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  • Some Laurel & Hardy buffs prefer their domestic comedies, the ones where Stan & Ollie have wives and usually try to deceive them in some way-- with scant success, of course --but for hardcore fans there's nothing like watching the boys take on a construction project. Give them a basic task such as building a house, fixing a boat, or putting a radio antenna on the roof, a task requiring a certain amount of physical dexterity and skill, and you're in for twenty minutes of pure slapstick performed by experts. Busy Bodies is a two-reel masterpiece of this comic style, happily unencumbered with any unnecessary plot complications, largely because there's no plot. There's hardly any dialog, either. Stan Laurel doesn't speak at all until the halfway point, and utters only a few carefully chosen words even then. This film seems to have been an attempt to translate the team's silent comedy style into a talkie format, enhanced with cleverly chosen sound effects and the delightful background music of Le Roy Shield. I've always loved the opening gag, as the boys drive to work enjoying a familiar Shield melody ("Smile When the Raindrops Fall") in their car. When the song ends they pull over, then Stan gets out and opens the hood, revealing a phonograph with a record that's reached the end of a side. Stan pulls out another record from their collection, carefully wipes it off with his hand, puts it on and drops the needle. The jaunty tune resumes, and they drive on. Long before the days of tape decks or i-Pods, the boys found a way to supply their own cheery soundtrack music!

    Once the guys arrive at the sawmill where they work, however, the mood changes. They must deal with co-workers, and, worse, with their assigned tasks. Viewers expecting an actual story to develop (or hoping a young romantic couple will step in and sing a few songs) will wait in vain, for the rest of the movie consists entirely of Stan & Ollie's increasing messy, heroic, yet ultimately futile attempt to put in a day's work. Stan is apparently supposed to plane some lumber while Ollie adjusts a window frame, but nothing constructive is accomplished. Distractions abound. Props at hand include saws, hammers, nails, two-by-fours, blue-prints for Boulder Dam, and Ollie's severed necktie. A conflict develops with a co-worker (the invaluable Charlie Hall), and then further conflict erupts between Stan & Ollie themselves. A paintbrush is forcibly glued to Ollie's chin, and must be removed. Finally Ollie loses his temper and yanks the entire sink out of the wall. It slams into him and flings him backward. Consequently he is sucked into the building's disposal chute, hurled through its maze-like passageways, and violently ejected from the building in a kind of frenzied re-birthing experience, also receiving a brisk spanking along the way. But the movie's not quite over yet: after all this the boys lose their jobs, and must depart. The memorable closing gag employs a lethal-looking band-saw to impressive effect.

    The climax of Busy Bodies was excerpted for one of the Laurel & Hardy compilation films that came out in the 1960s, thus when I was a kid I was lucky enough to see the finale of this film on a big screen in a theater, where it was enjoyed by a loudly appreciative audience. I'll never forget the laughs that greeted Ollie's wild ride through the disposal chute. In the '70s I acquired a Blackhawk print of the film and still run it now and then, and it still makes me laugh. Laurel & Hardy never received the same degree of respect from critics and film scholars that some of their peers were granted, but for my money they were as great as any of the comedians of their era. And considering the competition, that's saying something.
  • Have you ever wondered why the government formed OSHA to help promote and protect worker safety on the job? This short demonstrates why OSHA was needed. No. It had nothing to do with unions or workers organizing. It all had to do with Busy Bodies as Laurel and Hardy turn the carpentry shop upside down, backwards and inside out.

    Safety violation 1. No smoking in the work place.

    Safety violation 2. Improper use of glue and adhesives.

    Safety violation 3. Tools used for purposes other than what they were made for.

    Safety Violation 4. Opening and closing windows improperly.

    Safety violation 5. Just being Laurel and Hardy.

    Did I mention that Laurel and Hardy were innovative and on the cutting edge of technology. They were the first to put a disc player in their car. The only problem is: Where's the motor? Their on board phonograph is durable though.

    Busy Bodies is a laugh fest and along with Help Mates and The Music Box is one of the best L&H shorts. For any L&H fan or for any fan of comedy, this is a must see.
  • This is probably the only movie that makes me cry of laughing each time I see it and I have seen it hundreds of times! Laurel & Hardy are really getting it on in this one.The way that Hardy gets "tortured" is unbelievable but never over the top.Just watch the scene when Laurel slams the door against Hardy after which Hardy slams the door back and gets a huge bucket on his head and then again the door,hilarious! Of course there is also the usual "in the camera looking" by Hardy(the scene with the sigar!).Busy Bodies is for me their best short feature and equals their long masterpiece Way Out West (10/10). Laurel & Hardy are truely the Kings of slapstick comedy,if you haven't seen this one you haven't lived! 10/10
  • It's amazing how many times Laurel and Hardy's best comedy short involve rather mundane scripts where the action is mostly confined to one setting. Instead of feeling claustrophobic, films such as this one and BIG BUSINESS are wonderful throughout and brilliant in their simplicity.

