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Laurel & Hardy and Laurel & Hardy
I’ve banged my head pretty hard! I’m seeing double!
The ‘Our Relations’ and ‘Dual Roles’ Shorts’ DVD of ‘Laurel & Hardy’ contains one of my favourite films as well as two related shorts featuring them. The three films have one thing in common. Laurel & Hardy play more than one character as they play themselves twice. I love stories that have doubles of the characters we know and love.
I enjoy it when I see how the trouble and the comedy increases with Stan and Ollie meeting their twin brothers; their little boys and their identical wives with put-on female voices in these films. The ‘Our Relations’ and ‘Dual Roles’ Shorts’ DVD is something you don’t want to miss out on. It features ‘Our Relations’; ‘Brats’ and ‘Twice Two’.
‘Our Relations’ is definitely my favourite from the ‘Laurel & Hardy’ film series. It’s a film that doesn’t rely a lot on slapstick, but more on situation and identity crisis as our leads play doubles.
Supporting characters get confused as Stan & Olie get mistaken for their twin brothers Alfie and Bert. This is a lovely little film that I enjoy watching again and again whenever I have the chance.
Stan and Ollie receive a letter from Ollie’s mother who tells them their twin brothers Alf and Bert are dead. But these twins aren’t dead as they come off from the sailing ship, the Periwinkle.
Alf and Bert are asked by their captain to pick up a package containing a pearl ring and to meet him at a beer garden. At the beer garden, they meet Alice and Lily before treating them on shore leave.
Low for cash, Alf and Bert go to their friend Finn who has taken their salary for ‘saving’. Finn refuses to give their money back and they end up with no clothes on and get stuck at his place.
Stan and Ollie soon turn up at the beer garden with their wives and are immediately mistaken for Alf and Bert. It all leads to an identity crisis where the Captain hunts them for the pearl ring.
This DVD contains two versions of the film – the black and white version and the colour version. I prefer the black and white version. It has more extended scenes compared the colour version.
The black and white version also has some really funny scenes. When Ollie tries to read the letter from his mother, Stan eats celery nosily and always interrupts Ollie. I couldn’t help laughing at that.
Other scenes that were cut from the colour version and still in the black and white are either scenes to set up characters or places. This includes introducing Alf and Bert and the Pirate club.
This is a comedy classic that works well for Laurel & Hardy as they both play dual roles very well. It is confusing though as the twin brothers aren’t too dissimilar from the original Stan and Ollie.
Alf is just the same as Stan and Bert’s just the same as Ollie. You can tell the difference between them when Alf and Bert wear sailor outfits whereas Stan and Ollie wear their trademark clothes.
James Finlayson guest stars as Finn, a ‘friend’ of Alf and Bert. Finn is a perfect foil for L&H with his ‘doh!!!’ and funny facial expressions. He’s determined to keep Alf and Bert’s savings in this.
I loved it when he mistakes Stan and Ollie for Alf and Bert and he gets his head splattered with mustard, his teeth smashed and his nose burned. It’s a treat to see Finny in these ‘L&H’ films.
The guest cast also includes Alan Hale as Grogan, the waiter at the beer garden; Sidney Toler as the Captain and Daphne Pollard and Betty Healy as Stan and Ollie’s wives ‘Mama’ and ‘Bubbles’.
There’s also Iris Adrian and Lona Andre as Alice and Lily, whom Alf and Bert fancy. And there’s Arthur Housman who plays a funny drunk joining L&H at the beer garden and the Pirate club.
I love ‘Our Relations’ a lot! It’s lovely L&H film and one I’ll always remember. It can still be enjoyed today, even with Stan and Ollie having their feet cemented and falling over the docks.
‘Our Relations’ rating – 10/10
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