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.
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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