Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Music Box


Available on a compilation DVD with four others. We ordered it from Netflix because we recently visited the famous steps, which are still there between 923 and 937 Vendome Street, though not looking much like they do in the film. They’re encroached upon from both sides now. This is probably my favorite Laurel and Hardy two-reeler, though it’s a hard pick. Sons of the Desert and half a dozen others are right up there. These guys were the living embodiment of Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Then things that could not possibly go wrong, go wrong. Then things that couldn’t go wrong in your wildest nightmares … you get the picture. This is knockabout slapstick but not mean, like The Three Stooges. L&H are dumb, but in an endearing way. You can’t even dislike Oliver, who is pompous and patronizing to Stan, but always engineers his own comeuppance. So picture these two trying to wrestle a player piano up 131 concrete steps (which the postman they consult refers to as “the stoop”) and into the house at the top. Recipe for disaster. The house is still standing at the end, but just barely.