Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two Tars

Meripojat maissa. US 1929. PC: Hal Roach Studios. Po: Hal Roach. Supervising director: Leo McCarey. D: James Parrott. Ass D.: Lloyd French. Story: Leo McCarey. Titles: H.M. Walker. DP: George Stevens. ED: Richard C. Currier. Property master: Harry Black. Cars: Dale Schrum. Cast: Stan Laurel (Stan), Oliver Hardy (Ollie), Edgar Kennedy (motorist), Thelma Hill (brunette), Ruby Blaine (blonde). Silent, 1,33:1, 21 min. A print of the Kirchmedia restored edition with original soundtrack (music and sound effects) viewed at Cinema Orion, 18 Nov 2010. - Revisited a Laurel and Hardy that I have rarely seen, most recently on dvd, now for the first time on screen, in an ok print with a familiar-sounding soundtrack. - It starts with documentary footage on "our navy", and then we see two of "our boys" enjoying their day off in a rented car. They date two girls, Thelma and Rubie, who are fighting a bubble gum vending machine. Follows a little catastrophe as a prelude to a big one. There is a traffic jam, and from small harm a large disaster follows, thanks to our friends. My favourite scene is the one where all the horribly battered and disfigured cars sway past the policeman, and Stan and Ollie try in vain to suppress their laughter. Even the policeman's motorcycle gets flattened by a passing steamroller. The finale takes place in a railway tunnel. - Again, it's not the actions themselves (and crude they may often be) but the finesse of the gestures, expressions and reactions that Stan and Ollie keep inventing that elevates this to mastery.

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