Blotto  
 
08 February 1930
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
sound short
3-reels

 

Director: James Parrott  Producer: Hal Roach  Dialogue: H.M. Walker  Story: Leo McCarey
Cinematography: George Stevens  Editor: Richard C. Currier  Sound recording: Elmer Raguse

AVAILABLE ON DVD

Stan is at home pacing the floors anxiously, whilst his wife is sitting playing a card game and slowly getting annoyed at his apparent fidgety behaviour.  She finally asks him to explain what he is doing, to which he answers with a request to go out.  Unimpressed, Mrs. Laurel flatly refuses to allow it and Stan sits in his chair and sulks, with the occasional dirty look aimed at his suspicious wife before she answers him with a few of her own.
Meanwhile Ollie has made his way into a phone booth to call Stan up to invite him out for the evening.  Given Mrs. Laurel's temperment, Stan decides it's probably best he doesn't confess who is calling and dismisses the call as a 'wrong number' before hanging up on the confused Hardy.  After the phone rings for the third time, Mrs. Laurel grabs the receiver and demands to know who it is on the other end.  Ollie reveals his identity and she is seemingly happy, and allows Stan to continue the conversation, despite her husband's look of genuine surprise.
Ollie reminds Stan that they had made prior arrangements to go out to a new nightclub, but when Stan confesses he couldn't think up an excuse to leave the house which his wife would buy Ollie offers a plausible one: he tells Stan to send himself a telegram, calling him away on important business.
Stan goes for it and puts the plan in motion unaware that Mrs. Laurel is listening to the entire conversation on the upstairs line.  Wise to his scheme, she overhears he is planning on taking a bottle of liquor from the kitchen which she has kept since prohibition, so she tampers with the bottle before Stan can get to it by emptying the contents and substituting it with mustard, pepper and other nasties.  Stan gets off the phone and when he thinks his wife isn't looking he confiscates the bottle, unaware of its new, unique flavour!  He sets about writing the all-important telegram, exits through the living room window and places it on the porch, before ringing the doorbell and returning the same way he left.
Stan plays dumb to the sound of the bell, sitting back in his chair as his wife asks him to answer the door.  He does so (in a round about way - see "Favourite bit" section on this page) and Mrs. Laurel plays along with the gag that he has been called away.  As Stan leaves the house (after a brief kiss of his wife's face and a face-first crashing into the wall) she follows him onto the doorstep where she bids him farewell - and bids farewell to Ollie too, who is crouched down, hiding in the bushes.
The boys arrive at the nightclub and are shown to a table by the head waiter (Tiny Sandford) and are served by Baldwin Cooke.  When nobody is looking Stan produces the 'liquor' bottle from his jacket and proceeds to undo the cork, knocking the table flying and causing a general discomfort for everybody in the vicinity, including Hardy, who is first to taste the concoction.  His reaction gives Stan a clue that it doesn't taste exactly as expected!  Slowly but surely the duo get more and more drunk, and Stan goes from one extreme to another emotionally when he bawls his eyes out as he listens to the words of the song from the singer, then goes the extreme opposite all of a sudden and explodes into fits of laughter for no real apparent reason.
Ollie notices that an uninvited and unexpected guest has arrived at the club, one Mrs. Laurel - and she doesn't look happy to see them.  Stan mocks her for being too dumb to realise he had stolen her drink and was now flirting with the effects of it.  In what might seem to be a slight over-reaction for such a trivial injustice, she pulls out a double-barrelled shotgun and runs them out of the building.  Quickly, the boys jump into a parked cab outside where a dozy Charlie Hall is seen briefly asleep at the wheel and they drive off.  Mrs. Laurel stands in the road, takes aim and blows the cab to bits.



Favourite bit
It's a brief moment as Stan realises he has forgotten to bring in the telegram he has sent to himself.  In order for him to leave the house without suspicion, he fakes a telegram message to himself and climbs out of the window to plant the envelope on his porch, then rings the doorbell from the outside.  Quickly climbing back through the window to avoid detection, he sits back down and pretends to not hear the doorbell which has just rung.  When his wife prompts him to answer the call he first goes to the window but then realising that is a big giveaway, he instead opens the front door and pretends to have a conversation with the delivery doy.  After Stan offers the imaginary courier to keep the change from his payment of the message he goes to walk back indoors, forgetting to take the telegram with him!  The funniest part of the gag is his facial reaction when he realises his mistake.  Classic.

Facts
•Filmed December 11-21 & 26-31, 1929.
•Was filmed in Spanish under the title of La Vida Nocturna, and in French as Une Nuit Extravagante.
•This film is sometimes mistaken for a 2-reeler.  It was shot as a 3-reel film.
•Production L-30 - Laurel & Hardy series.
Did you notice?
•In the opening scene with Stan and Anita Garvin there is an electric fan on the mantle which is blowing.
•The number Ollie asks the operator to dial is "Oxford 0614".  (Apparently, this was Laurel's number in real-life).
•Ollie attempts to call Stan 5 times before they actually have a conversation.
•When the telephone is ringing Stan pretends not to hear it.  His wife, Anita Garvin summons him with "Stanleeeeeee" in exactly the same manner that Stan's wife does in Come Clean.
His wife in that film was played by Linda Loredo.  Loredo also plays Stan's wife in the Spanish-language version of Blotto as well.
•One of the ingredients Mrs. Laurel adds to the booze bottle is Newmark's Highest Grade Pepper.
•The name of the nighclub Stan and Ollie visit is called the Rainbow.
•The song which is sung in the nightclub is called The Curse Of An Aching Heart.
•Stan's laughing fit at the end lasts exactly 2 minutes and 28 seconds.


Stan Laurel poses with all three of his wives from the different language versions of the film:
Anita Garvin (English/Blotto), Linda Loredo (Spanish/La Vida Nocturna) and Georgette Rhodes (Une Nuit Extravagante)
The film was made in three different languages.  The English-speaking version had Anita Garvin playing the role of Mrs. Laurel; the Spanish version, La Vida Nocturna, had Linda Loredo playing the role, and the French version, Une Nuit Extravagante had Georgette Rhodes.  Originally released in early 1930, the film was re-edited and re-issued in 1937 substituting the score with a modern-day one of the time.  It is speculated the English-speaking version had a scene cut out of it due to negative damage (Mrs. Laurel switches on an electrical fan when Stan complains about needing some fresh air.  This scene is in the Spanish version and a screen still is available on that listing's page.
 

Stan Laurel
Stan
Oliver Hardy
Ollie
 
Anita Garvin
Mrs. Laurel
Tiny Sandford
Head waiter
 
Baldwin Cooke
Waiter
 
Charlie Hall
Cab driver
 
Frank Holliday
Rainbow club singer
 
Jean De Briac
Shopkeeper
Jack Hill
Phone booth gawker
 
  Dick Gilbert
Phone booth gawker
 
  Vladimir Gueteron
Orchestra leader
 
     
UNIDENTIFIED
Club patron
UNIDENTIFIED
Dancer
UNIDENTIFIED
Hat check girls
UNIDENTIFIED
Phone booth gawker

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Acknowledgements:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020698/ (IMDb.com)
"Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies" by Randy Skretvedt (book)

This page was last updated on: 09 June 2015