|Call Of The Cuckoo|
|Director: Clyde Bruckman
Producer: Hal Roach
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Cinematography: Floyd Jackman
|Hal Roach Studios/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
15 October 1927
|.......||The Gimplewarts are wanting to sell their house and so the husband (and father to a miserable-looking teenage son) places an advert in the newspaper. Advertised as an eight-room modern house with new furniture and fixtures, surely they can't go wrong. Unfortunately 'wrong' is exactly the problem. Their house is situated on a street where the neighbours are less than 'normal'.
Stan, Ollie, James Finlayson and Charley Chase are among the neighbours who recite some kind of sketch for a radio show out on the lawn. They are completely mad. Chase picks bits off the microphone they are using and starts to eat it (this is actually an old-fashioned mouse trap they are using for a mic); Hardy claims that his parent's names were "Mama and Papa", whilst Laurel is dressed in a waterproofed fireman's uniform and spraying a hose on the lawn.... and then through the Gimplewarts open window.
The doorbell rings and the son is told to stand in front of a large moth hole in the cabinet to conceal the problem. A prospective buyer (Frank Brownlee) arrives to inspect the house. The owner (Max Davidson) enthusiastically tries to pitch the sale whilst the potential buyer notices the activity out on the lawn (Stan and Finlayson plucking hairs from each others heads) and thinks better of it and starts to have second thoughts.
|Their bizarre behaviour continues when a shaven-haired Stan places an apple upon shaven-haired Ollie's head and threatens to shoot it off using his crossbow. Instead Stan shoots Ollie in the rear and is chased away. Next up, Ollie returns pushing Charlie Hall as a wheelbarrow before thowing him to the grass in a rather aggressive manner. Charlie doesn't seem to react and in fact decides to dust a brick he finds on the ground. He gets up, and with broomstick in hand conducts a march of the other four inmates, but they all smash him over the head.
Having witnessed the zany behaviour, the prospector is told by the Gimplewart son that they are all crazy and is the reason why they want to sell the house. Too much honesty and a lack of tact scare off the would-be buyer. No sooner does he leave does a second interested gentleman (Charles Meakin) arrive at the house. He proposes a straight swap for his house with no questions asked. The deal is done.
The family arrive at their new home, which from the outside looks wonderful; but they are soon to understand that looks can be very deceiving.
First off the screen door on the porch falls onto the son, then the doorknob comes off in Papa's hand. A firm shove to open the front door reveals what appears to be a nice interior. That is until Papa pulls a chord to turn on the lights and finds the lights in the next room turn on instead. Same thing happens again when he turns on a different light. He starts to see why the previous owner was so keen to get rid of the house. He remarks, "I've heard of running water but never seen leaping electricity before". A third light reveals the same problem before he turns on the light in the bathroom. It's a bit of a giveaway as he deliberately positions himself under the shower head, but the inevitable happens.
Dripping wet, he finds his way into the new kitchen and uses a towel to dry his face. The water falls to the floor and Mama grabs a mop. Her mopping reveals the tiles to be painted on. Papa is stressed at this point and noticed the lino on the floor is not tacked down. His attempts to move it result in the whole thing curling up into a roll. Papa calls for assistance and has his boy stand on one end of the roll as Papa unrolls the lino back across the kitchen floor, but of course the son doesn't quite catch the gist of Papa's idea and repeatedly follows him, which unravels the lino behind him.
|.......||In the end Papa grabs a conveniently-placed hammer and tacks and secures the lino to the floor. Briefly.
Papa takes a cigar break and goes to light it on the stove only to find a spray of water emit from it. Things continue to go from bad to worse when Mama decides (for some strange reason) to move the piano to the other side of the room. It rolls back to its original resting place on the slanted floor. Papa fetches a spirit level and places it on the floor and then watches as it slides away!
A group of housewarmers arrive (or rather, barge their way in) to welcome in their new neighbours whilst Papa goes upstairs to take a bath. At the dinner table the guests help themselves to chocolate cake as water from the bath filters through the ceiling and onto the food. Upstairs the bath collapses and the water pours out onto the floor, leaving a naked Papa to cover up. The guests all hurry into the sitting room where two young boys begin kicking and slapping each of the other's fathers. Then the dads (Leo Willis and Edgar Dearing) get involved as their sons go at one another. This leads to the two mothers taking pops at one another until an all-out brawl develops!
The front room is filled with people fighting one another, plates are thrown, vases are smashed. Papa Gimplewart has dressed and come back downstairs to witness the destruction of his new home taking place in front of him. He quickly moves a lamp and places it on top of a radio and then offers the telephone to one of the feuding fathers, who rips it out of the socket and launches it as the other father. He ducks and the lamp gets broken. Chairs are smashed over heads and the piano, with a mind of its own, takes its last journey - through the wall and into a parked car and completely wrecks it.
Suddenly everybody vanishes (some unexplained editing?) and Papa remarks that nothing could possibly be worse than this carnage? Wrong again... the crazy neighbours they originally moved away from have turned up and declared they have just moved in next door.
Laurel and Hardy make cameo appearances in this Max Davidson comedy as two of five unusual neighbours who live next door to the Gimplewart family.
|The Gimplewart's house is a complete joke. Nothing is secured to anything, the floors are uneven, the electric, gas and water supply are all mixed up and to demonstrate just how bad the ground is Max Davidson places a spirit level down to see the extent of the problem. It's so uneven that the tool slides off along the floor.|
|•Filmed between June 13-22, 1927.|
|•Stan and Ollie's heads were shaved from their previous film where they played convicts.|
|•The film is often mis-spelled as Call Of The Cuckoos.|
|Did you notice?|
|•When Stan shoots the arrow into Ollie's pants you can see the fishing line attached to it.|
|•The house the Gimplewarts move into is number 1313.|
|•According to the gossipy neighbours, the troubled house was built in two days.|
|•The problems with the house:
-the screen door falls off; the doorknob comes away; the front door is stiff; faulty lighting; lightswitch in the bathroom turns on the shower tap; tiles on the kitchen floor are painted on; the lino on the kitchen floor is not secured and rolls away; the kitchen taps are filled with gas rather than water; water comes from the stove on the cooker; the living room floor is on a slant; the door numbers fall off the wall; the bannister rail collapses; the bath breaks; a sliding door is cut in half; a curtain rail falls down.
|•How convenient was it that a hammer and tacks would be sitting in the kitchen unit just waiting... and that Papa knew exactly where to look to find them, considering it was his first time in the house?|
|•The word 'Reliable' is on the kitchen oven.|
|•Freeze-frame technology allows us to see that Max Davidson is wearing a body suit or a vest when the bath collapses. He is not nude.|
|•Before the piano rolls through the wall you can see the patched marks on the wallpaper where it had previously been rehearsed and put back together.|
Prospective house buyer