For Reel

Our Relations (1936)
November 24, 2014, 5:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Harry Lachman
3.5 Stars
Our RelationsFans of Laurel and Hardy often consider Our Relations to be among the best of their feature films. This time, there’s a relatively involved narrative rather than a series of loosely-related gags–that is, the order of things is an absolute necessity. Moreover, legendary cinematographer Rudolph Maté was tasked with shooting the project, leading to a more dynamic visual style than is typically expected of the duo. Some of the locations–such as the beer garden that many of the early mishaps occur in–are textured by the shadows, creating a distinctly more atmospheric tone than a standard slapstick comedy. The plot concerns the long lost twin brothers of Laurel and Hardy visiting town, inevitably resulting in a comedy of errors in which the twins are frequently mistaken for each other. It’s elaborate and confusing in an appealing way, with the viewers becoming just as disoriented by the false accusations as the characters are. With anxiety being a driving force in the narrative, Maté’s moody cinematography is an apt fit–it contributes to a sort of nightmarish quality that is reminiscent of more serious-minded doppelgänger narratives.

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