Hog Wild (1930 film)

Infobox Film
name = Hog Wild


caption =
director = James Parrott
producer = Hal Roach
writer = H. M. Walker, Stan Laurel
starring = Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy

music =
cinematography = George Stevens
editing = Richard Currier
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
released = 1930
runtime = 19 min
language = English
country = USA
budget =
preceded_by = "Below Zero"
followed_by = "Pardon Us"
imdb_id = 0020979

"Hog Wild" is a 1930 short film starring Laurel and Hardy, directed by James Parrott, and produced by Hal Roach.

Opening Title

"Amnesia! Mr. Hardy was beginning to forget things, but Mr. Laurel had no fear of losing his memory -- As a matter of fact, Mr. Laurel never had a memory to lose--"

Plot

While Ollie's wife is setting the table, we hear a loud series of offscreen noises, before Ollie opens the door and enters the dining room. "Where is my hat?" he demands of his wife, ignoring the fact his hat is on his head.Mrs. Hardy: Well, why don't you look for it?"Ollie: Why don't I look for it?! I've looked everywhere for it!Mrs. Hardy: Everywhere?Ollie: Yes, everywhere a hat might be! That's the trouble with you wives. You're always hiding things so we husbands can't find them. Why I can't even find a telephone in this house! But I'll find that hat if it's the last thing I do!Ollie rings the dinner bell, then shouts for the maid. "Yoo-hoo! Tillie!" When Tillie the maid enters from the kitchen, Ollie asks her, "Have you seen my hat?" Tillie stares in disbelief at Ollie, then looks at Mrs. Hardy. "Why, I...." "Don't stand there stuttering!" Ollie shouts, "have you seen my hat?" "Of course she's seen your hat!" Mrs. Hardy says, adding "You may leave" to Tillie, who exits back into the kitchen giggling. "How do you expect me to uphold the dignity of my home when you belittle me in front of the servants?" Ollie asks. Finally he catches sight of his reflection in a mirror and realizes his hat has been on his head the entire time. Hastily, he takes it off while his wife's back is turned and stuffs the hat under his coat. His wife, seeing the hat is now gone, exhibits a look of disbelief, while Ollie coyly simpers into the camera before announcing sternly, "I'm going to take one more look for it. And if I don't find it, have a care!" He leaves the room while Mrs. Hardy gives another look of disbelief to the camera, then re-enters holding the hat. "Oh, you found it!" exclaims Mrs. Hardy. "Yes," replies Ollie. "What was it doing under the bed?" Putting on the hat again, he readies himself to leave, only to be stopped by his wife. "Now where are you going?" "Why, I have an appointment with Stanley." "What about our radio?" "What about it?" The radio hasn't been working, Mrs. Hardy reminds Ollie, because Ollie has been "too indisposed to put up an aerial." "I'll put it up tomorrow," Ollie says, attempting to hurry out of the room, but Mrs. Hardy halts him with "You'll put it up today! Right now!" and emphasizing her words by smashing a plate on the tabletop before exiting into the kitchen. With his wife out of the scene, Ollie tries once more to sneak out, but an ominous rumbling from the kitchen forestalls him, and he begins taking off his coat to begin his chores.

