HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Laughing Gravy A Dog's LifeBuy this film here.
Year: 1931
Director: James W. Horne
Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall, Harry Bernard, Charles Dorety
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ollie (Oliver Hardy) is trying to sleep in the double bed he has rented in this boarding house, but there is an impediment to his slumber: his friend Stan (Stan Laurel) is next to him, has succeeded in sleeping, but has not succeeded in ridding himself of the hiccups. To make matters worse Stan keeps stealing the sheets, it's a bitterly cold night with snow falling heavily outside, and as if that were not bad enough there's a danger of rousing their pet dog Laughing Gravy. That's an issue because the mean-minded landlord (Charlie Hall) has banned pets, and Stan and Ollie have had to smuggle the pooch in - but if he starts barking...

Unlike many stars of silent cinema, Laurel and Hardy made a smooth transition to the talkies, mostly because while they did not neglect the physical humour Stan, the brains behind the best gags, ensured the dialogue not only enhanced the short films they made, but contained jokes as well. Yet take a look at Laughing Gravy, and you would see that slapstick was where they were concentrating, with the result that it was one of their sound efforts which travelled the best, as they were wont to record various versions of their shorts in phonetically learned languages other than their native English, another reason they remain the best-loved comedy duo around the world to this day.

And besides, Laughing Gravy was really funny no matter what language you spoke, named after the little dog (that really was what it was called) who appeared in films mostly as an extra, but here was given a shot at immortality. He was never going to be a Rin Tin Tin, Lassie or even an Asta, but for twenty minutes he was the star sharing the screen with two towering talents, and all he had to do was look cute. This was the Laurel and Hardy short for animal lovers as the boys go to incredible lengths to prevent the mutt from getting abandoned outside in the snow, indeed you would need a heart of ice yourself not to be moved by the plight of Laughing Gravy, and all because of the nasty landlord.

Charlie Hall was that man, the most prolific supporting player in Laurel and Hardy productions, though oddly less well-remembered as the other Brit they liked to employ, James Finlayson (who wasn't in this one). Still, anyone who has seen Laughing Gravy will recall him as one of the recipients of many clonks on the head - seriously, not a minute goes by without someone getting an object dropped on their bonce, as if they were going for some kind of record in the space of twenty minutes. But that was nothing compared to the landlord's eventual fate driven to distraction by Stan, Ollie and the dog until he takes drastic action that ends the film on an unexpectedly bleak note (don't fret, the dog is fine).

Before that, we were treated to expert japery as not only is the four legged friend sent out to freeze, but its owners wind up stuck outside and trying to get back in, with hilarious scenes of Ollie pulled up by sheets into the open first floor window of his room, or both of them garnering big laughs from something as simple as attempting to stay on a roof in the snow. There's something about the quality of winter weather in Laurel and Hardy shorts that isn't like anything around today, whether it's the oddly fake, fat flakes falling from the sky or that timbre to the soundtrack, crackly, yes, but also with all its own texture. It's no surprise that Laughing Gravy became a staple of Christmas television down the years (though the festive season is never mentioned in it) since there's a lot to do with the setting, atmospheric black and white and essentially sweetnatured mood (until that ending) that makes it ideal viewing for Yuletide. A word of warning, though: avoid the half hour version, which adds a rediscovered, initially cut reel and dilutes the charm of the twenty minute original.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 600 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: