Laurel & Hardy in CALL OF THE CUCKOOS (1927)


After The Second Hundred Years proved a big hit, Laurel and Hardy were rushed into an extremely wacko cameo in Call of the Cuckoos. Along with Charley Chase and James Finlayson, The Boys portray a set of neighbors that drive Mr. Gimplewart (Max Davidson) to move to another house in which everything goes wrong almost as soon as he steps foot in the new place.

L&H’s shananigans are little more than an excuse to clown around home-movie style, but they provide almost the only laughs in an otherwise sub-sitcom short. The collapsing-house routine was done far better by Buster Keaton in his short One Week, and based on his mugging here, the once-popular Max Davidson seems to have based most of his comedy on the hand-wringing Jewish stereotype.

Strangely enough, the L&H compilation feature Laurel and Hardy’s Laughing ’20s provides this short almost in its entirety, but in entirely separate modes–the Max Davidson footage is shown and discussed completely apart from the L&H footage. Maybe that’s the best way to think of it, too.