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Slapstick Symposium Too: The Oliver Hardy Collection [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Sawmill
Comedians Larry Semon and Oliver Hardy battle over Kathleen O'Connor, the belle of the logging camp, in this 2-reel farce co-directed by Semon and Norman Taurog. The always extravagant Semon went too far making this film on location at Sequoia National Forest, where he made the Vitagraph Company build a permanent logging camp. According to the company's owner, Albert J. Smith, the film could just as easily have been produced at the studio back lot in Los Angeles. As a result, Semon's new contract made him his own producer and he was henceforth obliged to pay the cast, crew, and various other production expenses out of his own pocket. Years before he found world wide fame opposite Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy honed his comedic skills playing a menace opposite the white-faced Semon. They worked well together and remained personal friends until Semon's early death from pneumonia in 1928. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Stick Around
Diminutive Bobby Ray and portly Oliver Hardy play employees of the Blatz and Blatz Interior Design company, hired to wallpaper Dr. Brown's sanatarium. When an inmate accidentally drops alcohol into the hospital's water supply, the two drunken wallpaperers go at their work with a vengeance. A now-forgotten comic, Ray looked enough like Stan Laurel for this inexpensive two-reel comedy to be advertised as a Laurel and Hardy offering when released to the home movie market in the early '60s. Hardy himself later acknowledged that his character in this film resembled the Ollie of later fame, with a condescending attitude toward his less-brainy partner, dainty hand gestures and all. Produced by comedian Billy West and released as a "Mirthquake comedy," Stick Around also featured Hazel Newman as a nurse and Harry McCoy as the owner of the sanitarium. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Should Sailors Marry?
This two-reel comedy-thriller was the second picture that Clyde Cook made for the Hal Roach studios. When a couple divorces, the wife (Fay Holderness) finds herself in the unusual situation of having to pay alimony to her ex-husband (Noah Young), a wrestler. The wife goes through some hard financial times and finds it difficult to make the payments. Subsequently her ex-husband ends up living with her. Her answer to the problem is to run an ad in the matrimonial section of the newspaper. The man who replies is a sailor (Cook) who joined the Navy to see the world -- and spent four years in a submarine. His luck doesn't improve any after he marries the wife. The sailor has no clue that the ex-husband is actually part of the household, and it only is revealed to him bit by bit. Eventually he is forced to share a room with the ex and, worse yet, has to go to work. The sailor's efforts to escape take him up to the steel beams of a half-built skyscraper, with funny, and frightening, results. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Crazy to Act
This Mack Sennett two-reel comedy features Oliver Hardy, who was on loan from the Hal Roach studios. Arthur Young (Matty Kemp) is in love with Ethel St. John (Mildred June), but he has no money and she wants to be in movies. Gordon Bagley (Hardy) also wants to marry her, and she accepts his proposal, providing that he make her a motion picture star. Bagley agrees, and finances a film for her, using her friends as cast and crew. Arthur plays her love interest, which does not thrill Bagley in the least. Finally the film is finished, and it is screened for everyone involved. Not only does Bagley hate the love scenes, he realizes that the picture is awful and was a total waste of money. Just so it isn't a complete loss, he grabs Ethel and drags her off to the minister. Arthur, however, is close behind and he manages to grab Ethel and they escape. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Show
Comedian Larry Semon borrows heavily from two of his prior films, Between the Acts and The Stage Hand, for this mediocre comedy. Semon, the prop man for a high-class variety theater, has a crush on the leading lady (Lucille Carlisle who, in real life, was Semon's fiancée). The show involves a number of impressive acts, but one audience member derides the magician's performance. A rooster, part of the magician's show, goes after the guy and Larry has to catch the unruly bird. Meanwhile, the stage manager (Oliver Hardy) plans to steal some jewelry belonging to the leading lady. He's interrupted, however, when a barrel of black powder gets blown into the audience. When the leading lady comes out to see what is going on, the stage manager uses the opportunity to take the jewelry. The performers chase after him, and Larry is the one who retrieves the jewels. Before he can revel in his victory for too long, Larry wakes up to discover it was all a dream. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Hop to It!
Bobby Ray and Oliver Hardy are rival bellboys at the Hotel Bilkmore in this two-reel farce, one of four "Mirthquake Comedies" the team would make for low-budget Cumberland Productions. The guest in room nine (Frank "Fatty" Alexander) is carrying a large bankroll, which both Ray and Hardy plan to help him spend. The Bilkmore, however, is rather ramshackle and a loose nail causes room number nine to appear as number six, causing Ray to repeatedly give the wrong guest a bath. Hardy, meanwhile starts a fire to divert attention from his plans to steal the bankroll, but he is caught by Ray and the inevitable chase is on. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Along Came Auntie
Once again, Oliver Hardy offers fine support to Glenn Tryon, who had his own comedy series at the Hal Roach studios. Vivien Oakland plays Tryon's wife. Left alone while her husband is on vacation, she is being plagued by bill collectors. To make some money, she takes in a boarder, but the man who answers her ad happens to be her first husband, a musician (Hardy, wearing a big moustache and curly, tousled hair). Tryon arrives home, not only surprised to find the boarder, but also surprised to discover that his wife had been married before. To complicate matters, Vivien's wealthy aunt (Lucy Beaumont) is coming to visit, and she hates divorce. Since she has told Vivien that she will get no money if she has dumped her first husband, Vivien is forced to pretend she is still married to Hardy, while Tryon plays the boarder. After a lot of weird antics, the aunt starts thinking that her niece and the "boarder" are having an affair. Eventually the truth comes out. According to Rob Stone's book, Laurel or Hardy, there was an unused ending in which Hardy winds up married to the aunt. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Forty-Five Minutes From Hollywood
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