The Hoose-Gow is something of an early talkie mess. The shots are paced for a silent movie, leaving long awkward pauses in the soundtrack. The short’s synchronized sound is a fledgling effort. The stock sounds, when used, are obvious.
Parrott’s direction is problematic throughout, with his main deficiency becomes lucid at the finish. The short ends in a food fight and Parrott goes out of his way to remind the audience where the food (a big mess of rice) is on the frame. His direction’s artless and boring, which means the performers need to make it work. And they don’t. How can they with the awkward pacing of the scene.
The lack of sound hurts Stan Laurel mostly–Oliver Hardy gets more talking, sure–but Laurel’s often left without sound for his nervous tick behavior.
Besides George Stevens’s truly wondrous photography, The Hoose-Gow has nothing to recommend it.
Directed by James Parrott; written by H.M. Walker; director of photography, George Stevens; edited by Richard C. Currier; produced by Hal Roach; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Starring Stan Laurel (Stan), Oliver Hardy (Ollie), Tiny Sandford (Warden), James Finlayson (Governor) and Leo Willis (Leo).
Posted in 1929, Black and White, Comedy, English, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Short, USA
Tagged George Stevens, H.M. Walker, Hal Roach, James Finlayson, James Parrott, Leo Willis, Oliver Hardy, Richard C. Currier, Stan Laurel, Tiny Sandford
Even though Saturday Afternoon is astoundingly bad on every expected level and a few unexpected ones, I guess I’m glad to know there were always terrible comedies. It’s not some recent invention, post-television. There was always tripe.
The story is pretty simple. Harry Langdon is a moron married to an evil witch of a wife, played by Alice Ward. There’s also this very interesting inference Ward has been around a little and picked Langdon because of his stupidity.
Oh, I forgot to mention, writers Arthur Ripley and Frank Capra slather on the misogyny (not just Ward) with a wide brush.
Except Langdon’s trying to step out on Ward and the audience is supposed to sympathize. But he’s so stupid, it’s impossible.
Technically, Langdon’s performance is bad. He doesn’t have any timing. His sidekick, Vernon Dent, is worse. Edwards’s direction goes beyond bad to incompetent.
Afternoon‘s an unbearable 1,800 seconds.
Directed by Harry Edwards; written by Arthur Ripley and Frank Capra; titles by Al Giebler; director of photography, William Williams; edited by William Hornbeck; produced by Mack Sennett; released by Pathé Exchange.
Starring Harry Langdon (Harry Higgins), Alice Ward (Mrs. Harry Higgins), Vernon Dent (Steve Smith), Ruth Hiatt (Pearl), Peggy Montgomery (Ruby) and Leo Willis (The Rival).
Posted in 1926, Black and White, Comedy, Pathé, Short, USA
Tagged Al Giebler, Alice Ward, Arthur Ripley, Frank Capra, Harry Edwards, Harry Langdon, Leo Willis, Mack Sennett, Peggy Montgomery, Ruth Hiatt, Vernon Dent, William Hornbeck, William Williams