Watch OUR WIFE in the link above
Our Babe London weekend continues with Laurel and Hardy's OUR WIFE. Like with The Three Stooges, this would mark her only Laurel and Hardy appearance. Upon reviewing more and more of these films, both Stooges and Laurel and Hardy, I'm coming to the conclusion that films fall into three categories - 1.) films that would be funny no matter who you put into it because of the writing and gags that get even better by including superior comedians, 2.) films that are merely OK on their own that are enhanced by superior comedians, yet would be blase with average comedians, and 3.) films that flat out stink no matter what and can't be saved, like SELF MADE MAIDS. OUR WIFE is one of those films that falls into the second category, and SCRAMBLED BRAINS, minus the doll scene, falls into the first.
Really, there is no great gag in this film, no creative story, no nothing except watching the pleasure of great comedians do their thing. Oliver Hardy can only sing like Oliver Hardy as he prepares for his wedding and only Oliver Hardy can scream like Oliver Hardy as he sprays burning insect repellent down his throat. Stan Laurel, who to me is the highlight of this film, plays dumb better than anyone with his timing and facial expressions. The flat out confusion he displays in his dialogue scene with Blache Payson is wonderful, nobody else can play that scene like Stan, he's the perfect dimwit. James Finlayson's unique explosiveness is on display when he sees a picture of his future son in law, Babe London, in a non sexy way, is completely cute and sweet (I actually feel bad for her when she cries on the phone telling Ollie of their predicament), and I want to see her happy with Ollie, and Ben Turpin is, well, Ben Turpin. Completely forgotten today except by guys like me who review this stuff online every week, Ben Turpin was a huge star back in the day from working with Mack Sennett and supposedly commanded a hefty fee for appearances like this, his shtick was he was cross eyed, something that plays into the final gag of the film.
So basically, watch this one for the comic actors themselves, nothing memorable beyond that. The scene that attempts to be the comic setpiece, sticking plus sized Oliver Hardy and Babe London into a tiny vehicle, plays like one of those uncomfortable gags that simply lacks wit, but again, not at BERTH MARKS level.
Next week we discuss PARDON US, Laurel and Hardy's first feature! Not since The Marx Brothers have I reviewed a feature film, and unlike said team and The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy had a few years where they were mixing both shorts and features, so there will be some variety as far as that goes.