The Big Noise (1944)

Director:

Malcolm St. Clair

I don’t know why this movie always gets such a bad rap. I think it is funnier than any of the other non Hal Roach films (this was a 20th Century Fox release.) It is considerably different than many of their other movies (no pies in the face, no cars sawed in two, and no vase smashing) because of ration issues during World War II. (Although it claims to have no destruction in it that’s not entirely true because Ollie gets his pants ripped up in the hallway in one scene.) But you can definitely detect wartime feelings abounded during production. Indeed that’s the story. Eccentric California Inventor has been driving the patent office in DC crazy with goofy prototypes. He finally may have struck a chord with a “blockbuster bomb that sounds like a popgun.” DC is interested but they’re not the only ones that are interested.

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Next door kniving neighbors who are mixed up with a cadre of gangsters are also eying the explosive to send to the Axis powers. In a telephone mix-up (purpetrated by the Inventors son, a very young Robert Blake) he is advised to guard the bomb with his life. The solution? Enter Laurel and Hardy. Two wannabe detectives working for a now vacant janitor office (all employees are on government business). With no options they accept the job to guard the bomb. The job is carried out in usual Laurel and Hardy fashion: first Ollie makes friends with a streetlight that has been freshly painted, then Stan wrecks havoc on an expensive painting, and the old codger father-in-law explains to Stan the dangers of his daughter who lives in the house. That’s just the beginning… Some funny scenes to watch for- The light’s out scene in the push button bedroom, the train scene, and the rigged poker game. Possibly the funniest moment in this movie comes when Stan is playing “Mairzy Doats” on the concertina accordion. One of the funniest scenes I’ve seen! This is a great movie, don’t let others talk you out of seeing it.

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