    Stan and Ollie are on their way to work and they talk about how much they love their new job as carpenters. It seems they are working at some sort of combination lumber yard and carpentry shop--which is really hard to imagine as this job would take both talent and brains--something the boys are sorely lacking! At first, the predicaments they get into are pretty mundane--such as Ollie getting his hands stuck in a window frame or getting a paint brush glued to his chin. However, as the film continues, the outlandish gags get bigger and crazier and the film ends with several of the most memorable stunts I have ever seen. However, so as not to spoil the film, I think it's best just to let you see it yourself.

    See this film. It's highly original (even though Stan and Ollie did several shorts where they are fixing or building things, this one is certainly unique) and amusing throughout--a truly standout film.
  • rbverhoef11 November 2003
    'Busy Bodies' is one of my favorite Laurel & Hardy shorts. In this one they work at a sawmill and you can imagine what can go wrong in a place like that.

    With some great and very funny scenes, one with A closed window and another one that reminded me of Chaplin's 'Modern Times' (this movie was earlier), make this a great Laurel & Hardy short.
  • While not as infamous as The Music Box, I feel certain that this must be one of Laurel and Hardy's best-remembered shorts. Lasting just under 20 minutes, it's arguably their most physical work, with an almost non-stop array of sight gags.

    A benefit of a Laurel and Hardy season on television is it gives you insight into characteristics that you'd forgotten. For instance, I never remembered Stan as being a grass, but he's always stitching people up (Pardon Us, Pack Up Your Troubles, et al) and here he gets a man thrown out for smoking. Stan's fight with the same man is the most hilarious moment of the eleven films screened during a Christmas season, but then this one is packed with many laugh-out-loud moments. That a film that is over seventy five years old can still produce such amusement is astonishing, but the duo are extremely good at what they do, and here at the top of their game. I won't give away the rest, but suffice it to say that Ollie's struggle with a sink and their car's clash with a sawmill is two of the funniest things I've seen in ages.
  • One thing that puzzles me is how many of these L&H shorts feature absolutely no plot but I never seem to notice this because I`m too busy laughing . BUSY BODIES is set in a sawmill but that`s it , there`s no central plot , just a series of incidents which show the genius of Stan and Ollie .

    This is certainly one of the best shorts because it showcases the duo at their most typical , Ollie gets gets hit over the head by falling objects while Stan turns to the camera and shrugs . There`s also a fight scene that had me in stiches , okay I knew what the pay off was going to be as soon as Stan said " Cigar " but you`d need to be crippled by clinical depression not to surpress a smile at this

    A seventy year old black and white film with no plot and it made me laugh . I can`t think of a better compliment
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • 'Busy Bodies' is my favourite short from Laurel and Hardy. Even today it still makes people laugh.

    It's strange seeing real stunts in films now but it makes this short much funnier. Stan Laurel plays his character very well, evoking sympathy from the audience and providing most of the comedy in this part as usual. Oliver Hardy's role is the ordinary guy (as ordinary as he can be) and his character reacts to Laurel's unusual character. They both work together very well and it is easy to see why they both had such successful careers together.

    The script in this short starts out with them on a normal day going to work, getting on well with each other, singing in the car (or trying to in Stan's case). As soon as they arrive at work their behaviour and intelligence is shown to be anything but normal and hilarity ensues. From start to the very end this short will make you laugh despite them both only saying a few lines each.

    If you have not seen any Laurel and Hardy films then this would be a great place to start, it is by far one of their funniest.
  • The short is bookended by lovely titles with a saw rolling across, gorgeous. Any comedy short is only as good as its set pieces, so I break them up thusly:

    * The car, with its special radio, is great and reminds me of a story I heard about John Lennon who apparently had a record player in his fancy car, but you can only use it when you're stopped for a picnic for example, not while you're driving.

    * The sawmill, with wood everywhere you walk. Belly laughs.

    * The boys fight quite a bit, in the way the Three Stooges became famous for later.

    * The window. Goes a bit long.

    * The chute. Incredible.

    * Sawing a (something) in half. Brilliant. This gag: 10/10

    A great first short to see from my new 21-disc set.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    I liked the finale where Ollie goes thru those pipes and gets stuck in the wall. Good stuff! They don't really do as much w/ the premise as you would think--monkey w/ the stuck window frame here, get the car sawed in half there, get into a scrape w/ a mean co-worker, break things, etc. You know the general mayhem but not much beyond that.

