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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 18, 2017, 10:47:38 PM »
Well, I just watched the silent version of UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE and thought I’d briefly share my thoughts. If I were to pick the silent film with the most annoying use of title cards, it would come down to this and THE PATSY with Marion Davies. I give them credit for trying to make certain theaters not feel left out, but when you start off depending so much on this new technology, the silent version is naturally going to come off as weaker. The phonograph is one example, along with the fight between the Kennedys, which feels very lacking without sound.

However, I do think Tony has a point when he says that some gags still work. Stuff like setting up the table, which doesn’t require sound to make it funny, still works fine and I also think that the whole “Mr. Hardy” and “Mrs. Kennedy” bit works better in this than the sound version, since it doesn’t feel as slow and drawn out. The only other difference besides the lack of sound is the editing. It’s edited to be a bit more fast-paced in order to both be more like a silent film and downplay the importance of the sound-based gags. For example, in the end of the sound version, when Laurel falls down the stairs, Hardy runs over and we hear what results from this, whereas in the silent version, it just ends with Laurel falling and we don’t see Hardy run over to the stairs.

I’m not going to give it a rating since it’s basically just a trimmed-down version of the sound version, but if I had to pick between the two, I’d still pick the sound version. The silent version is still alright though and is the version to pick if you can’t get past the sound quality in the other version.

It's too bad that the existing silent version of their followup, BERTH MARKS (1929) has never enjoyed home video release, as I've read that for some viewers, it plays better than the sound version, especially during the lengthy and tedious upper berth sequence (I'd suspect the inserted cards might actually break up some of the monotony, in that instance? ;)).

Monotonous title cards or the upper berth sequence from BERTH MARKS? Both are bad, but the title cards are the lesser of two evils.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Tony Bensley on October 18, 2017, 09:40:34 PM »
For me, the UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE (1929) silent version is a mixed bag.  While the gag involving Mrs. Hardy (Mae Busch) and the phonograph is all but ruined (An untimely inserted dialog card doesn't help, either!), in my opinion, some of the other gags work just as well, if not better in the silent.

For several decades, up until the late 1970s, no playable copies of the soundtrack were known to exist, which meant that UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE only appeared on early television as a silent.  Just ponder that fact for a moment!

I'm glad that both versions exist in some form!  It's too bad that the existing silent version of their followup, BERTH MARKS (1929) has never enjoyed home video release, as I've read that for some viewers, it plays better than the sound version, especially during the lengthy and tedious upper berth sequence (I'd suspect the inserted cards might actually break up some of the monotony, in that instance? ;)).

CHEERS!  [pie]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Tony Bensley on October 18, 2017, 08:58:25 PM »
Where can you find the silent version of the film?
The silent version is on one of the out of print LOST FILMS OF LAUREL AND HARDY DVD volumes, although I don't recall which volume, at the moment.

It's also currently available for viewing on YouTube:


