One of Laurel and Hardy's best short films,BUSY BODIES is remarkable for having very little plot (even for a short) and almost even less dialogue.But the incident on show has enough variety and is so beautifully executed that any minor quibbles are irrelevant.It starts charmingly with the boys driving to work on a lovely morning,accompanied by the welcome and familiar sound of LeRoy Shield's background music on their 'radio'.The revealing of this 'radio' is very clever,which leads on to their job at a sawmill.This arguably leads on to the most spectacular slapstick ever seen in a Laurel and Hardy film,with the unfortunate Ollie always on the receiving end.In other less skilled hands,this action may have come across as crude,but here with these two comedic masters,it is technically superb,always funny if sometimes (especially with the shaving scene) a trifle shocking!
The stunningly conceived sequences,virtually all performed in mime (but with effective sound effects),are pleasantly counter-balanced by Stan and Ollie's subtle facial expressions and reactions,plus some amusing support performances by familiar foils Charlie Hall and Tiny Sandford.
A magnificent closing gag involving their car ends the film on a gloriously high note;it is only marginally below the standards of their most celebrated efforts like THE MUSIC BOX and WAY OUT WEST,but only very marginally,and certainly deserves to be in the top 10 or 20 films they ever made.Over seven decades on,this peerless pair of laughter-makers are as funny as ever.Great!
RATING:9 and a half out of 10.
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