Sound Blends Beautiful With Slapstick in Busy Bodies (1933)
How to look with fresh eyes upon something
you've watched a hundred times --- is it better to just let go? Sentiment, and
memory they evoke of 8mm collecting, assures my fidelity to Laurel and Hardy, renewed of late by Apple streaming
thelot in HD. Busy Bodies is carpentry and mayhem extreme even by this team's
reckoning, Hardy slung by machinery that would be death of a cartooned figure,
let alone a portly clown passing middle age. What I noted this round with Busy
Bodies was creative use of sound to punctuate slams and falls. It's the wham
what am funny as it accompanies Babe's repeated meet with a passing board.
Talkies were a boon to L&H not only in terms of ideal voicing, but sounds
they'd employ to punctuate slapstick. Did Stan supervise as closely effects we'd
hear as well as see? Roach creators built a library of noise as glue for gags
that might not register at all done silent. You could argue that sound opened
up whole new arenas for sight comedy, and yet visual humor took a slow sled
downward once screens began to talk. Busy Bodies demonstrates what comedy could
be when it addressed both senses.