Scram! (1932)

Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Richard Cramer, Arthur Housman,
Commanded to "scram" out of town by a cantankerous judge, poor vagabonds, Stan and Ollie, slip into something more comfortable to spend the night at a sympathetic inebriate's home; however, is this the right house?
  • 7.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2022-07-31 Added:
  • H.M. Walker, Writer:
  • Ray McCarey, Lloyd French, Jack Lloyd, Director:
  • Producer:

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7 / 10

In praise of the Hal Roach Studio stock company

Laurel & Hardy were in their prime when they appeared in Scram!, a terrific two-reel comedy that's funny from the start and builds to an uproarious finale of drunken mayhem. This is the one where Stan and Ollie are vagrants, ordered to leave town by an ornery judge (the magnificently irascible Rychard Cramer) who harbors a special hatred for drunks. When the boys come to the assistance of an intoxicated playboy (the supremely sozzled Arthur Housman) who has lost his car keys he rewards them with an invitation to his home, then takes them to the wrong address. Through a series of unfortunate misunderstandings the guys wind up sporting silk pajamas in the boudoir of the lady of the house (Vivien Oakland) and proceed to get her quite merrily intoxicated, only to learn, belatedly but in the most unmistakable fashion, that they are in the judge's house and the lady is his wife. Mayhem ensures, but it's strangely "innocent" mayhem where the guys are concerned.

Sounds nightmarish, doesn't it? Actually it's hilarious, really one of the best Laurel & Hardy shorts of all. Something I admire about their characters is their sincerity, the sense that they're just being themselves and never straining for a laugh. I love the way Ollie politely addresses the judge as "Your Highness," just as I love the way Stan always blurts out precisely the wrong thing at times like this. And it's amusing as ever to watch as the boys try to break into a house the hard way, in their time-honored fashion. But as wonderful as they are, a few words should be said on behalf of the supporting players in these comedies. Some of the key members of the stock company (i.e. Jimmy Finalyson, Mae Busch, Charlie Hall, etc.) appear frequently and often deserve co-star status, but the three main supporting players seen here, while not so well known, each make a major contribution toward the success of this short. Rychard Cramer is so scary in his brief appearance as the judge in the opening scene that his angry words seem to echo long after he's gone -- foreshadowing his return, which plays like something out of a Noir melodrama or even a horror movie. The perpetually hammered Arthur Housman is given a rare opportunity to perform an extended version of his drunk routine, and more than holds his own opposite Stan & Ollie. But it's Vivien Oakland who gets the best sequence, a prolonged and hilariously pointless laughing jag with the boys that makes the boudoir finale the highlight of the film. This scene is a guaranteed laugh-provoker that defies the viewer NOT to join in the hilarity.

At a time when most of their contemporaries were still struggling to adjust to the new technology of talkies, silent comedy vets Laurel & Hardy had already mastered the new medium and were funnier than ever. Their voices suited their screen characters perfectly, their comedy was enhanced by the delightfully bouncy music of Le Roy Shield and Marvin Hatley, and the supporting roles were filled by a crew of distinctive, gifted players who look like they're having the times of their lives. All these years after the films were made, that sense of fun still comes across.

10 / 10

Stan, Ollie & The Best Screen Drunk Ever.

The sight of Stan and Ollie trying to help a drunk retrieve his keys from under a large grating on the sidewalk, is without a doubt one of the funniest visual moments in any of their movies. The great Arthur Housman, once again plays the screen drunk, just as brilliantly as he did in "Our Relations" and "The Fixer Uppers". It may lag a little in the mid section, but it soon makes it up in the end.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone. A film for all the family and only 20 minutes long. The film is seventy three years old and is as funny now as it always was. That's what make Laurel & Hardy so good, their comedy is timeless. The perfect film to introduce someone to the lovable duo.

6 / 10

Vagrants

Scram finds Laurel&Hardy being told to Scram, as in scram out of town. Judge Richard Cramer who has no tolerance for drunks and vagrants tells them to get out of town after they've been caught sleeping on a park bench.

In 1932 that would have gotten a lot of sympathy from the movie audience as it seemed about half the country had similar sleeping quarters. Still this judge is a mean one.

Fortunately they find an amiable drunk in Arthur Housman whom they help in true Stan and Ollie fashion break into his house and he invites them to spend the night out of the rain. In breaking in there are a whole treasure trove of gags.

Once in the lady of the house is not thrilled with their presence.

All I can say there is heed the words of Paul Newman who says it is best to use gin when drinking with a mark in The Sting. Water in a gin bottle is most effective. But in this case it's gin in a water jug. Also effective.

The last gag is the end to a perfect evening for Stan and Ollie.

A most timely Prohibition era short subject.

7 / 10

Merry Mayhem With Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy

LAUREL & HARDY Comedy Short.

An angry judge orders vagrants Stan & Ollie to `SCRAM!' or they'll be locked-up. Before they can obey, a good deed performed for an inebriated millionaire precipitates the Boys into a crazy series of misunderstandings.

A hilarious little film. Highlight: the wild romp with the lady of the house. That's Richard Cramer as His Honor; Arthur Housman as the drunk; and Vivien Oakland portrays the lady.

6 / 10

Uproarious Laurel and Hardy comedy

SCRAM!

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Sound format: Mono

(Black and white - Short film)

Ordered out of town by an aggressive judge (Richard Cramer), two vagrants (Laurel and Hardy) become involved with a drunken motorist (Arthur Housman) who invites them home. Unfortunately, he takes them to the wrong house...

Brilliantly constructed short film, directed by Raymond McCarey and scripted by H.M. Walker, in which L&H fall foul of the same judge on two separate occasions, with hilarious (and painful) consequences. Cast alongside some of the best comic actors of the day (Housman is note-perfect in his signature role, while Cramer plays it straight as the no-nonsense judge), L&H ply their trade with consummate skill, and the scene in which co-star Vivien Oakland gets blind drunk and sets off a chain reaction of uproarious laughter is a joy. Wonderful stuff, a highlight of L&H's distinguished career.