Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Saps at Sea


This was the last movie Laurel and Hardy made for Hal Roach, before their disastrous move to MGM and the domination of that massive studio, where they never had much input into their movies again. It’s not one of their best. The music seemed intrusive to me, hammering home the comic points like it was the Three Stooges. Music in an L&H two-reeler was always subdued, just something going on in the background while the boys were front and center doing their genius thing. There were only about three or four musical themes that fit all situations. Also, they seem to repeat some of their schticks too many times. Ollie giving us the exasperated look, Stanley scratching his head. You know the drill. Which is not to say it isn’t funny, there are plenty of laughs. I just wish I could re-score and re-edit it. Ollie is driven mad by his job in a horn factory, where the new horns are tested repeatedly and all at once. Doctor James Finlayson prescribes a long ocean voyage to relax in the sea air. Ollie is having none of it. He’s not going to board a steamer. Their solution is to rent a small, decrepit boat tied up to the dock. But one night an escaped murderer comes aboard and the boat is set adrift. Lots of funny stuff follows. It’s okay, but I’d recommend any of dozens of two-reelers over this almost-feature (57 minutes).