|03 November 1928|
|Director: James Parrott Producer: Hal Roach Story: Leo McCarey Cinematography: George Stevens Editor: Richard C. Currier|
|AVAILABLE ON DVD|
|Two Dreadnaughts (Stan and Ollie) from the Battleship Oregon are on shore leave and have hired a car. Stan drives along the street paying very little attention to the road whilst Ollie rests his feet on the dashboard. They swerve to avoid hitting a pedestrian (Sam Lufkin), who along with Ollie gives Stan a piece of his mind. Ollie apologies to the gentleman and assumes control of the vehicle.
Stan, now the passenger receives an ill-timed lecture on how to drive in a straight line whilst paying attention to the road when Ollie crashes head-on into a lamp-post. A crowd of onlookers laugh at their misfortune before Ollie carries on driving down the street. He stops outside a shop where two young ladies are fighting a gumball machine on the sidewalk. Eye contact is made and soon after all four of them are flirting. The boys get out of the car and introduce themselves as 'Ensign Laurel' and 'Secretary Wilbur'. Stan shakes the hands of both the women and then shakes Ollie's, who pushes him off. Ollie also pushes Stan away from the gumball machine after he is first to take a look at it. He then examines it for himself and gets his finger jammed in the small hole at the bottom. As Ollie tries to hide his embarrassment Stan lends his assistance to free him from the contraption. Ollie picks up the machine and gives it a good shake. The wide cutaway shot hints at what is about to happen, as the balls spill out onto the sidewalk. He is left holding it as Stan flees to the car with the ladies close behind.
|He scrambles to shove as many of the loose balls into his clothing as possible before the owner of the shop (Charlie Hall) comes out. His first action is to slap the sweets out of Ollie's hands, much to the shocked onlooking faces of Stan and the girls who have seated themselves back in the car. Charlie gives a few extra prods to Ollie's stomach for good measure, which further reveals his hidden stash.
Ollie takes a couple of more whacks from the diminutive shopkeeper before Stan steps in. He also receives a punch. Stan swings to hit him but misses on account of slipping repeatedly on the gumballs which are spewn all over the sidewalk. When Stan accepts defeat, the two ladies get out of the car and march on over to the shop to deal with the proprietor. The blonde (Ruby Blaine) kicks Charlie and then messes up his hair. The brunette (Thelma Hill) then rushes at Charlie but slips and pulls down a second gumball machine before the girls run off back to the car. Charlie's defeat is confirmed when he casually falls on a table outside the shop.
Later that afternoon the foursome are driving along a small road (rather dangerously with Stan standing up and a balloon waving around on the dashboard!) when they encounter a huge traffic jam. Two motorists further down the road are arguing about the blockage when one confesses that he is out of gas. Ollie takes the initiative and drives around the long line of cars until he reaches the real cause of the jam - a huge road maintenance machine partially blocking the road. The lead car behind the boys is driven by Edgar Kennedy, who nudges into them. Unfortunately this is the catalyst for what follows!
The boys, wanting to impress the ladies, reverse into Kennedy and his wife. Kennedy reciprocates and only manages to pierce a hole in his own radiator. The bumping continues between the two cars, backwards and forwards until Kennedy's car is bumped into the car behind him. The third driver (Sam Lufkin) gets out and notices his headlight is broken and takes down Kennedy's details.
Kennedy gets out of his car and very deliberately kicks the boys' car - twice. Stan retaliates by getting out and removing Kennedy's headlight, which he then kicks down the street and into the window of Lufkin's car.
Stan tries to get back into his own car unseen but Lufkin calls him up on his actions and pops the balloon on the boy's car. Stan again retaliates by fetching some wet cement in a nearby mixer and splats it over Lufkin's head. Lufkin then slashes their tyre. Now Ollie gets involved.
The boys march up to Lufkin's car and with comical synchronised timing rip off his front wheels. As they walk back to their own car they are assaulted once more by Kennedy. Ollie erupts and shoves Kennedy into another parked car which has a rack full of bedding wrapped up on its roof. Kennedy jumps back into his car and rams Ollie's car forward until Stan pops up between the two cars.
|Stan fights back by ripping away the radiator shield on Kennedy's car and then going to town on his car door, assisted by Ollie and all the while being enjoyed by the women. Kennedy rips off the wheel guard of the boys' car which is countered by them ripping of his roof.