Meanwhile, Stan is en route to the Hardy home in his Ford Model T and manages to drive straight through a four-way intersection, narrowly avoiding two collisions, because he was preoccupied watching a flapper lifting her skirt to step over a puddle. Stopping in front of Ollie's home and observing Ollie climbing a ladder to the roof, he tries to attract Ollie's attention by whistling. Finding he cannot whistle, he blows the Model T's horn, causing the ladder and Ollie to topple to the ground. "I thought you were going to meet me," Stan says. "I was," Ollie explains, "but I've got to put the aerial up. Mrs. Hardy wants to get Japan." "Gee, I'd like to hear Japan too," Stan admits. "Do you mind if I help you?" "I don't mind," Ollie says, and adds after a pregnant pause, "that is, if you'll help me!" Stan backs his car into Ollie's driveway and in shutting the engine off causes the car to backfire, so that a flame shoots out the exhaust and singes Ollie's derriere. Ollie shouts in pain while Stan goes to a lily pond, attempts to bring back water in his cupped hands, then tries to fill a pail from the pond using his cupped hands, before finally using the pail to dip up enough water, most of which he throws into Ollie's face. Ollie looks into the camera sadly in a reaction shot, and Stan finishes by tossing what little water remains in the pail onto Ollie's burning pants. Ollie grabs the pail from Stan and hurls it at Stan's head, but the pail misses and crashes through a window of Ollie's house. Aroused by the noise, Mrs. Hardy comes to a window to investigate. Stan picks up the poles for the aerial, only to strike Ollie on the head; Ollie snatches the poles from Stan's hands so that they shatter another window. Mrs. Hardy then appears in the broken window, holding her nose (apparently the poles hit her too!) and conks Ollie with a frying pan. Ollie now places the ladder on the floorboards in the rear of Stan's Model T, instructing Stan, "The quicker we get the aerial up, the quicker we can get away." "Oh!" Stan assents in comprehension. Ollie begins to climb the ladder, followed closely by Stan. Stan misses a rung on the ladder and stumbles, grabbing onto Ollie's suspenders as he falls back down to the foot of the ladder. He lets go of the suspenders, which slingshot Ollie in the back of the head and knock his hat off. The hat falls down to Stan, who throws the hat back to Ollie. Ollie gestures for Stan to come up.

Ollie reaches the roof of his house. Stan follows him, but while standing just behind Ollie he slips and saves himself from falling off the roof only by grabbing Ollie's left leg. Ollie howls in fear and falls forward onto the roof. "W-w-why don't you be c-c-c-careful?" he admonishes Stan. "Have you got everything?" Stan asks. "Everything," Ollie assures him. "We don't have to go down for a thing." Ollie instructs Stan to take one aerial support pole to the opposite gable end of the roof. Stan walks along the roofpeak as if it were a tightrope, using the pole for balance. The other pole has been left near Ollie's feet and Ollie, not seeing it there, slips on it and slides headfirst off the roof into the lily pond. Stan, having nailed the pole to the gable end, turns around and, not seeing Ollie, peers over the edge of the roof. "What did you go down for?" he asks plaintively as Ollie extricates himself from the lily pond. Ollie climbs back to the roof and instructs Stan to clip the aerial wire to the pole Stan's just erected. Stan, unable to reach the top of the pole, bends the pole down to clip the wire on, then allows the pole to spring upright so the wire, of which Ollie is astride, trips Ollie and causes him to roll off the roof and into the lily pond a second time. Ollie again splashes his way out of the pond and climbs the ladder, this time with a length of wood with which he threatens to strike Stan in exasperation. Instead he nails a support to the roof, causing a large chunk of plaster to fall from the ceiling below onto Mrs. Hardy, who is reading a magazine, and who looks at the camera in angry bewilderment. Ollie next ties a rope to the chimney, then loops the other end around his waist before tying it tightly. He motions for Stan to climb on his back while he rests on all fours, so that Stan can connect the wire to the wires running overhead. As Stan stands on Ollie's back, the roofing shingles under Ollie give way, and both roll off the roof, disappearing over the edge while an enormous amount of water splashes up from the lily pond below. We next see the chimney, to which Ollie is still tied, crumble and collapse, showering Stan and Ollie, now together immersed in the lily pond, with soot, dust and bricks. When the dust settles Ollie looks upward to the roof: a remaining brick drops on his head. Mrs. Hardy, once again aroused by the commotion, opens a window and looks down at Stan and Ollie. "Will you stop your playing!" she commands.

