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Author Topic: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy  (Read 1445 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
« on: August 30, 2015, 07:21:57 PM »
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  • http://www.lordheath.com/index.php?p=1_176_Blotto
    http://www.laurelandhardycentral.com/blotto.html


    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2j9km6

    Watch BLOTTO in the link above

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2buvce_la-vida-nocturna_shortfilms

    Watch LA VIDA NOCTURNA in the link above



          I love BLOTTO, absolutely love it, and it is around this time that most agree Stan and Ollie were starting to get on a roll with their talking shorts.  This short feels crisper compared to all that comes before it and is one of their better domestic comedies.

          Stan Laurel really does a fine job in the beginning of this short as the husband trying to sneak out on his wife, played by Anita Garvin.  I always laugh at the excuse that he would like to go out because he needs fresh air, the delivery by Stan and the innocent excuse in of itself always gets a chuckle out of me.  The pacing around Stan does and the set up he makes as he delivers the letter to himself are all great to watch, he does a fine job here.  Of course, he gets to work off Anita Garvin in one of her all time great roles. Her angry, domineering wife delivery are great, but what really sets her apart is something I mentioned before....her face.  One of the most expressive faces you can imagine, the way her eyes bulge and her mouth pouts when she's in anger is truly wonderful, a shame she only has a few roles left with Stan and Ollie.  Also, the way she goes into the gun store and demands a gun - with bullets, is great as well.  Oliver is of course fantastic in the phone scene with Stan, forgetting his phone number to ask for much in the same way Shemp does in DOPEY DICKS, and speaking of Stooge stuff, the over the phone eye gouge is sort of pioneered.  No gouges, per se, but Stan and Ollie do perform slapstick on each other over the telephone here.

          The night club scene is a true classic.  Stan and Ollie's laughter feels completely natural and contagious, and I can't help laughing along with them.  The idea that they think they're drinking liquor and acting drunk when in reality it's some non alcoholic concoction the wife replaced it with makes their behavior even funnier.  Ollie's comment after drinking the false liquor, "You can certainly tell good liquor when you taste it," is another line that always gets a laugh from me, both in content and delivery.   Ms. Garvin's facial expressions, combined with the boys laughter, is an all-time favorite Laurel and Hardy moment for me.  The ending gag where the shot gun blows up the combustible car is a nice touch.

          My mood is not as chipper as it should be after reviewing this film because right after I watched BLOTTO, I watched the Spanish version.  In plain Spanish, it's mierda.  The laughing that feels so natural in the English version feels forced here because Stan and Ollie are forcing their simple dialogue before it instead of owning their dialogue.  Even the way earlier on Stan says "good-bye" has a distinct feel, in Spanish, the "adios" isn't as dynamic.  The night club scene, half the set up with the dialogue is taken away and they use lots of acts, like this dude dressed like a women doing some weird pixie routine and an attractive woman doing some snake dance to add time and take away from the boys.  No good.  The tragic Linda Laredo does a nice job in the Anita Garvin role.  She doesn't have Ms. Garvin's expressive face, but her fiery temper gives the role a new meaning.  Still, she's playing off actors who were meant to do a role like this in English.  Interesting experiment, and I will say one nice thing about the Spanish version.  Here, when Stan wants fresh air, Ms. Laredo puts a fan in his face, a nice add on gag.  Still, give me the English version ten times out of ten.

        Weak Spanish version aside, BLOTTO, in its English tongue its main stars actually speak, is a film old Metaldams has always enjoyed immensely.  I can certainly tell a good three reeler when I see one, and yes, I said three reels.  The boys, like Harold Lloyd with Roach before them, we're slowly expanding into longer formats.

    10/10

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #1 on: August 30, 2015, 11:09:19 PM »
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  •       Forgot to mention another added gag in the Spanish version.  Ollie takes his chair, just drenched in seltzer water, and moves it to another table as he gets a fresh chair.  A couple is shown going to the table with the wet chair.  A close up of the lady's backside is shown sitting in the chair, then the reaction of the lady. The lady?  Symona Boniface.  She does speak one brief line in Spanish.

    Offline Seamus

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 06:14:11 PM »
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  • Yeah, this one's their first stone-cold classic in the talkie era, IMO.  Love BLOTTO to bits.

