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Offline metaldams

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Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
« on: February 08, 2015, 07:05:34 PM »
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  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017836/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2
    http://www.lordheath.com/index.php?p=1_47_Duck-Soup
    http://www.laurelandhardycentral.com/ducksoup.html





    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvchc4XYBYQ

    Watch the complete short in the link above.
         

          Our epic discussion of Laurel and Hardy films begins, and I have been looking forward to this for months!  As cool as The Marx Brothers are, their 13 films only gave us a few months worth of discussion.  Laurel and Hardy will last us well over a year, and I've proven with the Stooges I'm in this for the long haul, so if we don't get through these Laurel and Hardy films, something has either happened to this board or to me.  Nothing else will stop me, so let's rock 'n' roll.

          The beginnings of Laurel and Hardy are not very tidy.  A couple of weeks ago, I did a thread of mini reviews highlighting films both actors appear in that don't qualify as films where they are a team.  Hal Roach Studios had this "All-Star" series where a bunch of contracted players played in the same shorts.  They play more like ensemble vehicles than star vehicles for anyone.  Laurel and Hardy, as separate actors, appeared in a lot of these films together.  The film we're discussing this week, DUCK SOUP, if you go chronologically in that thread I created, would actually be the third film on that list!  Yeah, they actually teamed up that early, but it was a fluke. 

          Stan Laurel's father had a stage play this film was based off of, and the two lead comedy team roles, by pure coincidence, were Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  The next several films they both appeared in after this they were not a team.  Consider DUCK SOUP a happy accident.  What's crazier about this film's history is it was a lost film until 1974.  Nobody had any idea this was an actual Laurel and Hardy film until then.

          As you can see in the picture above, they were not dressed like the Laurel and Hardy we know and love this early on, but make no mistake, they're a team.  They dress like a couple of hobos, but they have some interactions that would prove to be very Laurel and Hardy like.  There's a bit earlier where Stan is laughing hysterically only for Ollie to raise a finger and calm him in a gentlemanly manner.  Also, the part where both turn around while sitting on the bench and see the fire ranger have them display very familiar expressions, especially Ollie's shy/embarrassed reaction.

          The film itself would later be remade in 1930 as ANOTHER FINE MESS.  Overall, I do prefer the talking version better.  What works best, other than the glimpses of early team characterizations mentioned above, is the outdoor bicycle chase scene.  Those wild chases through city streets are always a fun thing to watch in silent comedies, and this is no exception. 

          The main problem with DUCK SOUP is this kind of situational comedy works better in talkies than silents.  Take the Plumtree's who are trying to rent the house.  In this film, they are a bunch of faceless characters who move the plot along by title cards.  In the talking version, they are completely fleshed out characters played by Charles Gerard and Thelma Todd who are as important to the comedy as Stan and Ollie themselves.  Talking dialogue and slowly building the situation works best here.  All that great couch dialogue with Stan and Thelma Todd we all love is reduced here to one soulless title card about how many rooms exist in the house.  Ollie showing Mr. Plumtree the billiard room also works better with the leisurely pacing of the talkie as opposed to this silent version.  Hey, at least this short ends well, the sight of Stan and Ollie flailing around on the fire hose is perfect for a silent comedy like this.

          Overall, not a bad film, as the early chase is fun and we get embryonic glimpses of Stan and Ollie's characters coming along.  Far away from masterpieces that will happen in the future, but I'm glad this important film was discovered in '74.  Check your great grandmother's attic, maybe a print of HATS OFF will be there, or some extra BATTLE OF THE CENTURY stuff.  Stooge fans, we're spoiled.

