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Friday, May 17, 2013

Laurel and Hardy at their best in 1931 short 'Our Wife'



I recently watched "Our Wife," a very funny Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy short from 1931. Produced by Hal Roach Studios, the plot involves rotund Ollie wanting to marry his equally rotund sweetheart, Dulcy, (played by Babe London). Unfortunately, Dulcy's dad, played by comedy short legend James Finlayson, absolutely forbids his dumpling to marry Hardy. So, with the help of mild-mannered Stan, the comedy pair ineptly plan to spring Dulcy from her home and elope.

This is my second-favorite Laurel and Hardy short. Only "The Music Box" is better. The comic timing is superb and the cast is an iconic dream. Besides Ollie, Stan and Finlayson, the minister who married Ollie and Dulcy is played by cross-eyed silent and early sound comic Ben Turpin. Turpin, born in 1869, was a genuine pioneer of the comedy silent era. One of his early, early films, 1909's "Ben Gets a Duck and is Ducked," filmed in Chicago, had him going into a public duck pond. He was arrested by police officers not amused at the film company's permit-less filming efforts!

The best scene in "Our Wife" involves Ollie, Dulcy and Stan trying to fit into an impossibly tiny getaway car, procured by the hapless Stan. The film is easy to find as part of collections offered via amazon, etc. It also pops up on Turner Classic Movies once in a while. But, thanks to YouTube, you can watch the film above. More info is here.

-- Doug Gibson

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