(Review originally written at 1 November 2006)

This still is a perfectly enjoyable full length Laurel & Hardy movie that entertains 90% of its time but it yet at the same time is a slightly disappointing one as well, considering how much better with a few small changes it could had been.

The story is incredibly weak and simple and is based on a Balfe opera, so the movie also features lots of signing. Luckily not too much, so it never gets distracting or anything like that. The movie lets the story tell the story, rather than its actors, which means that Laurel & Hardy basically get very little interesting to do. The movie is really lacking in some great comical sequences with the boys and the trademark slapstick humor. It's still present in the movie but very limited down, to about 2 or 3 really great comedy sequences. There is way too little happening in the movie its story to make this an interesting or totally fun movie to watch. The movie also relies heavily on basically every cliché that exist about gypsies, which makes the movie feel a bit simple and cheap at times.

But the movie is far from a bore and actually a still perfectly enjoyable one. The boys make sure that the pace in the movie remains good and they time their antics and dialog well. It provides the movie with some good comical moments and a good fun feeling for the overall movie.

The Laurel & Hardy regulars also make sure that the movie is fun. Mae Busch yet again plays Mrs. Hardy in a way only she can. James Finlayson also shows up toward the ending in small role. His presence however makes a lasting impression since it's such a fun one. Thelma Todd also shows up again, in her last movie role before her suspicious death. Her role is very limited down in this movie, so it unfortunately is not the most worthy imaginable last role for her. Ironicaly it was due to her controversial death that her role was later altered and cut down from the movie, to avoid associating of the film with her death. Not the best way to pay tribute to a great comedienne actress from the '20's and '30's in my opinion but they had their (commercial) reasons for it.

It's just that the boys set their own standards so high with some of their previous movies that makes this movie a bit of a disappointing one. It's hard to rate one Laurel & Hardy picture without not having another and often much better and enjoyable one in mind. Having some critique on this movie doesn't mean that this is a bad one but just that it's not as good as their best works.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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