Written and filmed May-June, 1934. Released by MGM, July, 1934. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed by Charles Rogers. Two reels.

Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall, Mae Busch, Billy Gilbert.   

STORY: Stan and Ollie are vacationing in the mountains so that Ollie can get the rest and relaxation he needs to cure his gouty foot. They park their camping trailer next to a deserted house, in front of which stands a well filled with the product of some local moonshiners. After preparing a delicious meal of beans and coffee, they are visited by a married couple who need to borrow some gas for their car. The husband returns to the car, while the wife stays behind with The Boys; the three of them get pleasantly sloshed on the "water" from the well. The husband returns, outraged, and a full-scale war develops.


JB:  If you've accepted that Hog Wild, The Music Box, Towed in a Hole and Helpmates are Stan and Ollie's four greatest shorts (and you certainly don't have to), then you have to start making the list of what you would take to a desert island if those shorts weren't available.  This list, for me, would include Brats, Blotto and this film.  If all this film had was the "pom-pom" scene, it would be worth it. 

     I may be a heretic, but I was never a huge fan of the "reciprocal retaliation" business, though it made a great ending for many a silent L&H short. So the last five minutes of this film doesn't match to all the business in the trailer for me, but what the hell. 

JL: The reciprocal routines worked better in the silents, where the gags could come fast 'n' furious and they didn't take the time to stop the action and point and laugh at poor Charlie with the butter and the plunger on his head.  But I tend to agree -- their best slapstick has a freewheeling, spontaneous quality to it, while the reciprocal bits have a calculated quality to them.

    But the scene with the boys making their delicious dinner of beans and coffee holds me in a non-stop quiet giggle from beginning to end.

Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan

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