    What works of course is their chemistry, timing, unique mannerisms, etc the whole nine yards. You don't get better than L and H when it comes to that.

    And like another person said, the look at the 1930's era sawmill set-up...WOW now wonder OSHA and the like came into being later on. Dangerous machinery and then some! ***1/2 outta ****
  • Laurel and Hardy are going to their job at a saw mill that manufactures window frames. However confusion over a stuck window frame and a break down of safe working procedures leads Hardy to become more involved in the manufacturing process than he would have hoped to be.

    For those who write scenarios for Laurel and Hardy to do their routine within, a factory surely must have not been that hard to think of! In terms of all the stuff that could go wrong it is a real gold mine. This short doesn't use that potential as well as it could, spending a lot of time on a static sequence with a window frame and Hardy's fingers. However the high point is where Hardy falls into machinery.

    My job involves working with environmental legislation and I was as interested in the factory as I was in the humour! I was in wonder at the way the waste was simply sprayed out of a vent onto a hard standing area. Besides this I was also in awe of the stock footage of men using unguarded saws and pushing bits of wood around blades with it mere inches from their faces! How times have changed for the better.

    Aside from this professional distraction the film was pretty funny but best once it got more adventurous towards the end. Laurel and Hardy are as good as ever with Hardy taking the brunt of the punishment and thus getting the majority of the laughs.

    Overall more could have been made of the factory setting as it only really gets imaginative in the final few sequences. Aside from that this served me as a curiosity piece about how manufacturing used to be carried out.
  • Maybe not as hilarious as the current rating on here would suggest but this movie is pretty hilarious.

    This movie is what Laurel & Hardy is all about. A simple premise, a single setting and plenty of room for the boys alone to show their slapstick- and silly antics.

    Of course the movie and everything that happens in it is absolutely predictable. But then again Laurel & Hardy movies never have been about its surprises. It's all about the timing and the execution of it all, that makes the jokes and slapstick work and make the movie hilarious to watch.

    Some of the comical moments are stretched out a bit too long in the movie but some other hilarious moments and the ending, surely compensates for this. It also isn't their most original movie (although the ending surely is) and many comical moments were already used in previous Laurel & Hardy. Not the first time they did this as well but as always it doesn't really matter, since it works just as powerful, fun and hilarious, no matter how predictable or unoriginal it ever gets. Leave it up to Laurel & Hardy to make a movie like this one work as an hilarious and fun one.

    I consider this to be one of the Laurel & Hardy must-sees, since this is one of their most generic movies and shows what Laurel & Hardy movies in their essence are all about.

  • This is one I remember from childhood, and while the passing of a few decades means Laurel and Hardy's antics might no longer be absorbed with the unquestioning adoration and unbridled willingness to laugh at anything and everything they do, it's still easy to forgive them for the occasional lapse of quality. The boys knew what their audience liked and wanted and they delivered it over and over again: the same facial expressions, the same reactions, the same phrases. What sets them apart from other comedy teams whose collection of prepared reactions and responses haven't stood the test of time is the inventiveness they managed to maintain for most of the 1930s.

    The boys are employed by a saw mill in this one, and at the beginning of the film all is well with the world. Of course, this being a Laurel & Hardy film, such a state of affairs isn't allowed to last and it isn't long before they're trading punches with workmates and Ollie has a paint brush glued to his chin. Stan barely utters a word for the first five minutes which is, perhaps, an indication of how this film could easily have been made without sound. All the gags are visual (apart from the unique car radio).
  • cfeather11 January 2007
    This gem is pure Laurel and Hardy, no plot, just the boys having fun in a lumberyard.

    They use the props available to their absolute best advantage. There is very little dialogue, and it's unnecessary, as they show their tremendous ability to get laughs from the simplest situations and without engaging in vulgar comments today's "comedians" depend upon to get a laugh.

    This is a timeless classic. I would rank it as their best, with the possible exception of Tit for Tat, Brats and Towed in a Hole.

