sidney collects fares and tries to maintain order among the passengers. (Good luck with that.) The guys must contend with a drunken man—who else but Arthur Housman?—an unruly kid, and, most of all, their own ineptitude. It's amazing these guys have kept their jobs as long as they have without any fatalities, because they barely seem to know what they're doing. Somehow the passengers take matters calmly when this duo turns their trip into an ordeal, at least until the crazed, "Abandon Ship!" finale.

While I didn't find Rolling Along hilariously funny I was never bored, and enjoyed myself even when the gags were predictable. There are some amusing moments along the way, and the visuals are impressive. In fact, this short was so skillfully shot and edited that this alone is a good reason to watch. Clearly, the crew worked on an actual moving bus, without relying on any process work or rear-screen projection. Through the bus windows you get a good look at the stores, office buildings and homes of 1930 Los Angeles. Historically minded viewers will have plenty to see. Where comedy is concerned, I enjoyed Mr. Housman's contributions most of all. He provides a running gag that builds to a closing punchline, which ends Rolling Along on an ironic note.


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