Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for a Laurel and Hardy afternoon

Last Sunday was the second Sunday of the month, and that means the monthly meeting of Midnight Patrol tent of the Sons of the Desert at the Niles Essanay Film Museum for a Laurel and Hardy talkie matinee. And, as usual, it's really a couple of L&H flicks and a couple of Our Gang flicks. Although they also hinted they'll be adding Charley Chase to the lineup, which just thrills me!

SCHOOL'S OUT (1930): Our Gang loves their teach, Mrs. Crabtree. So much so that they'd hate to lose her if she gets married. So they do everything possible to sabotage her boyfriend...except discovering that the man they're dissuading is actually her brother, not her boyfriend. Meanwhile, one of the kids is selling answers to a test...except that he got those answers out of a joke book. Oh, wait...let's not be politically correct here, we watch these movies as they were shown at the time--the "joke book" I mentioned is actually a book on minstrel show (i.e., blackface) bits.

BUSY BODIES (1933): A nearly plotless Laurel and Hardy short--Stan and Ollie get a job in a sawmill, and mayhem ensues. Very, very funny.

Then a brief intermission, and the third half of the show.

THE FIRST ROUND-UP (1934): Our gang goes camping. The littlest kids, who weren't even invited along, get along better than the big kids. Then night falls and things get scary--scarily funny!

THICKER THAN WATER (1935): Laurel and Hardy's final short film (they did exclusively features after, except for a cameo appearance in Charley Chase's ON THE WRONG TREK) and they're at the top of their game. Stan is a boarder in Ollie's home, but a mix-up with furniture money used to pay the rent gets them both in trouble. There are several clever camera tricks, where Laurel or Hardy drag the screen across during a "wipe" effect. But the real treat is the final scene, where after a botched blood transfusion they switch roles, with Laurel doing a Hardy impersonation and vice-versa. Awesome!

Total Running Time: 71 minutes
My Total Minutes: 333,420
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