Employed by a municipal orchestra, playing on
the bandstand in the park,
Laurel & Hardy soon lose their jobs when they run afoul of the
conductor, mix up all the sheet music, and generally ruin his performance.
Threatened with eviction by their landlady, they seek their fortune as
Their spectacular lack of success has them
tiffing and, in a burst of rage, Laurel throws Hardy's trombone into the
street, where it is rolled flat by a truck. They eye-poking,
coat-ripping argument soon develops into a shin-kicking foray which like a
raging fever spreads to and embraces all the passers-by. The
struggling mass of bruised and cursing humanity soon finds an additional
outlet for its hostility in a sudden frenzy of pants-ripping.
Strangers are sucked into the great whirlpool of thrashing arms, legs and
bodies, disappearing from view, their pants sailing away in mid-air.
Even the cop who tries to stop it all, holding tightly to his trousers as he
does so, finds them ripped away by the fierce-visaged Laurel, suddenly
sobered when he discovers that he has de-pantsed the long legs of the law.
He and Hardy, long since down to their own underwear, make a hasty but
graceful retreat, both encased in one oversized pair of pants, tipping their
hats politely in farewell as they disappear round a corner.
A variable comedy that gets off to a bad start
by relying too much on gags that need sound for punctuation (the precise
timing of tapping feet and reactions to single notes of music in the
bandstand sequence suggest that originally it may have been planned for
music and effects), You're Darn Tootin' regains its stride fairly
quickly. The boarding house breakfast is a charming sequence with
Hardy's fruitless efforts to charm and cajole the landlady; by-play with
salt and pepper shakers that Laurel loosens slightly, so that the entire
contents are dumped into Hardy's soup, was reworked in one of their talkies,
Hoosegow. The shin-kicking, pants-ripping finale is one of
their best and most meticulously constructed sequences of controlled
savagery, similar to and in many ways better than the great pie fight.
In passing, it is worth mentioning another Hal
Roach comedy of 1928, A Pair of Tights, which was presumably intended
for Laurel & Hardy, and diverted away from them either because their already
full schedule of ten two-reelers for the year could not accommodate it, or
because it also contained a shin-kicking episode too close to that of
You're Darn Tootin'. Edgar Kennedy and Stuart Erwin starred in
what were unquestionably roles tailored to
Laurel & Hardy, and Charles Hall
had some of his best fall-guy footage. It's a pity that
Laurel & Hardy
didn't make it, for it was both fast and sophisticated, and might well have
been on of their major works. Even as it is, it can be considered a
minor comedy classic.