Friday, 1 July 2011

Laurel & Hardy in Going Bye Bye (1934)

In this short Stan and Ollie are the star witnesses in a big court case, they provide the damning evidence that will see Butch Long sent to prison for the rest of his life. Butch is understandably rather annoyed about their willingness to come forward and seal his fate, this isn't helped by Stan asking the judge "aren't you going to hang him?"!

In the ensuing court room chaos, Butch resolves that if he ever gets out of jail, he will track them down, break their legs and tie them around their necks!

The boys fear the worst and desperately try to get together enough money to make their escape, they come up with a genius plan which involves advertising in the local newspaper for a traveling companion who will pay for the expenses of traveling out east.

Their prayers are answered when they get a response to their ad from Mae (played by L&H regular Mae Busch), who by sheer coincidence happens to be Butch's girl. Things get even more out of control when Butch turns up, having just broken out of jail, he needs to leave town as soon as possible and the unknowing boys agree to let Mae's mystery friend along for the ride "the more the merrier!".

Through a fairly unbelievable twist, Butch ends up locked in Mae's trunk, Mae tells Stan and Ollie that her friend is trapped inside "he fell in whilst packing" the boys mull this over for a moment and agree that it sounds like something that could realistically happen!

Cue an amusing set piece involving Stan & Ollie trying various means to try and open the trunk.

At the film's climax all hell breaks loose, and the cops turn up a little too late to save our two heroes, who in the final shot are in a reflective mood about the turn of events with Oliver exclaiming "Well, that's another nice mess you've gotten me into!".

Although I get the impression that this isn't held up as a classic Laurel & Hardy short, there are some great scenes. The business when Stan arrives at Ollie's home and proceeds to send him flying so that his head gets stuck in the bed frame, and the business played out when Stan is looking for his glasses when attempting to read the newspaper ad are great.

The scene with them using the drill, blow torch and hose to try and get the trunk open is a hoot.

I think this goes to prove that even some of the lesser Hal Roach made films stand up well to the test of time.

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