25 November 2006 | MartinHafer
Of all the Boy Friends shorts I have seen, this probably is about the best
This was one of a series of "Boy Friends" films made by the Hal Roach Studios in the early 1930s. They are best described as being like the Our Gang characters all grown up. Now they are in their late teens and in most of their films they have adventures much like they would have when they were just kids, though this film is a bit different because it is the only one I have seen that shows them in college. One of the standout characters from this group is Mickey--who graduated from being a very unattractive freckled boy in the Our Gang series to a very unattractive teen with a HORRIBLE AND TOTALLY IRRITATING LAUGH! Uggh--every time he laughed, my blood pressure rose 50 points it was that bad! Fortunately, he didn't laugh much in this short. There was also a character that I've only seen in this film--an annoying and rather insensitively written stutterer. Despite these two characters, the film was an amiable time-passer.
The odd plot involves a fraternity coming up with the wacky idea that women are no good and they should all pledge to give up women. Given modern sensibilities, I know exactly what most people NOW would think about this, but at the time people probably didn't snicker at the homosexual implications and just accepted the film at face value! Unlike other Boy Friend films I've seen, this one has fewer stunts but a more complex plot--allowing the characters to develop into real people. This helps to elevate this film slightly above average, but it is still obvious that Laurel and Hardy and even Our Gang/Little Rascals were STILL the "big boys" at the studio--and as a result, they got the best gag writers and films. Oddly, because this was a second-tier film for Roach, it was passed off to a new and unproven director--George Stevens--who would later go on to direct some amazing full-length films, such as GIANT. For Roach, this isn't an isolated incident, as in the 1920s, Frank Capra was a gag writer long before he went on to be one of the truly preeminent directors in Hollywood.
A final couple notes--The sub-compact car in the film appears to be the same one Roach Studios used in at least one Laurel and Hardy film (OUR WIFE) and a Patsy Kelly-Charley Chase film (KELLY THE SECOND). It probably was in many other Roach films, but these are just two that come to mind. Also, Grady Sutton plays "Alabama". You'll probably recognize him from some later W. C. Fields movies or from the many films he appeared in during the 1940s.