What’s this – Laurel & Hardy nude scenes?!! I thought that’d get your attention. Don’t worry, although the boys are skinny dipping along with a number of other squaddies (ooh err!), their modesty is thankfully preserved and all is well hidden.
‘With Love and Hisses’ is once again a Hal Roach penned Stan Laurel comedy, with Oliver ‘Babe’ Hardy playing a supporting role, pitted against Stan as a bruising bully of an army Sergeant. Alongside them both is the returning Jimmy Finlayson, as the army Captain and once again Finn plays his part very well. He has clearly already mastered his craft. This film also provides another outing for Anita Garvin, fresh from her role with the boys in Why Girls Love Sailors. This time Garvin plays one of philandering Finn’s lady friends, who Ollie makes a play for (under the fuming gaze of his Captain). One stand out marker of how far away from the familiar ‘Ollie’ character we are in this film is when Ollie gets into a rather heavy handed pushing match with Anita Garvin. Not at all what we’re used to from the soft, southern gentleman of the team’s iconic pictures.
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I must admit I find it hard to watch these early comedies where Ollie is pitted against Stan, in often such brutal fashion. I guess it’s down to the affection I’ve nurtured for them and their established characters over the many years I’ve been studying them. To then come back to these ‘pre-team’ films is quite a shock to the senses.
But, putting my offended sensibilities to one side, I will say that this is not a bad film. It has some good laugh-out-loud moments. I particularly liked the scenes on the train, especially Stan’s reaction to the stinky food being consumed by the guy opposite him in the train’s cramped compartments and the pie flying through the window into Finn’s face. There’s also some classic moments where Stan is in the inspection line-up and his Captain is not impressed, to say the least.
Building on the ‘special effect’ from the previous film (water down Stan’s jumper), this film includes, count them, THREE ‘special effects’. There’s Stan’s inflating and deflating gas mask on the train (very funny), Stan’s throbbing feet whilst on the foot march back to camp and then finishing with the freak ending of hugely swollen bottoms caused by multiple bee stings to their rear ends!
Certainly worthy of inspection, but I’d rather see the boys united against the world instead of fighting against each other.
What did you think of With Love and Hisses? Do you have a favourite scene? Join the discussion and share your thoughts below.