7 August 2007 | tavm
The Dancing Masters is pretty entertaining, if uneven, Laurel and Hardy comedy
In a remarkable coincidence, I found out in the morning paper that today is the day Oliver Hardy died 50 years ago. That made me want to watch The Dancing Masters right away since I checked that out of the library last Sunday. Since this was one of Hardy's and partner Laurel's latter-day features they made for, in Stan's words, "those Fox people", there isn't much in the way of logic in the comic set pieces that are depicted here but for the most part the movie is pretty amusing with many laughs and smiles from me when the boys are by themselves or whenever they have someone new, like leading lady Trudy Marshall, participate in one of their routines. In fact, Ms. Marshall recounted to one L & H biographer how she told Stan and Ollie how she'd love to do comedy so they let her in the "Mixed Hats" routine in which she also incorporated plates. She became known as "One-Take Marshall" from that incident in her cherished memory! Also appearing, without credit, was Robert Mitchum in one of his early thug roles, here talking a little fast for his usual character. Also, Margaret Dumont, usual Marx Brothers foil, provides some amusing moments. Alas, the movie falls apart at the end with a really illogical bus chase that mixes obvious back projection scenes with obvious model scenes to uneven results. Stan's line at the end does partially make up for that. So while The Dancing Masters is not an L & H classic, it's certainly worth a look for die-hard fans of the boys. Rest in eternal peace, Mr. Hardy.