Another frustrated driver stands in the road and barks at a truck driver (Harry Bernard) to back up before throwing tomatoes at him. A wayward tomato hits Stan on the back of his neck. Stan confronts the truck driver and yet another pushing match unfolds. The tomato thrower gets a taste of his own tomato; Stan receives a mattress thrown onto his head (from L&H regular Jack Hill); Ruby Blaine gets her hair messed up by an irate female motorist; she in returns receives face full of black goo... it starts to get out of hand.
Hardy has his face slammed into a car door by a careless motorist but he settles the score quickly and moves on. A motorist dares to question Ollie and gets shoved hard into the side of his own car. All hell breaks loose. Stranded motorists scream at others to get their junk off the road and all sorts of rubbish and car parts are hurled at one another.
A motorycycle cop (Edgar Dearing) has spotted the carnage and rides over to the feuding motorists. One blow of his whistle suddenly restores order among the irate crowd. When the cop asks who started the trouble, the other motorists unanimously point towards Stan and Ollie, who are promptly placed under arrest. The wrecked cars leave one by one until a track plows straight through the cop's motorcycle. The irate cop then tells Kennedy to follow the sailors, but they reverse into his car for the last time, smashing it to bits. The cop goes totally nuts when all subsequent efforts to get cars to follow Stan and Ollie result in failure of some degree.
The boys are chased into a tunnel by the pursuing pack of vehicles but soon afterwards they are all reversing as an oncoming locomotive pushes them all out of the way. The boys' car is squashed to one-half of its original width.
The montage of cars which are waved on by cop Edgar Dearing at the end of the film is a humourous sight, I cannot deny that. However, it is Stan's assault on Sam Lufkin which cracks me up the most. Motorist Lufkin has pulled Stan up for damaging his car but Stan isn't having any of it and so casually walks over to a cement mixer, grabs a lump of wet cement, takes off Lufkin's hat and slams the cement down hard on his head. Not content with this, Stan then replaces his hat and slams that down on his head as well. It's a vicious assault and done with great comical effect. Stan emerges as the victor briefly, until Lufkin slashes the boy's rear tyre.
•Filmed June 22-23, June 26-July 3, 1928.
•Was originally going to be called Two Tough Tars.
•Thomas Benton Roberts, a prop man for Roach, plays the motorist with tomatoes. The tomato rubbed in his face had been previously cut open and filled with ketchup, so it would film better. He created several break away cars for this film, including one that fell apart when a certain wire was pulled.
Did you notice?
•The sign that hangs from the car Stan is driving in the opening scene reads "For Hire, U Drive Auto Co.".
•The streetpost which Stan almost drives into has the number 526 on it.
•No, I did not count the number of bubble gum balls in the machine!
•The shop with the gumball machine is opposite a tailors.
•Charlie Hall's store has the words "Ice Cream And Candies" printed in the window at the bottom.
•When Thelma Hill rushes at Charlie Hall and slips over, he gets a pretty good view up her skirt!
•Sam Lufkin is seen near the beginning as the gentleman narrowly avoided by Stan's erratic driving, and again later as the driver of the car which Edgar Kennedy backs into.
•During the car fight scenes, the boys are seen wearing the girl's hats and the girls are wearing the boy's white navy hats.
•Harry Bernard's license plate number is 62-553.
•The sequence of broken cars which are waved on by the cop at the end include:
a car without front wheels, a truck pulling the bodywork of another car through a huge log which had impaled it, a car with no front seats and with the driver running along the ground, a car driving upside down on its roof, a car with bent fenders, a car with smashed suspension where the occupants of the vehicle are bouncing through the roof.
|Thomas Benton Roberts
Man with tomatoes
Motorist with mattress
Motorist with bent fenders
Motorist who gets sprayed in the face with oil
http://www.doctormacro.com/ (Jerry Murbach still)
"Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies" by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Ham Kinsey and Jack O'Brien)
This page was last updated on: 01 November 2015