Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Music Box


The Music Box; Comedy, USA, 1932; D: James Parrot, S: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Billy Gilbert

A woman buys a piano and Laurel & Hardy have to deliver it to her home. But they quickly get shocked when they find out that her address is on a hill, and only steep stairs lead to it. Half-way there, the duo has to go back to let a mother with a baby pass. Finally up there, they descend down stairs again to deliver the piano with a wagon. Then they break into the apartment in order to hand the piano over to the owner, accidentally breaking a lot of stuff. When the owner shows up, he breaks the piano because he hates music, but then his wife shows up and informs him it is a present, so he thanks her.

"The Music Box", though a very simplistic comedy, achieved legendary reputation since it was awarded with an Oscar for best short film, becoming the only Laurel & Hardy film to win that award (Stan Laurel later on went to win an honorary lifetime achievement Academy Award in '61). "The Music Box" is not their best film, but the story about troubles during transportation of a piano on a hill is childishly sweet and fun: it works the best in the first half, with agility stemming from the expressions of the two heroes when they discover the address of the delivery is on a hill and the only way to it is the almost monumental piece of stairs or when they have to get down half-way up to pass a mother with a baby. Later on, the rhythm depletes itself due to banalities (the postman tells them they could have delivered the piano through a road leading to the address, so they go down stairs again and actually do it!), yet the film is still a good fun.

Grade:++

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