Watch FROM SOUP TO NUTS in the link above
I've seen every Laurel and Hardy film over the years, but don't have all of them almost memorized like The Three Stooges. It is a pleasant surprise, watching these in order every week, how consistently classic these shorts are. FROM SOUP TO NUTS is no exception. The plot to this one is again simple. Anita Garvin and Tiny Sanford are a married couple who run into money. The former wants to flaunt their new wealth while the latter wants to remain humble. Think Bess Flowers and Bud Jamison in TASSELS IN THE AIR, it's the same set up. Anyway, the couple is having a high society party, Stan and Ollie are the hired waiters, and slapstick ensues. Simple enough.
There are a couple reoccurring gags in this film I would like to touch upon. One of them is Oliver Hardy falling face first into a cake. This happens three times! The first time is great because as Oliver lies on the ground humiliated with cake frosting all over him, the camera just stays on him for what seems like the longest time. This works well because the physical sight of Ollie covered in cake is really quite humorous. The second time, Ollie slips on a banana peel. Stan sees the banana peel on the ground but is too dumb to warn Ollie, so he merely covers his eyes as Ollie gets a cake bath a second time. A very funny set up there. The third time is the finale where Ms. Garvin slaps Ollie and Ollie falls into a cake.
The other reoccurring gag is Anita Garvin's head gear thing a ma bob falling over her eyes and her trying to get that grape. She tries so hard to maintain dignity yet always fails to do so. Anita Garvin is one of my all-time favorites. She was unusual in that she had this amazingly beautiful face, yet her face somehow looked perfect for slapstick comedy. It's hard to describe, and it's a very unusual combination, but Ms. Garvin had it. Such an expressive face on her, when Gloria Swanson talks about how actors had their faces to work with back in her day in SUNSET BLVD., Anita Garvin is the perfect example. Anita Garvin also had a really nice butt. In my old age, I'm trying to be less crass, but I bring this up because there's an actual gag in the film that involves, you know, Ms. Garvin having a really nice butt. Stan and Ollie know this, stare at it, and they even mention the fact to her husband. Of course, they don't realize this is her husband they're mentioning it too! I think we can file this gag under "pre-code."
Other highlights of this short are Ollie telling Stan it's impolite to wear a hat indoors. Stan takes this to heart, as while he's the kitchen, he tries to make the chef take his chef's hat off. This leads to a glorious battle of grown men breaking plates over their heads. There is a point in the film where Stan aggressively tells all the guests to sit down. Not the kind of thing Stan would do later on, but worth mentioning. I also must mention how great it is when Ms. Garvin tells Stan to serve the salad undressed, he does just what she says. The way the camera pans in on Stan in his underwear is hysterical, it almost feels like the way they focus on the monster in the introduction to FRANKENSTEIN. Really dramatic.
Again, another great short, a pure pleasure to watch.
PS: Directed by.......Edgar Kennedy!