What more appropriate metaphoric way to end 2023 than by watching a movie about two idiots trying not to fall off a high floor of a building under construction to their certain deaths? Laurel & Hardy’s ‘Liberty’ (1928) is one of the greatest of their silent shorts and is their contribution to the ‘comedy of terror’ fad brought to us by Harold Lloyd with ‘Safety Last’ (Lloyd hanging from the oversized clock on the side of the building etc. etc.) being the first and most iconic example of the genre. The metaphoric nature of the ‘Liberty’ plot line even extends to its opening first half which is a somewhat woke examination of the dangers of two men attempting to undress in public and being frowned upon by the heavy-handed authorities. What would Stan and Ollie’s pronouns have been anyway? ‘Me’ and ‘him’ perhaps? Or just ‘I’m Mr. Hardy’ and ‘My friend Mr. Laurel’? Enough. Enjoy this immensely wonderful short and if you want to know how they accomplished the astonishing skyscraper daredevil footage don’t ask me. There are explanations of it out there on the internet but, try as I have over the years, I still don’t understand them. Great filmmaking doesn’t need to be explained, just appreciated. See you next year!


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