Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Lucky Dog - 1921

Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Jess Robbins
Writer: Jess Robbins (screenplay)
Stars: Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel and Florence Gillet
Release Date: October 1921 (USA)
Also known as: Cane fortunato (Italy), De geluksvogel (Netherlands - DVD title), Le veinard (France)
Filming Locations: Eastlake Park - 3501 Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA
Production Co: Sun-Lite Pictures
Runtime:Germany: 17 min  | USA: 24 min (uncut version)
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Dog | Landlady | Accident | Bag | Hit On The Head  |  Dynamite | Seeing Images After A Bang On The Head | Bandit | Butler | Automobile | Money | Trolley | Explosion | Hit With A Broom | Hit By Car | Fence | Kicked In The Butt | Animal Licking Someone | Seeing Stars After A Bang On The Head | Metro | Seeing Stars | Gun
Genres: Comedy | Short
In their first screen appearance together, Stan plays a penniless dog lover and Oliver plays a crook who tries to rob him and his new paramour.
This was Laurel & Hardy's first on-screen pairing – although not as a partnership: that was still 10 years away. Stan Laurel is the star, while Ollie – thinner than in his heyday, but still a hefty chap – plays a supporting role as a heavy. It's strange to see them working together as jobbing actors, neither of them aware, as we are, of what an important role each would eventually play in the other's life.
Stan plays a young man down on his luck. Evicted from his digs he's literally thrown into the street where he sees angelic women dancing around him. Mistakenly believing one of these ladies is kissing him he discovers it is actually a stray mongrel that has taken a liking to him. Stan takes a liking to a young lady, a passenger in a car who runs Stan over, and the dog proves useful in winning her over. Stan looks very young and gawky here, and there's very little sign of the mannerisms that would later become so familiar to his legions of fans. Hardy, a shy gentle man in real life, plays a ruffian with guns, always on the outlook for a fast buck. The lady's jilted beau hires him to put a bullet in Stan's head, but of course things don't turn out that way.
The first time Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were in a film together. In the film, Hardy was a robber who robbed Laurel at gun point.
This film was already made in late 1919, but shelved for several years.
The popular version of this short ends with the wealthy, dog-loving heroine falling for Stan because of his stray dog. The full version, where she takes Stan home to meet her father and the jilted boyfriend appears with the criminal (played by Hardy) to attempt his revenge, was re-discovered from William K. Everson in his last days. 
Revealing mistakes
Traffic can be seen going backwards when Stan almost gets hit by a streetcar.
Referenced in Columbo: How to Dial a Murder (1978). The murderers dogs are named Laurel and Hardy, The Lucky Dog was L&Hs first film together.
Featured in 30 Years of Fun (1963) - compilation movie, Classic Comedy Teams (1986)
Laurel & Hardy: Their Lives and Magic (2011)- Documentary about this title's stars.

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