Berth Marks image

Berth Marks

Sound Short - Released 01 June 1929

Berth Marks is a technically accomplished film considering its production early in the team's sound films. The opening scene - in which Ollie listens patiently to a stationmaster rattling off a long, garbled list of destinations - shows that even at this very early stage the filmmakers were conscious of how sound could be deployed in new comedic ideas. Although dialogue is at a minimum in most of the train scenes, consciousness of sound film's possibilities for understatement and irony permeates what lines are placed in the film: the conductor offering his opinion of Laurel and Hardy's vaudeville act, based on their trainbound ineptitude, "Well I'll bet you're good!". Sound too is used to enhance visual gags: the ripping of clothing offscreen, for example, or the sound effect emphasizing the final gag, in which Stan, running away from Ollie, has his hat knocked off at a great distance by a rock Ollie has thrown. The film's emphasis on pantomime also yields some amusing moments: Stan searching his pockets after Ollie questions him "Where's the [bass] fiddle?" is just one.

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