Ollie tells Stan, "I think you'd better go into the house and I'll pass the wire down to you." Instead of entering the house, Stan remains in place, dusting himself off, so that Ollie shoves him in exasperation. "Well, go ahead!" Stan opens a window and looks upward to Ollie, now on the roof, just as Ollie drops a hammer, around which is wound the length of wire, directly onto Stan's head. Stan unwinds the wire and tosses the hammer back up to Ollie, but fails to throw the hammer high enough and the hammer falls and hits him on the noggin a second time. "Hook that on binding post A!" Ollie instructs. Stan touches the wire to the wrong post, causing an explosion on his end and sparks to electrocute Ollie, who falls backward down the hole where the chimney had formerly stood. Ollie's wife gasps as Ollie lands in the fireplace at her feet. Recovering, she tells Ollie, "I think you'd better let that aerial go." "I'll get that aerial up if it's the last thing I do!" Ollie says in determination. He stalks out of the living room, followed by Stan, who in imitating Ollie's determination blunders into a table and lamp, knocking both over.

Once again outside, Ollie warns Stan in frustration, "if you don't be careful, I'm gonna break your neck!" He starts to ascend the ladder, but Stan, entering the Model T right behind Ollie, slips and steps on the starter. The Model T starts down the driveway, carrying Ollie and the ladder along, and out into the street, around a corner, narrowly misses a car, drives under a bridge which the ladder barely clears, and onto a busy city street. The ladder weaves back and forth as Stan attempts to steady it while keeping one hand on the steering wheel and avoiding another collision with a car. The Model T passes a double-decker bus and the ladder rests against the upper, open portion of the bus, allowing Ollie to tip his hat to the passengers. The bus halts at a stop; the Model T and ladder continue and the bus passengers shriek as Ollie and the ladder, now unsupported, fall to the ground. As Ollie rests on the ground, the bus starts up again, blowing its horn to warn Ollie out of its path. Ollie Shivers with fright at what he's just experienced as his wife runs up. "Oh, Oliver, this is terrible!" she exclaims. "Don't worry about me, dear, I'm not hurt!" Ollie says. "I'm not crying over you," his wife replies. "The man [from the finance company] came and took the radio away!" With a resigned look, Ollie accompanies his wife into Stan's car, which is parked behind a trolley car. Stan attempts to restart the car, but the engine won't catch, and while Stan plays with the gas feed lever and spark levers, causing a series of backfires, we see a second trolley in the background approaching along the tracks. A policeman and two women on the sidewalk shield their eyes as we hear the sound of an immense collision. We then see Stan's Model T squashed into an accordion shape between the two trolley cars. The first car leaves; the motorman of the second leans out the window and shouts, "Hey, get that thing out of the way, willya?" Stan starts the Model T, and drives the ridiculously misshapen vehicle away as we fade out.

Cast and Production Credits

* Stan Laurel
* Oliver Hardy
* Fay Holderness (Mrs. Hardy)
* Dorothy Granger (Tillie, the Hardys' maid/Flapper crossing puddle)

*Produced by Hal Roach
*Directed by James Parrott
*Cinematography by George Stevens
*Film editing: Richard Currier
*Sound recording: Elmer Raguse
*Dialogue and opening title: H. M. Walker

*Music: William Axt (introductory fanfare); Marvin Hatley ("Ku-Ku"); Alice K. Howlett (song: "Smile When the Raindrops Fall"); Charley Chase (song: "Golfer's Blues")

Production Notes

Action and dialogue scripts written March, 1930. Filmed in early April, 1930. Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, May 31, 1930. Copyrighted December 9, 1930. Filmed in Culver City, California (interior scenes at the Hal Roach Studios, exterior scenes in Culver City). (Source: Randy Skretvedt: Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies).

Film Analysis

Although this film begins with a scene devoted to Ollie's problems with amnesia, the comedic possibilities that might arise from this are dismissed once the main action of the film - putting up the aerial - gets under way, much in the way other Laurel and Hardy films introduce a potential storyline only to dismiss it in favor of what Stan called "milking" a single gag situation.

