Archive for March 11th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA 1929 20m) DVD1/2

O tannenbaum!

p  Hal Roach  d  James W.Horne, Leo McCarey  w  H.M.Walker, Leo McCarey  ph  Art Lloyd  ed  Richard Currier

Stan Laurel (himself), Oliver Hardy (himself), James Finlayson (3rd house owner), Tiny Sandford (policeman), Lyle Tayo (woman),

Stan and Ollie are probably the most beloved comedy duo in world cinema history, their films still regularly showing on BBC2 during holiday periods and video releases of their films still selling out amongst their fans.  However, only their talkies are seen on television these days, which has resulted in many people forgetting that they were also previously a hugely successful silent comedy duo and in these films their humour was different.  If I had to make a conscious decision to pick my favourite Laurel and Hardy silent it would be quite tough to choose, yet I feel that the silent film that showed them at their best was undoubtedly Big BusinessTwo Tars, in which they play sailors on leave, came very close (see separate listing), but Big Business edges it perhaps because its unconscious subtext still resonates today.

            Stan and Ollie have has a brainwave and have come up with another get rich quick plan; they aim to sell Christmas trees to Californians.  After a refusal from one woman, they attempt to win over a man with a “positively no peddlers or solicitors” sign by his door.  Ollie says “it’s personality that counts…” before being hit over the head twice with a hammer.  Forced to go elsewhere, they soon come across another customer who gets progressively more annoyed by their knocking and they retaliate in a progressively childish manner until they have destroyed the man’s house and garden and he has destroyed their trees and car. (more…)

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