The following is my contribution to Order in the Court! The Classic Courtroom Movies Blogathon, being hosted June 10-13, 2016 by Lesley and Theresa at, respectively, their blogs Second Sight Cinema and Cinemaven’s Essays from the Couch. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ tributes to a variety of legally-themed movies!
(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)
It all starts rather innocently, on a rainy night. Stan and Ollie are up before a judge (Rychard Cramer at his most menacing) for vagrancy. He gives them 24 hours to get out of town. They happen to meet up with a hapless drunk (Arthur Housman) and help him retrieve his house key. In return, he invites them into his home, only it turns out not to be his home, but the home of the sentencing judge who, by the way, doesn’t like drunks. It was all perfectly innocent — wasn’t it, Judge?
What it is is a gem, some tried-and-true (the getting-into-the-house routine is liberally borrowed from Night Owls), mixed with the surprisingly provocative (Vivien Oakland, midway between her harridan in We Faw Down and her indulgent but uncomfortable fellow passenger in Way Out West).
And for those who think that Laurel, as the uncredited director-editor of the L&H comedies, had no directorial style, I refer them to the final scene, in which medium-shots of an (innocently, believe it or not) drunken Stan, Ollie, and wife are intercut with close-ups of the disbelieving judge’s face, which speak volumes. Scram! plays like a risque joke with all of the naughty words politely bleeped out.