    It's unfortunate that DVDs of this classic are not readily available in the U.S. at this time.
  • 'Round about 1971, when I was nine, my dad brought home a projector from school and some 16mm films from the public library. One of those films was "Busy Bodies" and the antics of Stan and Ollie hooked me immediately. This has to rank as one of their finest, since it is just THEM, no silly romantic subplots or intrusive musical numbers: just twenty minutes of unrelenting mayhem. Before taking my nephew, who is the same age now as I was then, to a Sons of the Desert meeting, I showed him "Busy Bodies" and now he has the same interest in L&H as I did (and still do!). Thanks Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy--you made the world a little better place.
  • A Laurel & Hardy short feature with a good variety of gags, "Busy Bodies" has the two raising havoc in a woodworking shop. The shop's tools, materials, and workers furnish good background material to the pair's own valiant but doomed attempts to make themselves useful. There is a wide range of comic material, from old standbys like Ollie getting conked in the head repeatedly by two men carrying a board across his path, to clever ideas like the "radio" in their car. There are also some very funny interactions with the shop's other workers.

    This is a funny short comedy that all Laurel & Hardy fans will enjoy.
  • A LAUREL & HARDY Comedy Short. Stan & Ollie have taken a job at a lumber mill. Arriving for work, they quickly become BUSY BODIES by making a shambles of their carpentry shop & antagonizing both their foreman and a bullying co-worker.

    A fun little film, with good slapstick. Once again, Ollie's gracefulness during the physical comedy is nothing less than astonishing.
  • This 1933 short is Laurel and Hardy at their best. "Busy Bodies" is right, as our two buffoons go to work at what looks like a complete wood-working plant. It's one mishap after another with Stan and Olie. And, they get another couple of workers in on some mishaps as well.

    Driving to work, Olie tells Stan to turn on some music. Stand pulls a lever attached to a string and the music plays. When it stops, Olie stops the car and Stan gets out, goes around the front, opens the hood and changes records on the LP record player. But that's just to warm up the audience. The real humor is in the hilarious goofs they make at work.

    This is priceless, wonderful comedy - always good for much laughter.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This L&H comedy short could have been filmed without sound, with little loss of comedy content. It's filled with slapstick and sight gags, and focuses almost exclusively on the duo, with a little Charlie Hall friction. When the boys drive into the lumbar yard where they work, they blow their horn, and Charlie drops his armful of sticks in panic. Later, Charlie complains they are bothering him, and socks Stan on the chin. There follows some back and forth socking involving the 3. Then, Charlie calls for a truce. Stan offers him a cigar(not the exploding kind!). He decides to smoke it there, ignoring the nearby 'no smoking' sign, which Stan point out. Along comes a huge worker, who carts him off after seeing him smoking............ When the boys arrive, they walk into the building and, immediately, Ollie walks into a board being moved. Soon, both do. Later, Ollie does again, in a running gag.........Stan can't find a free place to hang his jacket. So, he hammers a nail into the wall. Unfortunately, it's too long, and pierces a water pipe behind, causing a leak.(I've seen this in an earlier film of theirs).........Ollie is fiddling with a window frame. He can't get the upper or lower windows(lacking glass) to move up or down. He calls for Stan's help, and Stan eventually gets them to move, but Ollie's fingers are caught between the frame and the window, both above and below. Stan spends some time trying, in vain, to free his fingers. Finally, he gets up on a table and pushes, knocking Ollie off balance, causing Stan to fall on him, causing the window frame to come apart........Then, Stan is planeing a board, and Ollie bends over one end region. Without looking up, Stan pushes the plane over Ollie's rear, ripping a strip of his overalls out.. He puts glue on the strip, and puts it back in place(But, the strip will only stick to what's underneath?)........In retaliation, Ollie partially bends a straight saw, then lets it fly, hitting Stan in the head . Ouch!. That probably hurt more than when Ollie was hit in the head by a falling circular saw blade. Stan retaliates by sticking the paint brush in the glue bucket onto Ollie's chin. like a beard. It sets very quickly, and neither can get it off. From Stan's pulling, the handle eventually comes off, leaving the bristles as a more convincing beard. Stan clips the 'beard' with scissors, then gets the idea to use a small plane like a razor, to trim the bristles to the skin. If real, Ollie's lower face would be a bloody mess! .........Stan accidentally soaks Ollie with a hose. Ollie angrily pulls on the hose, amazingly, pulling the sink off the wall! , and sending him reeling backwards. Somehow, he gets caught up in a vertical belt that sends him up and down, finally to deposit him in the hopper of the long, snaking, sawdust disposal duct. We see he has quite a ride in the duct, to the external opening, where he gets stuck. Stan tries to get him unstuck but, strangely, a keg of shellac dumped in the hopper(why?) pushes him out, flying onto the roof of a shed, which collapses.(Things sure were flimsy in those days!)........They get in their car to exit from a bad day. But, for some reason(?), Ollie drives into a giant band saw, which saws the car in half!! (How's that for fantasy?). The film ends with Stan turning on the phonograph they installed under the hood(bonnet), to provide some exit music. I definitely recommend that you see this film if you like L&H-style humor. See it at YouTube. I watched the colorized version, but the B&W version is also present.
  • Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were comedic geniuses, individually and together, and their partnership was deservedly iconic and one of the best there was. They left behind a large body of work, a vast majority of it being entertaining to classic comedy, at their best they were hilarious and their best efforts were great examples of how to do comedy without being juvenile or distasteful.