    7/10
    « Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 08:03:53 PM by metaldams »

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 07:31:47 PM »
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  •  Hello, Metaldams! Oh, what is this you talk about? A Laurel and Hardy discussion???? I am so surprised!! No, seriously, all jokes aside, I'm glad that this is being created and am ready to talk about Do Detectives Think? already! So, let's get on with the Duck Soup discussion!
     Duck Soup is a very different approach to Laurel and Hardy. It's interesting how many L&H buffs think that Duck Soup has nothing to do with the teaming of Laurel and Hardy, while it's very important in this saga. They are perfectly teamed, and you can see little glimpses of what's later to come in the L&H movies.
     Syd Crossley was considered the part of what would later become Hardy's part, but no offense to Syd, but I'm glad he didn't!!!
     Here's the plot of the movie: L&H make their way into a huge mansion with no one inside, which they take advantage of when they have visitors. Then, the actual owner of the house comes, and disaster happens!
     Oliver definitely did not shave during the making of this movie, and it shows. A clear demonstration of it is shown in the picture Metal included in his review of Duck Soup he just posted a short while ago.
     I like the bike chase, and it reminds me of something The Keystone Kops made at Keystone. But, only a little. While the bike chase is a highlight, my favorite part has to be the freak ending at the end of the movie, which Stan Laurel probably employed. He loved writing freak endings, while Hal Roach did not like Laurel's freak endings.
     I like the remake Another Fine Mess made in 1930 better, but only because L&H established their characters better than they did in their first official movie together here, and because the supporting cast was much better in that one.
     Sorry about the short review. It's short, only because my memory's hazy from the last time I saw this movie. My rating is 7.5/10. Bye! See you next week for a new L&H review!
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #2 on: February 08, 2015, 07:42:14 PM »
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  • The copy that I'm commenting on is found on the Image Lost Films Vol 5. I do think that the musical score here is what I expect for a "silent" film-- elegant, punctuating the action without overpowering the battered, scratched and splicy images with super-stereophonic, surround sound, and spectacularly spacious orchestrations of a modern dynamic range. It is quaint, appropriate, and I like it!

    I would love to see more of the bike ride on a large screen. I can imagine what a thrill this must have been to contemporary audiences of the time. And how scary it must have been to ride on that prop bicycle rig down the hill.. Vertigo!

    The intertitles on this disc are just video generated text which can be a bit jarring when you go from film, to titles and back, and I can only guess that they were rewritten with knowledge of the boys' film legacy, a-la the "Oooooh!" from Hardy, as well as the "Do something to help me!" bits. Still, they are effective and carry the narrative nicely.

    You do get hints of their fantastic chemistry here, but Laurel and Hardy are still, more or less, separated and work largely on their own in many scenes. Their character personalities are there, though. Hardy, the quick to react and bossy one, and Stanley, the slow-witted dullard, more likely to follow, and bungle, than lead.

    Another Fine Mess has, for me, a better ending with that horrible animal skin on a tandem bike, and Pack Up Your Troubles better fleshes out the whole recruiting gag. Still, this short seems to move faster than Another Fine Mess and is, in its own way, just as satisfying, overall.

    In this film, Colonel Buckhot is scary, too! He makes Finlayson's version seem like duck soup in comparison.

    I do like the way Hardy says, "Do something to help meh!" later on in the talkies. It is like how kids talk, now, saying "meh" for "me", as in, "That film was good enough for meh"! Not to be confused with "meh" as a dismissal for anything one doesn't like, as in, "Pork chopsh, and appleshaush? I could do wishout appleshaush. Meh!"
    A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 07:49:55 PM »
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  • The copy that I'm commenting on is found on the Image Lost Films Vol 5. I do think that the musical score here is what I expect for a "silent" film-- elegant, punctuating the action without overpowering the battered, scratched and splicy images with super-stereophonic, surround sound, and spectacularly spacious orchestrations of a modern dynamic range. It is quaint, appropriate, and I like it!

    I would love to see more of the bike ride on a large screen. I can imagine what a thrill this must have been to contemporary audiences of the time. And how scary it must have been to ride on that prop bicycle rig down the hill.. Vertigo!

    The intertitles on this disc are just video generated text which can be a bit jarring when you go from film, to titles and back, and I can only guess that they were rewritten with knowledge of the boys' film legacy, a-la the "Oooooh!" from Hardy, as well as the "Do something to help me!" bits. Still, they are effective and carry the narrative nicely.

    You do get hints of their fantastic chemistry here, but Laurel and Hardy are still, more or less, separated and work largely on their own in many scenes. Their character personalities are there, though. Hardy, the quick to react and bossy one, and Stanley, the slow-witted dullard, more likely to follow, and bungle, than lead.

