Watch THE HOOSE-GOW in the link above
The final talking Laurel and Hardy film released in the twenties, and from a technological standpoint, the camera seems to be a bit freer in this one than the previous talkies. The space where the prisoners do labor is pretty open and the shot where it pans up to show the height of the tree the guard is in feels like an advancement. The shorts and upcoming features will improve even more so as we get further into the thirties.
This feels like a prototypical eight out of ten for me. An eight film is a film I enjoy, more than the average piece of entertainment, but concerning the comedians involved, they've done better. There's nothing wrong with THE HOOSE-GOW, but it has no special character touches or situations that ring a bell with me and no comedy routines that stand as all time classic stuff. Then again, nothing bores me either, I am completely entertained throughout and find it pleasurable to watch Stan and Ollie in this one.
Best parts? The aforementioned tree part where the tree gets chopped down and lands near the prisoners is a great visual and displays their stupidity perfectly. Stan had the right idea going for the little piece of wood and I smile when Ollie admonishes him for not thinking bigger. In this case, Ollie thinks too big! I enjoy Stan and Ollie's little kicking battle at the beginning of the film that ends when larger cop Tiny Sanford gets kicked. I just love the timing and the reactions of each kick, hard to describe in writing.
As for the rice fight? Not bad at all, but again, a deal where this kind of thing has been done better in other films. Since this is a Stooge board, one of the two ladies with the governor is none other than Symona Boniface! She gets no lines, but when the other lady gets rice on her face, Symona does this giddy, maniacal laugh which very much reminds me on IN THE SWEET PIE AND PIE. Symona then gets a wet rice pice in the face herself! A shame she was underused in Hal Roach films, Columbia wins the battle as far as Symona usage. Oh, and the extended close up and reaction of Oliver after he gets a rice pie in the face is priceless. I'm glad the camera stays on him because Ollie sure takes advantage of it.
A fun but admittedly non descript Laurel and Hardy film, not the best kind to write about. There will be more classics coming up for sure, however, as next week, we start the thirties!