One Wet Night is profoundly unfunny. It’s not terrible or anything, just not funny. It even might deserve points for having the idiot butler be a white guy (Bert Roach). But Roach is the butler to two more idiots, a couple played by Alice Howell and Neely Edwards. Wet is a great example why unsympathetic idiots don’t make good protagonists.
Howell gets top-billing in the short, but she has nothing to do. The only moment she gets to herself is the first scene. Then Wet switches between Roach and Edwards. Roach isn’t funny, but he’s genial. Edwards is neither.
Maybe if director Watson brought any personality to the short, it would go along a little: smoother. Unfortunately, every camera setup is mediocre (at best) and Watson can’t make the disaster humor funny.
One Wet Night plays like a spectacle of idiots, without giving them enough to do to amuse.
Written and directed by William Watson; released by Universal Pictures.
Starring Alice Howell (The Wife), Neely Edwards (The Husband), Bert Roach (The Butler) and Tiny Sandford (A Guest).
Posted in 1924, Black and White, Comedy, English, Not Recommended, Short, Universal Pictures, USA
Tagged Alice Howell, Bert Roach, Neely Edwards, Tiny Sandford, William Watson
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, Not Recommended, 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