    Another Fine Mess has, for me, a better ending with that horrible animal skin on a tandem bike, and Pack Up Your Troubles better fleshes out the whole recruiting gag. Still, this short seems to move faster than Another Fine Mess and is, in its own way, just as satisfying, overall.

    In this film, Colonel Buckhot is scary, too! He makes Finlayson's version seem like duck soup in comparison.

    I do like the way Hardy says, "Do something to help meh!" later on in the talkies. It is like how kids talk, now, saying "meh" for "me", as in, "That film was good enough for meh"! Not to be confused with "meh" as a dismissal for anything one doesn't like, as in, "Pork chopsh, and appleshaush? I could do wishout appleshaush. Meh!"
    In most of the silent, for some weird reason, they hired creepy people. That's always been a mystery to me.
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 07:53:09 PM »
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  •       The guy who plays Colonel Buckshot in this film actually reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, and that may have been the intent.  I prefer Jimmy Finlayson to both James Marcus and Teddy Roosevelt.

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 07:59:17 PM »
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  •       The guy who plays Colonel Buckshot in this film actually reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, and that may have been the intent.  I prefer Jimmy Finlayson to both James Marcus and Teddy Roosevelt.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, I just.. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Okay. I've had my fun. I need to relax. On a different note, Metal, yeah, this is totally getting " zero replies" as you thought the silents were. Honestly, I have a feeling these are going to be more successful than THE BOYS' DISCUSSIONS!
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 08:09:26 PM »
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  •       The guy who plays Colonel Buckshot in this film actually reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, and that may have been the intent.  I prefer Jimmy Finlayson to both James Marcus and Teddy Roosevelt.
    I got more of a Yosemite Sam vibe from him. Just a larger than life, sound his barbaric yawp kind of blustering caracature. In short, he speaks loudly AND carries a big stick!
    A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?

    Offline luke795

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 01:42:47 AM »
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  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017836/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2




    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvchc4XYBYQ

    Watch the complete short in the link above.
         

          Our epic discussion of Laurel and Hardy films begins, and I have been looking forward to this for months!  As cool as The Marx Brothers are, their 13 films only gave us a few months worth of discussion.  Laurel and Hardy will last us well over a year, and I've proven with the Stooges I'm in this for the long haul, so if we don't get through these Laurel and Hardy films, something has either happened to this board or to me.  Nothing else will stop me, so let's rock 'n' roll.

          The beginnings of Laurel and Hardy are not very tidy.  A couple of weeks ago, I did a thread of mini reviews highlighting films both actors appear in that don't qualify as films where they are a team.  Hal Roach Studios had this "All-Star" series where a bunch of contracted players played in the same shorts.  They play more like ensemble vehicles than star vehicles for anyone.  Laurel and Hardy, as separate actors, appeared in a lot of these films together.  The film we're discussing this week, DUCK SOUP, if you go chronologically in that thread I created, would actually be the third film on that list!  Yeah, they actually teamed up that early, but it was a fluke. 

          Stan Laurel's father had a stage play this film was based off of, and the two lead comedy team roles, by pure coincidence, were Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  The next several films they both appeared in after this they were not a team.  Consider DUCK SOUP a happy accident.  What's crazier about this film's history is it was a lost film until 1974.  Nobody had any idea this was an actual Laurel and Hardy film until then.

          As you can see in the picture above, they were not dressed like the Laurel and Hardy we know and love this early on, but make no mistake, they're a team.  They dress like a couple of hobos, but they have some interactions that would prove to be very Laurel and Hardy like.  There's a bit earlier where Stan is laughing hysterically only for Ollie to raise a finger and calm him in a gentlemanly manner.  Also, the part where both turn around while sitting on the bench and see the fire ranger have them display very familiar expressions, especially Ollie's shy/embarrassed reaction.

          The film itself would later be remade in 1930 as ANOTHER FINE MESS.  Overall, I do prefer the talking version better.  What works best, other than the glimpses of early team characterizations mentioned above, is the outdoor bicycle chase scene.  Those wild chases through city streets are always a fun thing to watch in silent comedies, and this is no exception. 

