slaytonf

The Music Box (1932): The Most Perfect Movie Ever Made

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Like a masterwork by Bach.  The exposition of a theme, and its variations, is unequaled for the way it presents its proposition, and elaborates its corollaries.  Elegant, spare, with not an unnecessary stunt, or missed bit of business.  The comedy is not solely visual.  The best of the aural humor are the sounds the piano makes bouncing down the steps.  For all of its ostensibly broad humor, it has sly, witty, and satiric undercurrents.

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Those long steps used in The Music Box still exist today, at 923 N Vendome Street in Los Angeles.

 

Stan and Ollie had used them for an earlier, now lost, 1927 short, Hats Off. They can be seen in a few other comedy shorts, as well, including a Charley Chase and, I believe, an Edgar Kennedy.

 

According to Wiki, the long steps used by the Three Stooges in An Ache in Every Stake are not the same ones upon which Laurel and Hardy had created some legendary comedy.

 

filename-pict0114-jpg.jpg

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When Roach Studios syndicated THE LAUREL AND HARDY SHOW back in the 80's, they colorized and added Ronnie Hazelhurst's recordings of Shield music to THE MUSIC BOX.  They, apparently, did not think the Oscar-winning short was perfect enough!

 

From premise to structure to the perfect balance between dialogue and sight gags, this is a remarkable three-reel comedy (which features one of Billy Gilbert's most sublime performances).  The progression of mishaps recedes and we are treated to a delightful little dance sequence, followed by the ultimate destruction of the title character.

 

Interestingly, when the film was released at least one theater owner writing in Motion Picture Herald's "What the Picture Did For Me" section compared the film to the Boys' now-lost silent short HATS OFF, which featured them delivering a washing machine on the same steps.

 

The Stooges did a variation in AN ACHE IN EVERY STAKE, but I believe it took place on a different set of steps (!!).

 

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The Stooges did a variation in AN ACHE IN EVERY STAKE, but I believe it took place on a different set of steps (!!).

 

Not to distract from the great Stan and Ollie, but An Ache in Every Stake is one of the GREAT Stooges shorts, made when Curly, in particular, was in his physical prime.I used to always think it was the same flight of stairs they used in this short as in The Music Box.

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h17m17s876_zps5jupj

 

Ache in Every Stake steps from the bottom

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h54m57s629_zps0czvw

 

Ache in Every Stake steps from the top

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h29m22s302_zpsa43vl

 

Music Box steps from the bottom

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h30m24s224_zpsi9aql

 

Music Box steps from the top

 

 

Guess I was wrong.

 

P.S. The Stooges short also has a manhole cover on the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairs that is not in Laurel and Hardy's short.

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GREAT PI

 

Not to distract from the great Stan and Ollie, but An Ache in Every Stake is one of the GREAT Stooges shorts, made when Curly, in particular, was in his physical prime.I used to always think it was the same flight of stairs they used in this short as in The Music Box.

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h17m17s876_zps5jupj

 

Ache in Every Stake steps from the bottom

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h54m57s629_zps0czvw

 

Ache in Every Stake steps from the top

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h29m22s302_zpsa43vl

 

Music Box steps from the bottom

 

vlcsnap-2016-09-14-07h30m24s224_zpsi9aql

 

Music Box steps from the top

 

 

Guess I was wrong.

 

P.S. The Stooges short also has a manhole cover on the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairs that is not in Laurel and Hardy's short.

GREAT PIX YOU POSTED!!!  Last I saw, but it's been at least a decade, those stairs were still-standing???

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Those long steps used in The Music Box still exist today, at 923 N Vendome Street in Los Angeles.

 

Stan and Ollie had used them for an earlier, now lost, 1927 short, Hats Off. They can be seen in a few other comedy shorts, as well, including a Charley Chase and, I believe, an Edgar Kennedy.

 

According to Wiki, the long steps used by the Three Stooges in An Ache in Every Stake are not the same ones upon which Laurel and Hardy had created some legendary comedy.

 

filename-pict0114-jpg.jpg

OOPS, I didn't see this pt when I just wrote that.  COOL THOUGH!

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  It also reminds me of a book I wrote about "The Three Stooges: Hollywood Locations'

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GREAT PI

 

GREAT PIX YOU POSTED!!!  Last I saw, but it's been at least a decade, those stairs were still-standing???

They sure look alike though  I also always thought that. & for over 30yrs now???

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It also reminds me of a book I wrote about "The Three Stooges: Hollywood Locations'

You wrote that? Oh, wow! I believe I saw it advertised on TCM some time ago, but was waiting to see if the price came down some. Will have to save up or beg Santa. I thought then and still do now what a wonderful idea because a lot of time when watching the Stooges, I like to note the background hills and such. That was California back in the day before development.

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   Ironically  both Stan & 0llie & The Three Stooges had in common the same *Academy (AMPAS) Award category for Best Comedy Short Subject, where "The Music Box" (l931-32) won the *Oscar-(not nicknamed that yet though) & 1934's "Men in Black" was nommed for it

 

I do agree on it being Laurel & Hardy's ultimate film, where many fans cite 1933's "Sons of the Desert"-(also the nickname of the fan club, which at one time held the world record for most fans)

 

Actually, I even rank 1937's wonderful feature "Way 0ut West" a bit over it

 

But "The Music Box' stands alone!!!

