Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Bonnie Scotland" with Laurel and Hardy (1935)

“Bonnie Scotland” has always been one of my secret “fun” films by Laurel and Hardy. The plot is fairly simple. Despite the title “Bonnie Scotland”, a large portion of the film actually takes place in India, where the boys get into some mischief, by which they manage to save the day.

The film begins in Scotland, where Stanley is convinced that he is heir to a fortune, which turns out to be somewhat true, but not quite what they expected. As a matter of fact, he has been left a set of bagpipes and a snuff box. That’s the beauty of these films. You can start the film knowing the ending; the fun is in the way that they arrive at their goal; or not! Through a set of unusual circumstances Oliver is left with no clothes, and as a result of a misunderstanding the duo wind up in the army, serving in India. 

A Hal Roach Production, directed by James W. Horne, starring two of the best film comics, this film is a true classic which I remember watching many times on a grainy TV set in the late 1950’s. Outstanding support roles by veteran character actors Vernon Steele as Colonel Gregor McGregor, and the ever frustrated James Finlayson as Sergeant Major Finlayson round out this truly classic film. Cleaned up and sharpened in image, these films represent a classic era of film making in America; a time when improvisation was the rule simply because there were no rules.

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