Laurel and Hardy in “The Music Box”
Today is the anniversary of the release date of Laurel and Hardy’s The Music Box (1932), considered by many to be the greatest comedy of all time. Its virtues are strictly formal, of course. It’s a movie about two (rather dumb) working stiffs moving a piano up the longest staircase in the world. The beauty is how MUCH comedy they milk out of this simple premise, and how it builds and escalates, and continues to keep on giving all the way through. Directed by James Parrott, this movie won an Oscar for best short in 1932 — one of the few times in history an American comedy masterpiece has gotten the kind of recognition it deserves.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.