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While both Sons of the Desert and Way Out West had their moments as feature films, I suspect that most Laurel and Hardy fans regard their 20 minute shorts as the highlights of their careers.

 

Stan Laurel ranked The Music Box as his favourite of their career, and it's hard to disagree with his assessment. However, there are some great moments to be found in many of their other shorts, such as County Hospital, Scram!, Another Fine Mess, etc..

 

As a comedy team they also did some brilliant stuff during the silents, of course, too, with Big Business, in which they were Christmas tree salesmen (selling their product in July!) who declare war upon Jimmy Finlayson's home in a classic t i t for tat as he simultaneously attacks their car. Other silent highlights would include Two Tars, The Finishing Touch and Their Purple Moment.

 

Annex%20-%20Laurel%20&%20Hardy%20(Big%20

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I guess my favorites of their other shorts are Two Tars, Big Business, and T it for Tat (sheesh, what we have to do to avoid the Site nanny).

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While I agree that the team had a lot more success and comic brilliance with their shorts, I'd like to put in a vote for their feature, "Pardon Us".  My own love for Laurel and Hardy started with this movie (though I had seen their shorts, it was long before).  The jokes are good and there is enough of a plot to flesh out the material without boring the viewer.  There's also the added treat of Oliver Hardy singing - he had a nice voice. 

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I guess my favorites of their other shorts are Two Tars, Big Business, and T it for Tat (sheesh, what we have to do to avoid the Site nanny).

 

I forgot about T i t for Tat (1935). It was one of the last shorts that L & H made, and the boys (along with Charlie Hall as their store keeper nemesis) were in beautiful form. In fact, this short got an Oscar nomination, I believe.

 

1.LaurelHardy.jpg

 

Notice that impassive, observational look on Stan's face here as Ollie is getting the nose job from Charlie. That's a large part of the hilarity of their t i t for tat comedy shorts. They will dispassionately watch as their opponent sometimes makes obvious what he is about to do (cut off their tie, dump a pot of something on their head, etc.) and do nothing to prevent them from doing it. It is then their turn to strike back. Likewise, their opponent (Charlie Hall, Jimmy Finlayson) will let Stan & Ollie do whatever they are going to do his property or person before they seek their t i t for tat retribution upon them.

 

1321627117_6.jpg

 

One of the boys' best t i t for tat encounters was in their guest star appearance in the feature film Hollywood Party when they took on Lupe Velez. You just knew that Lupe could be stubborn and tough and she was a perfect matchup for them.

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Lots of good comedy in that short, at the top of my favorite Laurel and Hardy "shorts".  From them losing the piano and having to start it back up again, to the stupidity of once finding out they didn't HAVE to heave it up all those steps, they take it back down to bring it BACK UP on the wagon.

 

Stan riding on the crate unbeknownst to Ollie(until Stan jumps off when Ollie stops it), to walking the top of the ladder supposedly( inferred) into Ollie's eye.   And a personal eminder----

 

The scene in which they attempt to clean up their mess by walking back and forth depositing the same debri where it was in the first place reminded me of the time as when I was a kid, my stepbrother and I, on a camping trip with the folks, got Dad so mad we ran back and forth with the tent poles in a similar fashion. 

 

They did a LOT of hilarious shorts, HELPMATES being another of my "faves", but THE MUSIC BOX is indeed a masterpiece!

 

 

Sepiatone

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kept thinkin that hardy acted like Carson

 

johnny-carson-underwear-as-baby-ed-mcmah

 

"Well, here's another fine mess you got me in."

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Lots of good comedy in that short, at the top of my favorite Laurel and Hardy "shorts".  From them losing the piano and having to start it back up again, to the stupidity of once finding out they didn't HAVE to heave it up all those steps, they take it back down to bring it BACK UP on the wagon.

 

Stan riding on the crate unbeknownst to Ollie(until Stan jumps off when Ollie stops it), to walking the top of the ladder supposedly( inferred) into Ollie's eye.   And a personal eminder----

 

The scene in which they attempt to clean up their mess by walking back and forth depositing the same debri where it was in the first place reminded me of the time as when I was a kid, my stepbrother and I, on a camping trip with the folks, got Dad so mad we ran back and forth with the tent poles in a similar fashion. 

 

They did a LOT of hilarious shorts, HELPMATES being another of my "faves", but THE MUSIC BOX is indeed a masterpiece!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

What he said. If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say Beau Hunks is the one for me. Ollie completely smitten with Jeannie Weenie and Stan just not getting it and later joining the Foreign Legion. Hilarious. Non-stop hilarity.

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I just watched The Music Box again.  I love this short.  I've seen many of the Laurel and Hardy shorts.  Back in the 90s when I was in elementary/middle school, these shorts used to air on AMC Saturday mornings.  I used to watch them every week with my dad.  I guess these were my "Saturday Morning Cartoons" lol.  It's been probably twenty years since I've seen many of them.  

