Saturday, May 08, 2021

Pardon Us (1931) Laurel & Hardy

Laurel and Hardy's first feature-length comedy. They play a couple of "beer barons" during Prohibition who are arrested for selling alcohol to a policeman ("I thought he was a streetcar conductor," Stan says).

The episodic structure feels very much like a series of shorts patched together to an hour's running time. Familiar faces from the Laurel and Hardy stock company pop up in various roles: Walter Long, Tiny Sandford, James Finlayson, and Wilfred Lucas in a memorable turn as the fiery prison warden.

There's a prison "schoolroom" scene with Professor Finlayson teaching basic spelling and math to the convicts that is quite funny for the incongruity of the hardened inmates behaving like naughty schoolkids.

There is also some great slapstick in the final prison break scene, including a hilarious bit with a hose and a ladder as the Boys attempt to rescue the warden's daughter from a burning building. This scene wasn't in previous versions of the film that I saw years ago on VHS and TV, but it seems to have been re-instated some time in the last decade.

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