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Film: The Music Box
The Music Box is a Laurel and Hardy short, released in 1932. It was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932. It has been considered culturally significant by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. It is also often mentioned as the greatest film the duo ever made.

The short itself depicts Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy as delivery men attempting to carry a large, heavy player piano up a long flight of stairs, and failing spectacularly several times. Once they finally do get the piano up the stairs they have even more trouble getting it into the house they're delivering it to. And to top it all off, the recipient of the piano is someone Laurel and Hardy angered while bringing it up the long flight of stairs, and was unaware he was getting a piano because his wife bought it as a surprise. He is not thrilled to see Laurel and Hardy invading his home and making a nice mess of things.

The film can be watched here.

Tropes


  • Aside Glance: As usual, Ollie pulls it off multiple times.
  • Agony of the Feet: Oliver steps on a nail, and it's Played for Laughs. Until you notice it is still stuck in his foot.
  • Amusing Injuries
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "I hate and detest pianos!"
  • D.I.Y. Disaster
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Addressed; the nurse is clearly shown to be in the wrong after slapping Stanley and breaking a bottle over Ollie's head, but the duo are the ones who get blamed by a policeman for when Stanley kicked her, which she claims is "molesting" her.
  • Epic Fail: It's just one right after another.
  • Groin Attack: Ollie gets poked in the groin, twice, by the policeman.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The nurse breaks a milk bottle over Oliver's head.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The police officer accuses Laurel and Hardy of 'molesting' the nurse, which at one time just meant 'bothering' without any sexual connotations.
  • Here We Go Again
  • Herr Doktor: Professor Theodor Von Schwarzenhoffen.
  • Instrument of Murder: Well, not really, it just causes them massive amounts of physical pain.
  • Jerkass: The nurse who laughs at Laurel and Hardy when she causes the piano to roll down the stairs again, and breaks a bottle over Oliver's head for laughing when she slaps Stanley for kicking her. Then she gives a policeman a one-sided story of what happened.
    • YMMV on that, as she was probably whacking Ollie on the head because he wasn't helping his friend up and laughing at his misfortune instead, which isn't very friend-like.
    • The professor, who loses his temper and goes on a long angry rant simply because Stan and Ollie asked him to step a foot to the side and go around.
  • Large Ham: Professor Theodore von Schwarzenhoffen.
  • Left the Background Music On: The music playing during the introduction turns out to be played by the piano, and it stops when a salesman turns it off.
  • Literal Ass Kicking: Laurel kicks a nurse who laughs at their misfortunes in the behind. Later a cop kicks Hardy.
  • Malaproper: Laurel, as usual.
    "Say, listen. Don't you think you're bounding over your steps?"
  • Meddlesome Patrolman
  • No Indoor Voice: Professor Von Schawarzenhoffen.
  • Now You Tell Me: It turns out that Laurel and Hardy could have taken the piano around the corner and avoided the stairs entirely, but they don't find this out until they finally reach the top. They then haul the piano back down the stairs and take the short cut. Naturally.
  • Overly Long Name: Professor Theodore Von Schwarzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F.F.F and F.
  • Piano Drop: The Trope Codifier.
  • Police Brutality: Not overly harsh, but the cop does get a little rough with the boys.
  • The Remake: The film is basically a remake of an earlier, silent L&H short called Hats Off (in which the duo attempted to navigate a washing machine up the same set of stairs).
  • Vandalism Backfire: Professor Von Schwarzenhoffen smashes the player piano that his wife bought for him as a surprise.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Laurel


Modern TimesThe Great DepressionO Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Life And Death Of 9413 A Hollywood ExtraNational Film RegistryThe Thin Man
Murders in the Rue MorgueFilms of the 1930sThe Old Dark House (1932)
Mrs. MiniverCreator/Metro-Goldwyn-MayerMutiny on the Bounty

alternative title(s): The Music Box
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