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Towed In A Hole

Release date:
31 December 1932
  Sound short:
2 reels
George Marshall
Art Lloyd
Hal Roach
Richard C. Currier
Charley Rogers
  Sound recording engineer:
James Greene
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Film No.

....... The boys are driving slowly along pulling their fresh fish business behind them in a trailer.  Ollie is singing whilst Stan blows a horn after every line.
"Fresh fish, caught in the ocean this morning.  Salmon, mackerel, swordfish and tuna".
Ollie is clearly happy that for the first time in their lives they are a success.  Stan seizes the opportunity to improve further upon the mood of his companion by offering a solution to their situation in which they can make even more money.  Of course when he is asked to repeat his idea it comes out backwards!
Stan: "Well if you caught a fish then whoever you sold it to wouldn't have to pay for it... then the profits would go to the fish..."  Typical classic Stan.  Thrilled by the "million dollar idea" Ollie joyfully proclaims they shall buy themselves a boat in order to venture into this idea.  Off they go to the junkyard where they purchase a dilapidated wooden boat (for an undisclosed amount) from owner Billy Gilbert (who for once is actually rather friendly to the boys).  After a quick checking over Ollie decides they should fill the boat with water in order to determine where the leaks are.  Stan has a fight with the hissing hose as he turns it on, and after eventually getting it under control is instructed to hand it to Ollie through the porthole.  Believing he is acting efficiently, Stan first turns the water spray on and then pokes the hose through the hole, soaking Hardy.
When Ollie reprimands Stan for his actions there is a great moment where Stan tries to replace the hose in the hole but in doing so first puts his arms in there instead.  This is just the first of many visual gags to come.  Next up Stan informs Ollie that the boat is now full with water.  He is told to go ahead and scrub the deck whilst Ollie finishes off painting the rudder.  Unaware it is attached to a protruding pole on deck, Stan shifts it out of his way, sending the bottom half straight into Ollie's face and into the pot of paint nearby on the ground.  Up until now it's been a very relaxed atmosphere between the two, but it's all about to change for the worse!
The rudder incident clearly frustrates Ollie, but he lets it go, deciding not to bother telling Stan off for his ignorant actions.  So what does Stan do... as he returns to the same part of the deck as before he once again shoves the pole out of the way, by which time Ollie has recomposed himself and sat down with the paint on his lap.  Cue the face-covered-with-paint stunt.  In retaliation there is a bucket-throwing incident, and an exchange of pouring buckets of water down each other's clothes.  Things come to a head when Ollie goes to fetch a third bucket of water and realises Stan is one step ahead of him with the hose-in-hand, waiting to drench him again.
Ollie: "Isn't this silly?"
Stan: "What?"
Ollie: "Here we are two grown up men acting like a couple of children; why we ought to be ashamed of ourselves, throwing water at one another!"
Stan: "Well you started it"
Ollie: "No I didn't"
Stan: "Yes you did"  etc.
They shake hands and make up, only to have Ollie slip on Stan's soap and fly off the deck, bucket in hand, straight into the paint on the ground again.  It's just classic Laurel and Hardy.  The second reel begins with Ollie fixing the holes in the side of the boat whilst Stan busies himself up on the deck scrubbing the anchor.  All is calm, though again it is short-lived.  Stan finishes with the anchor and tries to lower it through the cabin but the weight of it carries both he and the chain down and land on top of Ollie who is under the boat mending holes.  This is the final straw for Ollie, who confines Stan to the cabin with a black eye!  Ollie sits and paints the mast as Stan sits below chalking diagrams on the wall.  He plays a game of noughts and crosses and uses Ollie as his fictitious opponent.  You can guess who wins.
The next couple of minutes is a standard build-up of Stan becoming increasingly bored and eventually bold enough to dare to engaage in conversation with Ollie, who has made it clear he does not wish to converse with him.  Back down below Stan gets his head trapped behind the foot of the mast (the very one that Ollie is still painting up above).  Armed with a hand saw he begins the process of freeing himself from his predicamanet just as Ollie has climbed to the very top of it.  Crash!  Stan now has two black eyes and is tied to a barrel to prevent further interference (note Ollie's smirk at the camera after we witness this).
Finally, Ollie gives in and unties Stan believing he couldn't possibly do anything further to hinder their progress when Stan suggests Ollie raise the sail on the boat to assist with towing it with the car.  When Ollie sees the logic in the idea a sudden gust of wind picks up, blows the sail into the car and wrecks both car and boat off-camera.  When all seems lost Stan investigates the wreckage to discover the horn he was blowing at the beginning of the film is still intact.  Ollie flips.

Favourite bit    
      There really are so many wonderful moments in the short duration that it's hard to choose just one best scene.  It has to be the water-exchange.  Ollie has come to the end of his tether with regards to Stan's behaviour and empties a bucket of water over Stan's head,  Stan replies by emptying the same bucket over Ollie's back.  Ollie retaliates by getting Stan to hold the bucket whilst he fetches a small wooden block to wedge Stan's overalls open before tipping another load down there.  Stan grabs the hose...  It's simply brilliant!

•Filmed between November 1st-10th, 1932.
•The story was written between Stan Laurel and director George Marshall.
Did you notice?
•When Ollie stops the car to hear Stan's suggestion near the beginning, a man in the background crosses the road behind them.  Other than the three principal actors this is the only other person to be seen in the film (although later when Stan is on deck scrubbing the anchor you can see people very faintly in the distance walking along a road.)
•The name of the boat is Ruth, an obvious reference to Stan's soon-to-be wife at the time.
•Billy Gilbert appears for one scene, approximately 13 seconds of screen time and one line of dialogue.
•I don't know if it's just me but whenever I watch this film it is hard to believe Stan was 42 at the time.  His youthful face always made him look much younger - don't you think?
•The boys use a nearby chest-of-drawers to climb up onto the boat deck.
•When Stan plays his imaginary game of noughts and crosses with Ollie down below, Stan is "crosses" and wins with a vertical line on the right-hand side of the grid.
•In the scene where Stan traps himself behind the mast pole in his cabin there is a hammer lying on the side, just underneath the diagrams he has chalked on the wall.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Billy Gilbert
Joe, the junkyard owner