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Laurel & Hardy  

 

ANY OLD PORT

Hal Rocah MGM, 1932.  Directed by James Horne.  Camera:  Art Lloyd.  With Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Julie Bishop, Walter Long, Eddie Baker, Harry Bernard, Ed Brandenburg, Bobby Burns, Baldwin Cooke, Dick Gilbert, Charlie Hall, Jack Hill, Sam Lufkin, Will Stanton, Frank Terry.

Sailors on leave, Laurel & Hardy check in at a sleazy hotel where they find that a pretty chambermaid is about to be forced to marry the gross and lecherous owner of the hotel.  They champion her cause, but in order to earn money to effect her deliverance, Laurel is forced to enter a boxing match.  His opponent turns out to be the would-be bridegroom.  By a fluke, Laurel does win the boutóbut his efforts are in vain and totally unappreciated by the girl, whose boyfriend has suddenly materialized to take her away from it all.

An unsubtle satire of the mood and central situation of Griffith's 1919 Broken Blossoms, with Walter Long, himself an old Griffith villain, in the equivalent of the Donald Crisp role, Any Old Port is a singularly disappointing Laurel & Hardy effort.  Hardy has some excellent dialogue, especially in the sequence where he sells Laurel to a fight promoter, and from the advance money eats a hearty meal, denying any food to the starving Laurel because he is "in training."  But the climactic fight is surprisingly dull and unfunny, especially so in comparison with the similar and hilarious sequence in Chaplin's City Lights of the previous year.

The Films of Laurel and Hardy
by William K. Everson
The Citadel Press, 1967

Additional photo courtesy of Gary