Pardon Us

  • 1931
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

In 1930, one of MGM's largest successes was THE BIG HOUSE, with Chester Morris and Wallace Beery. The sets were still standing and some of the additional footage was languishing on the editorial shelves, so Roach put this picture into the works. It was Laurel and Hardy's first feature film after delighting audiences with their two-reelers and it looks rushed...read more

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In 1930, one of MGM's largest successes was THE BIG HOUSE, with Chester Morris and Wallace Beery. The sets were still standing and some of the additional footage was languishing on the editorial shelves, so Roach put this picture into the works. It was Laurel and Hardy's first feature

film after delighting audiences with their two-reelers and it looks rushed and padded, although there is more than enough humor along the way to satisfy all but the most finicky "Sons of the Desert" (the name of the Laurel and Hardy fan club, a group of several thousand who hold regular meetings

and watch the old films and know every line of dialog by heart). The boys are outside a store that sells malts and hops, and plan to make their own beer and sell whatever they don't drink. Straightaway, they are taken to jail (the trial is never seen) and tossed into a mean, vicious prison

population which includes Karloff. The warden, Lucas, does a satire of the welcoming speech in every jail movie, telling the men to obey the rules and they'll do all right, but if they stray, the prison will be "Hell on earth!" Laurel has a loose tooth, and whenever he finishes a sentence, the

tooth's vibrations make a Bronx Cheer noise. The jail's roughest con is Long, and when he meets Laurel and hears the "raspberry" sound, he is mightily impressed with the little guy's courage, as no one ever dared to do that to him before. Long has a break planned and he is caught, due to a mistake

by Laurel and Hardy, but they get away, don blackface makeup and try to hide in a community of cotton-pickers (during this sequence they do a lovely song and dance number with Hardy's voice being featured). However, they are discovered when Lucas' car breaks down in the area. Their freedom is

short and it's back in to prison until Long starts a riot and the boys help to end it, again inadvertently (as they did most of their brave deeds). They are rewarded for their "bravery" by being pardoned. Lucas wishes them well and hopes they can return to what they were doing before coming to

jail. Laurel is reminded of his old occupation and instantly tries to sign Lucas up for a keg of beer. Anyone watching the film today will find fault with the jumpy editing and the ancient Prohibition premise because it's been more than a half-century since people were jailed for brewing or

distilling.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In 1930, one of MGM's largest successes was THE BIG HOUSE, with Chester Morris and Wallace Beery. The sets were still standing and some of the additional footage was languishing on the editorial shelves, so Roach put this picture into the works. It was Lau… (more)

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