Laurel & Hardy take on each other this time around
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 6 of "The Lost Films of Laurel & Hardy" continues to mix classic shorts with lesser works of historical note. In "That's My Wife," Hardy's wife has left him in disgust right before his rich uncle arrives and reminds him that he will inherit everything as long as he is happily married. The only logical thing to do is to have Laurel dress up as Mrs. Hardy. The happy couple take the uncle out for a nice time at a night club, where eventually the truth is revealed and a bowl of soup adds insult to injury. Of all the many times Stan ended up in a dress, this is the best of the bunch. Despite its title "Flying Elephants" (which has to do with a sight gag) this 1928 Hal Roach-Pathe film directed by Frank is the famous one set in the Stone Age where the King has declared all bachelors must get married or face banishment and/or death! Both Stan and Ollie are interested in the same woman, the daughter of James Finlayson, who has a toothache as an additional concern. Might be the only Laurel & Hardy film where one of the boys kills the other. "Putting Pants on Philip," directed in 1927 by Clyde Bruckman, has Hardy as J. Piedmont Mumblethunder who greets Laurel as Philip, his dimwitted nephew from Scotland. The entire point here is to replace Philip's kilt with a pair of pants and stop him from chasing every flapper in sight. This is another rare one where the boys work against each other. "45 Minutes From Hollywood" is the 1926 Hal Roach two-reeler in which the boys both appear for the first time, although not together. Actually, Stan is made up with a big moustache to look just like Jimmy Finlayson. You will see every contract player on note in the Roach stable except for Charley Chase. Chase and Hardy team in the 1926 short "Crazy Like a Fox," while Laurel is represented by another 1926 film, "The Soilers" in the solo efforts tacked on at the end of this DVD."
Excellent compilation of classic comedies.
jimkis | Evansville, IN USA | 05/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD entry is heaven for fans of old time silent comedy. The three L&H shorts, though lesser-known are are brilliant in their way, especially "That's My Wife." "Flying Elephants" is a bit lame, due to the funny caveman bit seeming rather trite nowadays, but the Boys do their best with it. "Putting Pants on Philip" is always funny due to the superb comic acting of Stan and Ollie in roles other than their traditional personnas. "45 Minutes from Hollywood" is the weakest entry here, though it features Stan and Ollie in small -- but thankless -- roles. The bonus short "The Way of All Pants" is not only a nice surprise, but a little gem starring Charley Chase. Too bad it's only one reel (one suspects it was originally a two-reeler, judging from the jumpiness of it). Content of this disc rates the highest accolades, due to the stars. Quality-wise, most of the source material is fairly decent -- my main complaint is that the same old music track is repeated endlessly and gets annoying quickly. There has to be something else available.
Otherwise, this is a must for the L&H fan."
A lot of fun
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though there are only two L&H films proper on this compilation, they're among their funniest silent output and two of my own personal favorites of their silent shorts. I'll admit it did take me awhile to really warm up to their silent work, since like most modern-day fans I came to them through their sound shorts and was very familiar with how uncannily their voices matched their personalities and all of the onscreen action. But we don't even need sound to laugh hysterically at 'That's My Wife' (one of quite a number of times Stan dons female attire in their career!) and 'Putting Pants on Philip.' People will probably never stop arguing over which was the first true L&H short, when they stopped just being together in the same film without being part of a planned team, but 'Putting Pants on Philip' is one the titles that comes up most often as the first true teamed effort. (The other two that most commonly are argued as being the first are 'Do Detectives Think?' and 'Duck Soup.') They're not wearing their bowler hats, and their screen personalities aren't the ones we know and love just yet, but for the first time they seem to be part of a team and not just in the same film together through happenstance. The other L&H short, 'Flying Elephants,' is just bizarre, and not really because it was made after their teaming despite how they appear as rivals. The subject matter itself, prehistoric days, is strange, to say the least, certainly one of the weirdest films they ever did.
'45 Minutes from Hollywood' is one of those early shorts where they're together but not yet a team, and indeed, apart from 'The Lucky Dog' (1919?), this is their very first time appearing together in the same film. The film itself is mildly entertaining but nothing special, and probably wouldn't even be remembered today were it not for the historic value. Overall it's just a vehicle for Glenn Tryon; based on the two Glenn Tryon shorts included in this series, it's hard to say just why Hal Roach, who was usually such a wonderful judge of funnyness, thought he had the potential to become a big-time comic leading man like Harold Lloyd. Glenn just doesn't seem like anyone special, indistinct from any number of minor would-be comic stars of the Twenties.
We also have the Stan solo film 'The Soilers' (which is also included on 'The Stan Laurel Slapstick Symposium'; I wasn't keen on buying another copy of a film I already own); it's pretty good but demonstrates that alone Stan was just lacking that special something to make him a big-name star and recognisable screen presence. The final two shorts are some quite funny ones from the forgotten star Charley Chase, 'Crazy Like a Fox' (which also briefly co-stars Ollie) and the bonus short 'The Way of All Pants.' Unlike the few Glenn Tryon shorts included in this series, based on the Charley Chase shorts included on these discs I've become a big fan. Hal Roach was being a good judge of humor when he often said that Charley was the funniest fellow he'd ever known."