CHEERS!  [pie]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by CurlyFan1934 on October 18, 2017, 07:48:01 PM »
      The silent version existed for movie theaters who at the time were not yet equipped to show sound films.  As far as I know, that's the only reason a silent version exists.  Think I'll watch that version now, should be interesting.
Where can you find the silent version of the film?
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Stooges DVD/VHS/Home Video / Re: JFK and the Three Stooges
« Last post by 7stooges on October 18, 2017, 10:15:59 AM »
Don't know about a DVD release, unless it's the one Amazon lists as a release from Passport, but the guy who had the idea for this edit posted it on YouTube.
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Stooges DVD/VHS/Home Video / JFK and the Three Stooges
« Last post by Mark The Shark on October 17, 2017, 07:22:55 AM »
Years ago I remember seeing a Stooge-related piece on an old Goodtimes VHS tape called "Blushing Bloopers." I laughed out loud the first time I saw this, but acknowledge that it may be considered in extremely bad taste. Essentially, someone intercut the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination with a clip from the Stooge short "Three Pests In A Mess" where the Stooges are wrestling with a rifle, the gun goes off, a stray bullet hits a mannequin and Moe yells, "you shot that guy!" "And killed him too," adds Larry. I could swear (or affirm) that I saw this on a DVD at some point, but I can't remember where. Can anyone confirm? Anyone even know what I'm talking about?
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Music That Sucks / Re: #9: Fleetwood Mac
« Last post by stoogerascalfan62 on October 16, 2017, 01:41:03 PM »
I've always wondered who did the vocals for "Go Your Own Way" and "Second Hand News" and one or two other tracks.
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Spaghetti and coffee again, same as Twice Two.  Was this a thing back then?  Blechhh.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Double Whoopee (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 15, 2017, 05:10:10 PM »
DOUBLE WHOOPEE is so close to being a 10 in my book. I love the design of the hotel and the energy of all the actors involved. There are lots of funny gags in this. Hardy taking Laurel’s coin, Laurel accidentally removing the guest’s shirt, the confrontation with the driver, Laurel and Hardy’s inconvenient timing with the elevator. These are all great gags and the short had me laughing throughout.

So why isn’t this a 10 for me? Maybe it’s the beginning. I do like the idea of Laurel and Hardy being mistaken for royalty, but I almost feel like this should have been a short on its own. I mean, come on: Stan as a prince and Ollie as his prime minister? The short practically writes itself. As it stands, though, it’s just a short gag that doesn’t go on for very long and just suddenly shifts its focus afterwards. The actual prince himself didn’t feel like he actually needed to be in the short, considering how he disappears a third of the way through only to come back for the closing gag. As much as I loved the elevator gag, just about any other actor could have filled that; and yes, I know he’s parodying von Stroheim, but that still doesn’t warrant his appearance.

Still, you’ve got to love that fight at the end. All the people that Laurel and Hardy antagonized throughout the short suddenly come together and start punching each other and giving each other the eye poke. It’s a wonderful payoff to a mostly funny short. Maybe it would have been better with sound, but I still enjoy it nonetheless.

9 out of 10
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 15, 2017, 04:05:33 PM »
UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE is a good enough sound debut for Laurel and Hardy. Starting with Laurel and Hardy’s speech, even from the beginning it was easy to see that they could talk clearly and would have no problem being understood. The actual sound quality itself, though, is a problem and Hardy’s voice seems unusually high, perhaps as a result of the quality of the microphones at the time.

Though I do like Laurel’s punchline at the end of the “Kennedy-Hardy” exchange, the rest of the routine is so slow and drawn out that it’s not nearly as effective as it could have been. I’m not expecting Marx Brothers-quality delivery, but at least something better than this. It doesn’t help that they try to repeat it later in the short.

What really made Laurel and Hardy thrive in the sound era, though, was that they continued to be a mainly visual gag team and for the most part they do continue to act in this manner. That sequence of Laurel and Hardy trying to set up dinner is timed very well and Laurel’s facial expressions are pretty good as well. Laurel and Hardy’s use of sound was often to enhance the visual nature of their films and while it’s still not perfect, they do have at least some idea of how to do this. They’re able to make funny sound gags out of both the oven and the fight between the Kennedys. Regarding the fight, we don’t see what happens, but the sound speaks for it instead. The payoff, of course, is seeing Kennedy when he returns to Hardy’s apartment. Both his appearance and expression make for a great gag that wouldn’t have been nearly as good without hearing how bad the fight was. Of course, I’ve got to give a shout-out to a fantastic supporting cast consisting of Kennedy, Mae Busch, and Thelma Todd.

UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE obviously could have been better, but surprisingly it actually is able to accomplish a lot as far as a sound experiment goes. If you can’t get past the obvious sound quality problems, I completely understand, but if you can get past that, it’s actually worth checking out. Not their best, but still a fun short regardless.

8 out of 10
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