Thursday, May 31, 2007

"We'll protect your rights until your last penny is gone!"

Your weekly Clark and McCullough fix is here; Odor in the Court (1934), the most highly regarded film of what's left of their canon. Bobby is more of a dynamo in this film than ever before, if such a thing is possible, and Paul, after so many shorts where he barely speaks, suddenly has laughlines and loads of background throwaway gags. Clark and McCullough have often been compared to the Marx Brothers, a comparison you can take or leave, but it must be said that the Marxes were never, ever as aggressive and completely in-control as Bobby and Paul. Even in Duck Soup, the Marxes' most unbridled picture, Minnie's boys are still outsiders running riot in a world of oh-so serious adults. In Odor in the Court, as in many of their best pictures, Clark and McCullough are scheming insiders bending the world to their whims, no matter how bizarre. I'm particularly fond of the establishing shot of their thoroughly savaged office, destroyed as an unavoidable consequence of their desire to play horseshoes indoors.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Blogger paul etcheverry said...

Thank you - these guys are a riot! I've been wanting to see this film ever since I read about it in Leonard Maltin's long out-of-print THE GREAT MOVIE SHORTS (I was a mere zygote at the time).

What do you know about the Fox shorts? The one I've seen, BELLE OF SAMOA, is essentially a revue that C&McC happen to host. It's along the lines of other 1928-1929 "vaudeville show" style short subjects - and completely different from the RKOS.


1:23 PM  
Blogger Aaron Neathery said...

I've been dying to see "Belle of Samoa" for years! How is it? No one seems to know the fate of the rest of Bobby and Paul's Fox shorts, but I suspect that most were lost in the 1937 Fox vault fire.

8:01 PM  
Blogger paul etcheverry said...

"Belle Of Samoa" is fascinating historically, but not a hilarious short on the level of "Odor In The Court" or "The Iceman's Ball". I saw it a very long time ago.

It's mostly production numbers by Samoan dancers, introduced and followed by snappy patter by C&McC. Like a fair number of "dawn of talkies" shorts I've seen, it offers an invaluable record of what "a night at the show" would have been like in 1928. Also reminds me of the revue style shows from the very early days of television.

Yes, the 35mm original of this very likely burned up with all those two-reelers starring two premier third bananas: Lupino Lane and Lloyd Hamilton (the silent era's version of Rodney Dangerfield).

7:03 PM  
Blogger Aaron Neathery said...

I wonder how "Belle of Samoa" managed to survive. I once bid a couple hundred dollars on a safety print of it on Ebay, so clearly it was in circulation at some point in the 40s or 50s. All I know is that Fox continues to renew the copyrights on it.

I'm going to post a couple of clips from Warners' "The Show of Shows" here in a few weeks, one of which is the Floradora Boys number with Hamilton, Lane, Turpin, etc.. At least here, Lloyd Hamilton reminds me of Zero Mostel!

9:13 PM  

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