A-HAUNTING WE WILL GO (1942)
Article #1319 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-24-2004
Posting Date: 3-23-2005
Directed by Alfred L. Werker
Featuring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Dante the Magician
Stan and Ollie agree to transport a coffin to Dayton; unfortunately, the people they are dealing with are really crooks trying to get hold of an inheritance. The coffin then becomes confused with a stage prop for Dante the Magician.
Fantastic content: A touch of horror with the coffin plot, and some comic mayhem involving a tiny Stan.
I enjoy Laurel and Hardy so much that even in their weakest efforts, they still manage to get a laugh or two out of me. However, if that’s all they get, then you’re definitely dealing with one of their weakest movies. One of the big problems here is the over-elaborate plot involving five gangsters, a stage-hand with a past, his prospective bride, and a police inspector, and a lawyer who isn’t really a lawyer. The movie wastes so much time setting up an elaborate set of double-crosses (that just marginally involve Stan and Ollie), that it leaves your head swimming. Furthermore, Dante is another distraction, and once again I find myself a little annoyed with the fact that when stage magicians appear in a movie, all too often their illusions are tampered with using obvious cinematic special effects, as is the case here. Laurel and Hardy were at their best when the plots were simple and they were just left to ply their trade. The biggest laugh in the movie is Stan’s one-word response to being told “Pleased to meet you.”, which is simplicity itself. Still, it is a little fun to see Elisha Cook Jr. as one of the crooks.
Credits note: According to the credits, the waiter is played by Willie Best. There is a waiter, but he sure looks a lot more like Mantan Moreland to me. As for Willie Best, I didn’t see him in the movie at all; however, this may be due to the fact that my print of the movie is short about five minutes and came from a TV broadcast, hence the possibility that his scene (which I’m willingly to bet dealt with racial stereotypes) may have been excised for the TV print.