    Although a vast majority of Laurel and Hardy's previous efforts ranged from above average to very good ('45 Minutes from Hollywood' being the only misfire and mainly worth seeing as a curiosity piece and for historical interest, and even that wasn't a complete mess), 'Two Tars' for me was their first truly classic one with close to flawless execution. 'Busy Bodies', one of their more well-known for good reason, for me is up there with their best and certainly among their funniest, 'The Music Box', 'Helpmates' and 'Towed in a Hole' are a few other examples of this.

    Can't really find anything wrong with it, was past caring this time as to whether the story was standard or not because it gets to the point and has a lot of energy throughout, on top of being riotously funny in its best moments.

    From start to finish 'Busy Bodies' is great fun, never less than very amusing and the best moments, such as the whole business with the doors, being classic Laurel and Hardy. It is never too silly, there is a wackiness that never loses its energy and the sly wit is here, some of the material may not be new as such but how it's executed actually doesn't feel too familiar and it doesn't get repetitive. A lot happens yet it doesn't ever feel rushed or over-stuffed. The second half especially is a sheer delight and hilarious, despite the viewer being in no doubt how things were going to end.

    Laurel and Hardy are on top form here, both are well used, both have material worthy of them and they're equal rather than one being funnier than the other (before Laurel tended to be funnier and more interesting than Hardy, who tended to be underused). Their chemistry feels like a partnership here too, before 'Two Tars' you were yearning for more scenes with them together but in 'Busy Bodies' and on the most part from 'Two Tars' onwards we are far from robbed of that. Their comic timing is impeccable and they handle the physical comedy, which 'Busy Bodies' is heavily reliant on, with adept ease.

    'Busy Bodies' looks good visually, is full of energy and the direction gets the best out of the stars, is at ease with the material and doesn't let it get too busy or static. Simple it somewhat is but it doesn't ever get overly so.

    In summary, one of Laurel and Hardy's best. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This Laurel and Hardy short runs just under 20 minutes, and there is so little plot one suspects this was a rush order concocted to meet a deadline. Who cares? This allows the boys to build up a sublime slapstick trashing of Ollie! Has his character ever suffered more? Just about every plank carried by someone at the sawmill is destined to meet Ollie's face; in a great tit for tat said face gets belted several times, only to have a paste brush glued to it by Stan! I was in pleats watching Stan then try to remove the offending item, before finally pulling off the handle in a vice, cutting the brushes down, and shaving Ollie with a plane! A beautifully worked gag that fully illustrates the stars' genius.

    And it doesn't end there for poor Oliver! Nuff said. This may not have a story but it's very funny, and the gag invention level is superb. What strikes me about L & H is how varied their comedy could be, from this pure slapstick affair to the carefully constructed plots of Sons of The Desert and Our Relations.

    Marvellous stuff. Best comedians ever for me.
  • BUSY BODIES is another of Laurel & Hardy's best shorts. In fact, the shorts which featured the pair as handymen inevitably provided the best backdrops for their unique brand of slapstick-heavy comedy; check out THE MUSIC BOX and THE FINISHING TOUCH for more of the same.

    This one's well remembered as the one set in the sawmill, as the accident-prone twosome get up to all sorts of mischief. The short almost writes itself with a string of outrageously funny gags in which the pair fall foul of various tools as they attempt to carry out their work. At one stage, BUSY BODIES becomes a live-action cartoon when Ollie is sucked into a chute and we see his body being thrown around; great special effects.

    Unsurprisingly, both actors are at the top of their game here and watching their interplay is funny in itself. The short as a whole feels fresh and inventive and it's the sort of thing I could watch again immediately upon finishing it, it's that good. Check it out!
  • This is twenty minutes of utter choreographed chaos. These guys were the best. Here, they are working in a sawmill. Before the get to work, they have a whole scene involving their car. They actually have a Victoria under the hood, so they can listen to music. Anyway, we all know that a sawmill is plethora of deadly tools and situations. Once the two get going, they begin to do incredibly harmful things to one another, leading to a gigantic conclusion. The things they do are beautifully timed and hilarious. The comic timing is great two. This one is more physical than most, but it still has wonderful interaction between the two fellows. Like most of the Laurel and Hardy films, there is that moment where one could despair. They always seem resigned to being at odds with the world.
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