The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930)

THE LAUREL-HARDY MURDER CASE (1930)
Short
Article 3160 by Dave Sindelar
viewing Date: 2-7-2010
Posting Date: 4-9-2010
Directed by James Parrott
Featuring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Frank Austin
Country: USA
What is is: Comic “old dark house” story

When a rich old man by the name of Laurel dies, Ollie convinces Stan they can make it to easy street by having Stan pose as the heir. They arrive at the spooky old mansion of the deceased to discover that, instead of attending a reading of the will, they are under suspicion of murder. Furthermore, the real murderer wants them out of the way…

The title implies that this will be a parody of a Philo Vance movie, but it’s really that old friend, the “old dark house” movie. It’s not even really a parody; most of the movies of this ilk were half-comedies already. It does strip the mystery aspect from the story and emphasizes the comedy. Nevertheless, this isn’t really the duo at their best; too much of the short is concerned with the side characters, and once again there is an overreliance on “Oh, I’m scared!” type of humor. Still, there are moments; one of my favorites has Ollie threatening to walk out on Stan that illustrates one of the great things about the characters; you never really know what Stan is going to say or do next. For horror fans, though, it does have some nice atmosphere, and the butler is definitely a great comically creepy character.

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