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The Bohemian Girl


Bohemian Girl (1936)

     I previously expressed that I was not totally impressed by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy after seeing a couple of their shorts and was assured that I should persevere and check out their feature-length films. I’m glad I did because I found The Bohemian Girl quite entertaining. The flick is based on an opera about gypsies and a villainous count’s estate, but the comedic duo’s involvement has little to do with the plot until about halfway through.

     After some singing and discussion by the gypsies of how Count Arnheim dislikes their kind so much, we eventually reach Laurel and Hardy sitting outside a wagon. Hardy owns the wagon homestead with his wife, an evil, dominating sort who is having an affair literally right in front of him, and Laurel is the best friend who seems to live with them. The wife ends up kidnapping the young daughter of Count Arnheim –although it’s unclear why because she does not ask a ransom– and telling Ollie it is his daughter. The wife eventually runs off with her beau but announces the child is not in fact Hardy’s before she departs.
     Jump to a dozen years later and the girl is grown and living happily with her father and “uncle”. The girl wanders onto the count’s property where she is captured and threatened to be flogged. The men attempt to rescue her, but when the count notices a necklace she wears, he realizes the girl is is daughter.
     The Bohemian Girl is loaded with fun bits between the leading men. Sent to find a pouch of Oliver’s money, Stan searches under the pillow of the “sleeping” man and ends up squirming under the entire mattress in his plight and coming face-to-face with an awake Oliver who had to move from his bed to allow his friend’s clumsy efforts.
     Laurel continues to win me over as a favorite, especially after a scene alone with some wine. Tasked with bottling a barrel full of the intoxicant, the man gets the liquid flowing through a tube but in between bottles is forced to stick it in his mouth to prevent making a greater mess than he already is. When some bottles are corked, and Stan’s wits are diminishing, it takes even longer to get the wine to the bottle. The goof is pretty sloshed by the time Hardy finds him. I also enjoy that Laurel is quite airheaded and rather “stoned” seeming in his demeanor, yet he continually outsmarts Ollie. He also dupes several town folk with his hypnotic pickpocket routine and even has a man who Hardy sloppily robs arrested for taking back his own property. Needless to say, I’ll be open to more Laurel and Hardy pieces from now on.

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