    You're right on about Anita Garvin, she's legitimately terrifying in this.  Appropriately enough, I was about two glasses into a bottle of Cabernet while I was watching this (I wasn't drinking to synchronize myself with BLOTTO or anything, it's just standard operating procedure for my evening TV viewing).  I was riding a nice wine buzz by the time I got to the night club scene, laughing along with the boys, and no joke, when Garvin icily announces that they'd been drinking tea the whole time, I sobered up as instantly as L&H.  Anita had me feeling like I had a couple blasts from a shotgun coming to me.  I never felt more simpatico with Laurel and Hardy than I did at that moment.

    Speaking of the shotgun, I got a big laugh when they cut away momentarily from L&H yucking it up in the night club to show Garvin buying the weapon.  "How much for that big shotgun?'' "The one with the two barrels?"  :laugh:

    It's always fun watching Ollie's body language in these shorts, and he's on form in this one.  I love the bit during the phone booth scene when Ollie suddenly realizes he's talking to Stan's angry wife instead of Stan, and he starts tracing contrite circles on the receiver as he tries to convince her to let Stan out for the evening.  And later, as they're reacting to Anita's "cold tea" revelation in the night club, the way his fingers dance over the bottle as he resigns himself to his own foolishness gave me a chuckle.

    The laughing scene is just beautiful.  I'll never get tired of seeing it.  I love that discovering Stan's seething wife suddenly in their midst just makes them double-up even harder.  The scene is actually better the second time you see it, because you know they're working up to "We drank yer liquor!!!"  But they tease it with perfect timing.  First with the "You tell her, no YOU tell her" back and forth, then Stan asks Ollie for the empty bottle (the better to demonstrate that they did indeed drink her liquor), then Stan mockingly turns the bottle upside down at his wife to demonstrate that they drank every drop, before finally, at the peak of their hilarity, he announces proudly what they did.  One of the best comedy scenes.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 06:42:19 PM »
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  • Yeah, this one's their first stone-cold classic in the talkie era, IMO.  Love BLOTTO to bits.

    You're right on about Anita Garvin, she's legitimately terrifying in this.  Appropriately enough, I was about two glasses into a bottle of Cabernet while I was watching this (I wasn't drinking to synchronize myself with BLOTTO or anything, it's just standard operating procedure for my evening TV viewing).  I was riding a nice wine buzz by the time I got to the night club scene, laughing along with the boys, and no joke, when Garvin icily announces that they'd been drinking tea the whole time, I sobered up as instantly as L&H.  Anita had me feeling like I had a couple blasts from a shotgun coming to me.  I never felt more simpatico with Laurel and Hardy than I did at that moment.

    Speaking of the shotgun, I got a big laugh when they cut away momentarily from L&H yucking it up in the night club to show Garvin buying the weapon.  "How much for that big shotgun?'' "The one with the two barrels?"  :laugh:

    It's always fun watching Ollie's body language in these shorts, and he's on form in this one.  I love the bit during the phone booth scene when Ollie suddenly realizes he's talking to Stan's angry wife instead of Stan, and he starts tracing contrite circles on the receiver as he tries to convince her to let Stan out for the evening.  And later, as they're reacting to Anita's "cold tea" revelation in the night club, the way his fingers dance over the bottle as he resigns himself to his own foolishness gave me a chuckle.

    The laughing scene is just beautiful.  I'll never get tired of seeing it.  I love that discovering Stan's seething wife suddenly in their midst just makes them double-up even harder.  The scene is actually better the second time you see it, because you know they're working up to "We drank yer liquor!!!"  But they tease it with perfect timing.  First with the "You tell her, no YOU tell her" back and forth, then Stan asks Ollie for the empty bottle (the better to demonstrate that they did indeed drink her liquor), then Stan mockingly turns the bottle upside down at his wife to demonstrate that they drank every drop, before finally, at the peak of their hilarity, he announces proudly what they did.  One of the best comedy scenes.

    Seriously man, just you mentioning, "We drank yer liquor" had me laughing.  I can't stress enough how awesome that entire scene is.

    Offline Signor Spumoni

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #4 on: September 01, 2015, 02:58:12 PM »
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  • I can't say enough good things about "Blotto," beginning with the title.  It speaks volumes and it's funny.  I love Anita Garvin in this, particularly when she buys her gun. 

