Laurel & Hardy in BERTH MARKS (1929) – “Will you stop crowding?”

Berth

Berth Marks is only Laurel & Hardy’s second sound short, and the uncomfortability shows. “Laurel and Hardy get on a train” is about all the plot there is.

There are some minor chuckles when Stan and Ollie inadvertently cause a clothes-ripping melee with the passengers they leave behind them. After that, The Boys grapple simultaneously with (a) cramming themselves into a small upper berth, and (b) trying to convert their silent-movie comedy into sound style. In the (b) category, Ollie categorically and repeatedly proves that “Don’t hit me like that!” and “Will you stop crowding?” are not his greatest ad-libs.

20th Century-Fox later made movie infamy when they chose to re-do this movie’s berth sequence in the feature The Big Noise and refused Stan Laurel’s suggestion to update the comedic potential by moving the setting to a pocket-ridden airplane. Leave it to Fox to choose one of L&H’s worst routines for repetition.

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