          The main problem with DUCK SOUP is this kind of situational comedy works better in talkies than silents.  Take the Plumtree's who are trying to rent the house.  In this film, they are a bunch of faceless characters who move the plot along by title cards.  In the talking version, they are completely fleshed out characters played by Charles Gerard and Thelma Todd who are as important to the comedy as Stan and Ollie themselves.  Talking dialogue and slowly building the situation works best here.  All that great couch dialogue with Stan and Thelma Todd we all love is reduced here to one soulless title card about how many rooms exist in the house.  Ollie showing Mr. Plumtree the billiard room also works better with the leisurely pacing of the talkie as opposed to this silent version.  Hey, at least this short ends well, the sight of Stan and Ollie flailing around on the fire hose is perfect for a silent comedy like this.

          Overall, not a bad film, as the early chase is fun and we get embryonic glimpses of Stan and Ollie's characters coming along.  Far away from masterpieces that will happen in the future, but I'm glad this important film was discovered in '74.  Check your great grandmother's attic, maybe a print of HATS OFF will be there, or some extra BATTLE OF THE CENTURY stuff.  Stooge fans, we're spoiled.

    7/10

    What about THE ROGUE SONG?

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #8 on: February 09, 2015, 07:20:34 PM »
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  • What about THE ROGUE SONG?
    Honestly, THE ROGUE SONG is a lame attempt to try to have some comedy in an opera. From what it sounds like.  [focus]
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #9 on: February 09, 2015, 08:24:24 PM »
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  • I might find a way to throw ROGUE SONG into this, but not as a main entry.  I would love to see it, but not as much as HATS OFF or THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY complete.

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #10 on: February 10, 2015, 05:51:14 AM »
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  • I might find a way to throw ROGUE SONG into this, but not as a main entry.  I would love to see it, but not as much as HATS OFF or THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY complete.
    Yeah. ROGUE SONG looks good, but not great. But, I think that Duck Soup is a good way to start the L&H saga
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #11 on: February 15, 2015, 09:47:32 AM »
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  •  Sorry to double-post, Metal, but wasn't the DO DETECTIVES THINK? ( 1927 ) thread supposed to come out today? I haven't seen that movie yet, and will watch it for the first time when I go and review the episode!
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #12 on: February 15, 2015, 02:29:04 PM »
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  • Sorry to double-post, Metal, but wasn't the DO DETECTIVES THINK? ( 1927 ) thread supposed to come out today? I haven't seen that movie yet, and will watch it for the first time when I go and review the episode!

    Rule of thumb for the future - if it's Monday morning and the review is not up, we have a problem, but until then, it will happen.  I aim for Sunday night, and I'm typing this from a cell phone hanging with a friend who has never seen a Laurel and Hardy film in his life.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #13 on: June 27, 2015, 06:34:19 PM »
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  • This was interesting for its historical values, but it clearly wasn't their best work.  The forest ranger recruitment bit was brain damagingly stupid, but otherwise it was OK.  A bit too many sped up scenes for my liking.

    6/10
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Duck Soup (1927) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #14 on: April 10, 2017, 05:08:37 PM »
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  • I do find it interesting that they were teamed so early. Even though their characterizations aren't 100%, it is still fascinating to think how this accidental pairing later turned out as one of the greatest comedy teams ever!

    The short itself is alright. I do agree that the bicycle chase is easily the highlight of this short. After that, I do feel like the short kind of fell flat. Every now and then there was something funny like Hardy's reaction to finding out the man he's renting the house to is a police officer, but it does feel like it could have used a little more work. Hardy does boss Laurel around and it feels more like a teaming than the other shorts released around this time featuring them, but I do feel like an important aspect of their relationship is the fact that Laurel and Hardy clearly need each other in their lives (Laurel needs someone to follow while Hardy needs to feel important in another person's life) and I unfortunately don't see that kind of relationship here. However, on its own, it is still somewhat entertaining, even if it's not among their best work.

    6 out of 10