Bert, Bob, etc..
Hal Horn of The Horn Section has posted a review of Wheeler and Woolsey's 1933 anything-goes anti-war epic Diplomaniacs as a part of his series on films that should be on DVD but aren't. At the moment, Bert and Bob are "officially" represented on DVD by public domain prints of Dixiana, Half Shot at Sunrise, and Hook Line and Sinker (all 1930). I have to agree with Hal that Diplomaniacs deserves a DVD release (while disagreeing with him re: Bert's singing abilities) and, as it was one of a handful of W&W pictures released on VHS by Turner Home Entertainment in the early 90s, I have to imagine that it's on some executive's short list should some minor W&W DVD box set ever come about. Unfortunately, the W&W features previously chosen for VHS release give me no faith whatsoever in the Turner corporation's ability to select a decent line-up of Bert and Bob's comedies. Woe for the uninitiated classic comedy fan who is led to believe that the flavorless kiddie flick Kentucky Kernels is in any way representative of Wheeler and Woolsey's best work. Even Diplomaniacs, as fun as it is, is less a showcase for Bert and Bob's talents than a large scale exercise in the kind of outlandish "nut" humor that also gave the world Million Dollar Legs and International Hotel. Perhaps one of these days The Powers That Be will realize what they're sitting on and release a box set including, at least, Cockeyed Cavaliers, Hips Hips Hooray!, The Cuckoos, and So This Is Africa. A man can dream, can't he?
And, while we're on the subject, here's an interesting article by David Boxwell on the gender/sex subtext of Wheeler and Woolsey's pre-Code output. There's enough debate fuel in this article for a series of good-natured fistfights, although some of the conclusions remind me a little too much of the ultimately misguided Another Fine Dress: Role Play in the Films of Laurel and Hardy.