Stan Laurel stars in ORANGES AND LEMONS, direted by George Jeske for Pathé Exchange.

Oranges and Lemons (1923, George Jeske)

Jeske isn’t much of a director, which I feel weird saying as Oranges and Lemons has a really masterfully done sequence. Jeske holds the shot as Stan Laurel keeps confusing Eddie Baker, who’s pursuing him. It’s brilliant stuff, as Laurel is a great physical comedian.

The directing problems come immediately following, when Laurel enters a warehouse and Jeske never does a proper establishing shot. It might be a budgetary constraint, but it really hurts the short. Except, of course, Laurel is there to make it work.

And Oranges does succeed. It doesn’t have a story–Laurel’s a lazy employee at a poorly run orchard. It follows his morning through a couple assignments (though lazy, he is industrious–Laurel doesn’t pass a single task without attempting it). He gets in trouble with his boss, chaos ensues.

The short succeeds specifically due to Laurel’s presence. It’s impossible to imagine Oranges without him.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by George Jeske; director of photography, Frank Young; produced by Hal Roach; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Stan Laurel (Sunkist), Katherine Grant (Little Valencia) and Eddie Baker (Orange Blossom).

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