The Battle of the Century (1927)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick, Odd Couple Film  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Laurel is Canvasback Clump, an underfed and thoroughly clueless prize-fighter, and Hardy his rather overly optimistic manager. In confronting his ape-like opponent, Thunder-clap Callahan (Noah Young), Canvasback is quickly out for the count and the boys are left with the five-dollar loser's end of the purse. Later, considering their bleak prospects in the park, they encounter a smooth-talking insurance salesman (Eugene Pallette), who talks them into taking out a five-dollar accidental injury policy on Canvasback. After seeing his friend almost slip and fall, his manager decides to take matters into his own hands -- hurling banana peels into his pal's path. Instead, he topples a pie seller exiting a bakery -- thus inciting the silver screen's first real pie fight -- and arguably it's most inventive and funny. An about average Laurel and Hardy short until the extravagant climactic blowout, it was made near the start of their collaboration and helped prompt their swift rise as worldwide favorites. The pie fight itself, building methodically and hilariously to all-out Armageddon, has been endlessly copied but certainly never equalled. The short's early boxing sequences laid the groundwork for portions of Any Old Port (1932), a later Laurel and Hardy three-reeler.

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Keywords

boxing, con/scam, insurance, manager, prizefighter, salesperson, sports