    Oliver's "phone booth" looks like a simple packing crate with a phone and a door screwed into the side.  The real treats are Stan's home, in its absolutely beautiful art deco style, and the nightclub. 

    Not only is the liquor fake, it sounds as if it would fell lesser men than L&H, a nauseous concoction!  I laugh a lot as L&H become drunkenly sentimental during "The Curse Of An Aching Heart," also during the times mentioned by Metal and Seamus. 


    Offline Signor Spumoni

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #5 on: September 01, 2015, 03:03:11 PM »
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  • Anita Garvin's reply to Stanley's assertion that he needs fresh air appears to have been cut from the English version.  Does anyone know why?  I like the joke and I think it added something to the short.  You can even see the fan blades still turning a bit as Stanley is sitting.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #6 on: March 13, 2016, 11:59:57 AM »
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  • This is a difficult short to review.  Normally, I hate this kind of plot, but the one-liners throughout are fantastic.  The opening scenes in the house are a bit odd, and it just seems ridiculous.  Anita's character seems to have no life of her own, so why doesn't Stan just say "Ollie invited me to the club opening"?  Such forcing of the plots is above and beyond aggravating for me, but the carrying of said awful plot is fantastic.  But the plot is such to make me avoid this short given a choice.  So, given these factors...

    8/10
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    Offline Seamus

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #7 on: March 13, 2016, 05:43:20 PM »
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  • The opening scenes in the house are a bit odd, and it just seems ridiculous.  Anita's character seems to have no life of her own, so why doesn't Stan just say "Ollie invited me to the club opening"?

    There are far-fetched elements in the plot, but this ain't one of them.  Overly-possessive spouses are real </X-files voice>.  Especially the ones who have no life of their own.  Mine isn't one of them, thank god, but I have friends whose spouses are such that I'd have to resort to Operation Telegram to get them out of the house to go catch a movie.

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Blotto (1930) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #8 on: November 11, 2017, 11:22:57 AM »
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  • BLOTTO is indeed a Laurel and Hardy classic, partly because of Anita Garvin, who is so good at expressing anger that you really get the feeling of the sense of danger that Laurel and Hardy will really be in, even before she buys the gun. Laurel and Hardy’s phone exchange is just fantastic and even though the people laughing at him does give me uncomfortable reminders of PUTTING PANTS ON PHILLIP, I’m willing to forgive it simply because the rest is so hilarious. Other highlights of the opening include Laurel going out the window in order to get the telegram as well as Hardy’s reaction to Garvin’s “Goodbye Mr. Hardy.” Oliver Hardy was one of the best when it came to reactions. I also love how polite he is to the operator when he has to find Stan’s address again, yet when he does find it he calls back suddenly much angrier.

    The night club scene is also done very well. Laurel, in particular, stands out during this, both with his crying at the song and his laughter when he sees Garvin. Their reaction when they find out it was cold tea is also priceless. Hardy’s mood sours so fast after hearing this. Of course, the ending with her shooting at the car is great as well.

    The Spanish equivalent of BLOTTO is LA VIDA NOCTURNA. As is expected with many of these foreign language versions, the line delivery from Laurel and Hardy feels very awkward and pales in comparison to the original. LA VIDA NOCTURNA contains both material exclusive to that version as well as footage that was cut from the original when it was reissued in 1937, which is of interest since only the reissue exists. You can tell by the editing sometimes which scenes were from the original English version. The fan gag is an example and I believe that Laurel writing the telegram may have also been cut, since the editing seems to make more sense in the Spanish version (in the English version, it constantly transitions between different shots of Garvin replacing the liquor while in the Spanish version it cross-cuts between this and Laurel writing the telegram). I also think Symona Boniface’s scene was in the original. It seems odd that they would hire her, a non-Spanish speaker, for this version only, and unlike the previous two examples, I can actually kind of understand why this scene was cut.

    Linda Loreno tries her best as Laurel’s wife in the Spanish version, but it’s just impossible to be as good as Anita Garvin, who completely owns the role in the original. The Spanish version particularly suffers during the night club scene, in which several acts were added to pad out the time. If you’re an Abbott and Costello fan, think of the night club sequences in HOLD THAT GHOST, which were clearly added at the last minute. This is Laurel and Hardy’s version of that, but much worse.

    In the end, I say you should just stick with the English version.

    English Version: 10 out of 10
    Spanish Version: 6 out of 10