Duck Soup, Another Fine Mess and Modern Times

Duck Soup
Not to be confused with the Marx Bros. comedy, this is “a long-lost Laurel & Hardy, literally of cornerstone importance since it was their first film together for Hal Roach, and in fact their first appearance together anywhere, other than their accidental semi-teaming for sequences of a 1917 comedy, Lucky Dog. The incredible thing about Duck Soup is how naturally and easily the two comics gravitate together, working as a team even though the film was not written with that in mind.” -W.K.E.

• Directed by Fred Guiol. Produced by Hal Roach-Pathe. Based on the Music Hall sketch “Home From the Honeymoon” by Arthur Jefferson, Laurel's father. With Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Madeleine Hurlock, William Austin. (1927, 30 mins, silent, Print courtesy of WKE)

Another Fine Mess
“A mere three years later, the team well established, and Roach in the interim having moved from Pathe to MGM, Duck Soup was remade as a talkie. The team elements have been strengthened of course, and Hardy's slightly abrasive (and unshaven) character in the original softened. It has been polished, the motivation slightly changed, and the sound track of course allows for the employment of much double-entendre dialogue undoubtedly taken directly from the original music hall sketch.” -W.K.E

• Directed by James Parrott. Produced by Hal Roach-MGM. Photographed by George Stevens. With Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Thelma Todd, James Finlayson. (1930, 30 mins, Print courtesy of WKE)

Modern Times
For Modern Times Charles Chaplin once again defied motion picture industry convention and produced a silent film nearly ten years after wholesale conversion to dialogue films. In 1934 it was rumored that Chaplin did shoot some test sequences in an attempt to outfit the famous tramp character with a voice, but soon gave up the whole idea as foredoomed. Charlie was born silent, it was through silence that he became a universal figure, and silent he would remain. Except for a short song Chaplin sings in complete gibberish near the end of the movie, dialogue is heard in Modern Times only from loudspeakers and television screens.
“...(A)s a comment on modern times or indeed on all ages, the emergence of the little man is a perfectly sane and serious matter. For Charlie always is the symbol of Free Will; his form of liberty may not die upon the barricades; it does better than that. It pops round the corner and catches the enemy in the flank.” -Ivor Brown, National Film Theatre.

• Directed, Written, Edited and Music by Charles Chaplin. Photographed by Rollie Totheroh, Ira Morgan. Art Direction by Charles D. Hall. With Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Chester Conklin, Stanley Sandford, Henry Bergman. (1936, 89 mins, Print from Paramount Non-Theatrical)

This page may by only partially complete.