Do Detectives Think? (1927) – reviewed by George

This silent short, produced by Hal Roach, stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in one of the first shorts where they work (more or less) with each other, rather than being in some sort of opposition. At least they want the same outcome (to stay alive). Here they play, respectively, private detectives Ferdinand Finkleberry (“the second worst detective in the world”) and Sherlock Pinkham (“the worst”), assigned to protect Judge Foozle (Jimmie Finlayson) against the Tipton Slasher (Noah Young). The Slasher is truly a nasty-looking piece of work, and having committed a double murder and been found guilty, he has vowed to escape and kill the Judge. When he does escape, a detective agency is called and the boss (Frank Brownlee) sends Finkleberry and Pinkham right over. The Slasher gets there first and in asking for directions encounters the man recently hired to be Foozle’s butler. He scares the guy, takes his clothes and suitcase, and runs him off in his long johns.
The boys might have gotten there first, but they had to walk by a graveyard to get to the Judge’s house. When they arrive the “butler” admits them, and they meet Judge and Mrs. Foozle. The much-too-young-and-beautiful-for-Foozle wife is played by Viola Richard. As the title card says, “The Judge had married for love. Nobody had ever been able to figure out what his wife married for.”
This is a slapstick lover’s paradise. Many, many laughs in about 20 minutes. My only quibble: the graveyard sequence is a bit too long.

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