 

My favorite part of The Music Box is when they completely destroy Dr. von Schwartzenhoffen, MD, AD, DDS, FLD, FFF and F's house.  They ruin the doorbell, the door, flood the living room floor, tear a hole in the ceiling by pulling down the chandelier, and more.  I also like when, after the water spills out of the crate and onto the floor, Laurel tries to use a handkerchief to mop up the water.  He can't find a place to put the water.  Hardy takes off his hat, and Laurel starts wringing out his handkerchief into Hardy's hat.  Hilarious.  

 

I saw that there is a 10-disc Laurel and Hardy "Essential" Collection on Amazon.  I may need to request this as a Christmas present.  It's almost that time of year again (bittersweet feelings)!

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I saw that there is a 10-disc Laurel and Hardy "Essential" Collection on Amazon.  I may need to request this as a Christmas present.  It's almost that time of year again (bittersweet feelings)!

 

I have this box set.  It's great.  For anyone that's a Laurel and Hardy fan, it's a worthy investment.  Unfortunately, their silent shorts aren't included, but you have all (or most) of their sound shorts here, some with commentary, some that were done in foreign languages, plus some full-length films. 

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I have this box set.  It's great.  For anyone that's a Laurel and Hardy fan, it's a worthy investment.  Unfortunately, their silent shorts aren't included, but you have all (or most) of their sound shorts here, some with commentary, some that were done in foreign languages, plus some full-length films. 

 

The Laurel and Hardy Essential Collection, comprised of ten discs of their best material from the Hal Roach talkie period, is a must for L & H fans. It is, however, pricey. All 40 shorts done for Roach 1929 to 1935 are here, plus 10 feature films made at the Roach Studios, as well.

 

One of the rarer aspects of the collection, however, is the inclusion of seven of the foreign versions of the shorts that they made. Stan and Ollie would both speak French or Spanish phonetically (apparently Ollie was a natural at this; Stan less so). Some of these Spanish and French versions are actually longer than the English language versions of the same shorts, with extended sequences that didn't make it into the American releases.

 

hardylaurel.jpg

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I wouldn't say it's the most perfect film ever made.  But it's clearly underrated and Jessica Lange gives a very good performance.

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I wouldn't say it's the most perfect film ever made.  But it's clearly underrated and Jessica Lange gives a very good performance.

 

 

Hm.  Must've missed her.  Does she play Professor von Schwarzenhoffen's wife?

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On Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 9:11 PM, TomJH said:

While both Sons of the Desert and Way Out West had their moments as feature films, I suspect that most Laurel and Hardy fans regard their 20 minute shorts as the highlights of their careers.

 

Stan Laurel ranked The Music Box as his favourite of their career, and it's hard to disagree with his assessment. However, there are some great moments to be found in many of their other shorts, such as County Hospital, Scram!, Another Fine Mess, etc..

 

As a comedy team they also did some brilliant stuff during the silents, of course, too, with Big Business, in which they were Christmas tree salesmen (selling their product in July!) who declare war upon Jimmy Finlayson's home in a classic t i t for tat as he simultaneously attacks their car. Other silent highlights would include Two Tars, The Finishing Touch and Their Purple Moment.

 

Annex%20-%20Laurel%20&%20Hardy%20(Big%20

I love "County hospital", hard boiled eggs and nuts!, and the doctor hanging out the window and the way the beautiful nurse laughs when Laurel sits on a syringe. I also love "The music box", and as far as I know, those stairs are still standing, and I love that beautiful woman's laugh when the piano falls all the way down those stairs. Also, Billy Gilbert's yelling temperamental character, which he also plays in numerous Laurel Hardy shorts including the doctor in "County hospital". I also love "Oliver the eighth" with the mistress planning to cut their throats, that interesting candle and gold brick hanging over Laurel's head trap, and the hilarious invisible dinner scene. And one of my favorites, "We faw down" with them cheating on their wives and one of the most hilarious endings of any Laurel and Hardy picture with the wives chasing them with a shotgun and the men jumping out the windows and running.

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On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2016 at 11:28 PM, TomJH said:

Those long steps used in The Music Box still exist today, at 923 N Vendome Street in Los Angeles.

 

Stan and Ollie had used them for an earlier, now lost, 1927 short, Hats Off. They can be seen in a few other comedy shorts, as well, including a Charley Chase and, I believe, an Edgar Kennedy.

 

According to Wiki, the long steps used by the Three Stooges in An Ache in Every Stake are not the same ones upon which Laurel and Hardy had created some legendary comedy.

 

filename-pict0114-jpg.jpg

Of the 90 of the approx 190 shorts the "Stooges" made for *Harry Cohn & Columbia-(from 1934 until 1959) I have that one on VHS as well. & "The Music Box" is perfecto, even winning the *Academy Award for Best Comedy Short, ironically the same category "The Three Stooges" were up for but lost for 1934's "Men in Black"

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