A significant part of this film is devoted to variations on a single gag, repeated three times: that of Ollie falling off the roof into his lily pond. Each time, fresh gags and camera angles help to retain the viewer's interest, while fulfilling viewerly expectation about the outcome. On the first plunge taken by Ollie, the entire fall is shown via a montage of shots all varying in angle and composition: (1) we see a close-up of Ollie's foot slipping on the misplaced pole; (2) we see Ollie in full shot, falling forward; (3) we see a medium long shot of Ollie sliding face-first down the incline of the roof; (4) we see an overhead shot of the lily pond, into which Ollie drops; (5) we see a sustained shot of Ollie splashing in the lily pond, sitting back upright, and extricating a lily pad from his face. Each subsequent plunge deploys this last shot while omitting all the preceding establishing shots: the gag works by virtue of the viewer's familiarity with the context of each fall, and in knowing the demouement to be identical as well as unavoidable. Additionally, each plunge thereafter focuses more and more on the reactions of both Ollie and Stan to this deterministic fate; each plunge culminates not just in the physical violence of the splash but in our anticipation of Ollie's increasingly resigned glances into the camera as he rises from submersion with the lily pad again stuck to his face.

Although this is a fairly early sound picture (Laurel and Hardy had been making sound films for about a year when Hog Wild went into production), it demonstrates the sophistication with which the team employed sound and sound effect to enhance what is essentially visual humor. The opening scene begins and concludes with offscreen noises suggesting the emotional turmoil or impatience of unseen characters. Ollie's second tumble off the roof is shown not by footage depicting the actual fall, but by a sustained shot of Stan peering over the edge of the roof, shot from a low angle, while the soundtrack carries the noise of Ollie's "ohhhhhh!" followed by a loud splash: we view Stan's reaction to these sounds and the offscreen action rather than focus on the action itself. The third variation on this gag likewise deploys sound to heighten the gag: we see Stan and Ollie fall off the edge of the roof, disappearing out of the bottom frame of the image, then cut to a shot of the collapsing chimney and the roar of bricks tumbling, before picking up a reaction of Laurel and Hardy in the pond. And, at the film's conclusion, rather than witnessing the streetcar/Model T collision, we are given a cutaway shot in which bystanders react to the event while the soundtrack conveys the noises appropriate to such a catastrophe.

Dramatic irony also functions throughout this short film. Laurel and Hardy viewers know that when Ollie states he'll accept Stan's help "if you'll help me", it is a prelude to disaster. Ollie's repeated exclamations that he'll accomplish a task "if it's the last thing I do" serve to heighten the incompetence and comedic frustration he expresses as the task of erecting the aerial soon grows to unmanageable proportions. Finally, the film provides an exposition of Laurel and Hardy's ongoing relationship with the hardships inherent in matrimony: Mrs. Hardy can be demanding and, at the film's conclusion, a little unsympathetic to her husband, but Ollie is no model husband either, being both forgetful and short-tempered.

A highly regarded film at the time of its initial release, "Hog Wild" was cited by British documentarian Basil Wright as being ahead of its time in its "proper" use of the cinematic medium. Wright particularly noted the manner in which sound was used to emphasize offscreen events. Present-day critics likewise place this film highly in the Laurel and Hardy canon: William Everson, in his book The Films of Laurel and Hardy, distinguishes it as one of their best two-reelers and notes the final sequence with the car bears more the influence of Mack Sennett than is commonly found with Laurel and Hardy.

Like other Laurel and Hardy films of this period, "Hog Wild" was refilmed in both Spanish and French versions in which Laurel and Hardy spoke phonetically the respective languages. The French version was titled "Pele Mele"; the Spanish version "Radio Mania". In England, as "Hog Wild" was an American idiomatic expression, the film bore its working title of "Aerial Antics."

ee also

*Laurel and Hardy films

External links

*


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