Laurel and Hardy in “Jitterbugs”

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Today is the anniversary of the release date of the 1943 Laurel and Hardy feature Jitterbugs, directed by Mal St. Clair.

Any way I describe this movie will make it sound better than it is. Laurel and Hardy have a two man swing band, with a crazy machine that plays all the instruments. Somehow that’s not funny. They team up with a con man who is selling pills that turn water into gasoline. That’s not funny. There is a boring couple in love, singing boring songs. That’s definitely not funny. The main plot is about one con man trying to trick another con man back out of the dough he swindled away from his girlfriend’s mother. Laurel and Hardy are reduced to carrying water for the cigar store Indians who are the real center of the film. Okay, I take it back. I think I did it justice.

For more on silent and slapstick comedy, including the films of Laurel and Hardy, don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube

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