‘Putting Pants On Phillip’ (1927) is the first official teaming of Laurel and Hardy, though they had appeared in a handful of films together prior to this (but not as a team). They’re not really a team here either which makes this silent comedy a real curiosity. Laurel plays a Scot cousin of Hardy’s who wears a kilt that Hardy is determined to replace with real pants. The situations are ingeniously devised, the comedy routines well designed and very funny and yet the whole enterprise leaves one more in a state of confusion than delight. It’s as if you’ve run into two old friends who once knew each other well, but who are for some reason now pretending not to know each other at all. Nonetheless, no less a Laurel and Hardy aficionado and scholar than the august film historian William K. Everson has warm words for the film which I will let him deliver in his own…er, words.
“One of their most unusual, and certainly one of their best with some brilliant pantomime from Laurel, some marvellous sight gags, and a methodical construction that builds steadily, it’s a delight throughout. We’re deliberately saying nothing about plot since, if you haven’t seen it, the sheer shock value of some of it will pay off better through knowing nothing in advance.”