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).
The Nightlife is an unfunny mess of asynchronous sound. If I’ve ever seen a Laurel and Hardy picture before, I can’t remember, and maybe starting off with one of their Spanish-language pictures was a bad idea. There’s no ambient sound for most of the short and it often feels like a silent comedy drug out to sound pacing.
I assume there isn’t a lot of dialogue–or ambient sound–because Laurel and Hardy didn’t actually speak Spanish (from what I’ve read); they used cue cards and their delivery makes Nightlife a hideous curiosity. Even Linda Loredo, who one assumes speaks Spanish, is terrible in her deliveries. Laurel and Hardy make it sound like they’ve never heard the language spoken.
Parrott’s direction is really weak; he and editor Richard C. Currier hold shots way too long. If there was any humor, they’d be draining it.
Nightlife‘s too lame for words.
Directed by James Parrott; written by Leo McCarey and 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) and Linda Loredo (Mrs. Laurel).
I’m wondering if all the Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly shorts–the team being one of Hal Roach’s attempts at a female Laurel and hardy–are as bad as The Tin Man. For a while, it seems like Todd is much worse than Kelly, but once Kelly’s acting opposite someone else… she’s much worse than Todd.
Tin Man features a mad scientist who hates women and wants to punish the gender. So he builds a robot (it looks like a bad Karloff Frankenstein monster Halloween costume) to destroy women. Setting it loose on Todd and Kelly proves a disaster… and the short ends with the scientist trying to save their lives.
Clarence Wilson isn’t terrible as the mad scientist, but making the murderous villain likable is just one of Tin Man‘s stupider moves.
Parrott’s direction and Jack Ogilvie’s editing are both awful.
It’s an atrocious two reels of film.
Directed by James Parrott; written by Jack Jevne and William H. Terhune; director of photography, Art Lloyd; edited by Jack Ogilvie; music by Leroy Shield; produced by Hal Roach; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Starring Thelma Todd (Miss Todd), Patsy Kelly (Miss Kelly), Matthew Betz (Blackie Burke), Clarence Wilson (Mad Scientist) and Billy Bletcher & Cy Slocum (The Tin Man).