Laurel & Hardy are street musicians, whose rendering of "In The Good Old
Summertime" on accordion and bassoon during a snowstorm wins them
neither friends nor monetary reward. Frustration follows
frustration, until finally their instruments are kicked into the street
and, on cue, demolished by a passing truck. Cold and hungry, they
have the good fortune to find a wallet in the street, and rush into a
nearby eatery. Ordering a sumptuous meal, and anxious to share
their good fortune, they invite the local policeman to join them as
their guest. Graciously he acquiesces—but when the bill is
presented, it develops that the wallet they have found is his.
Attempting to escape his wrath, Hardy hides in a trash can, and is
collected by the garbage truck; Laurel hides in a rain-barrel, from
which he emerges, grotesquely bloated, having drunk all the water.
A curious, bizarre, almost surrealist
comedy, Below Zero is methodically paced (without being slow) and
almost without dialogue until the closing sequence in the restaurant,
where Hardy orders the most succulent of dishes and engages in bantering
small talk with the cop. The early exchanges with non-music-lovers
in the street (one of them is an elderly lady who smashes a milk bottle
on Hardy's head, and destroys his accordion) are likewise largely
silent. Yet it is a situational rather than a sight-gag comedy,
one of their oddest, and if not one of their funniest, then certainly
one of their cleverest.