Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Saps at Sea" - Laurel and Hardy (1940)

“Saps at Sea” is one of the most famous of all the Laurel Hardy shorts, primarily because it speaks to the stress of the common man. Just as in Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times”, in this film the workers are exploited by bosses more concerned with the bottom line than with the well-being of their fellow human beings. And, just as in real life, all people have different breaking points, as evidenced by the diverse reactions of Stan and Ollie to the constant exposure to the sound of the horns in the factory where they work.

While Stan is not at all bothered by the mundane task and repetitive noise, the more intellectually inclined Oliver is literally driven nuts by it all. When he is forced to take some time off for his mental health it becomes evident that we live in a world devoid of silence. This is a very funny look at life in the modern world. And, although over 70 years old, this film is still applicable today with the 24/7 news cycle and the ever present social media leaving us even less silence than ever before.

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