The Big Noise (1944)
I finally got around to watching a Laurel and Hardy movie. Something I haven’t done in what has to be 20 plus years and I can’t give you an answer as to why I have been neglecting the famous duo.
Perhaps it’s because when I was growing up they weren’t really on my radar. It was all Abbott and Costello and Martin and Lewis with a healthy dose of The Three Stooges thrown in. I just don’t recall these two getting as much coverage on television.
It was refreshing to sit back and watch the comedy duo go about there business for what seemed like the first time. The plot may be of the tired variety but the boys succeeded in putting a smile on my face.
While doing there janitorial work at a detective agency, Ollie fields a call and they jump right in to a case that may involve national security. Arthur Space has created a new bomb that may be tiny but is capable of mass destruction. The Atom Bomb????
He needs professional help in ensuring it’s safe conduct to the proper authorities. Stan and Ollie are just the patsy’s for the job. Things get a little hairy for our would be heroes when gangsters turn up with the intention of stealing the new bomb for their own gains.
The customary plot points ensue with Stan and Ollie taking off with the decoy bomb to lead the thieves away from it’s creator, Arthur Space. It’s not surprising to find out that our duo on the run casually throwing the dud around do in fact have the real McCoy. Can Stan and Ollie evade the crooks and save the day and maybe just sink an enemy vessel before the fadeout? What do you think?
Turning up in this release from 20th Century Fox is a young Robert Blake who likes to create a little bit of havoc for Stan and Ollie thus keeping them on their toes. The gags keep coming in all forms. A black widow putting the make on Ollie who has already had six husbands and has decided on her seventh if Stan doesn’t come to his rescue. A train berth where the boys have a hard time settling in for a night’s sleep complicated by a drunken Frederic March lookalike joining them in their already tight quarters.
Memories kept creeping back as I watched the film about the mannerisms and habits Stan and Ollie put on for our benefit. Scenes of Stan crying for the camera and I love how Ollie makes a face of disgust every so often at Stan’s antics but sneaks a peek towards us the viewers hoping that we to are in agreement with him.
I know this is one of the last films that the duo did before retiring and I am not a qualified Laurel and Hardy expert to say whether or not they were losing steam by this point. The film is obviously a formula picture but no matter to me. It was nice to revisit the boys that to this day have their images turn up in ads or restaurant walls decorated with stars of yesteryear.