|Leroy Shield (1937 reissue)
|Richard C. Currier
Brats is a 1930 Laurel and Hardy comedy short. The film was directed by James Parrott. Laurel and Hardy play dual roles as their own children. It also inspired a helper group for the Michigan tent for The Sons of the Desert, which is composed of all the child members of the tent. This is the first of only three films where the boys each play a dual role: the second is Twice Two and the third and last is Our Relations.
Laurel and Hardy are spending a night in with the kids. The fathers are playing checkers and snooker, but are constantly distracted by their own incompetence and by their children, who are constantly bullying each other and trying to stay up late. The film begins with Stan and Ollie playing a game of checkers, and Stan Jr. and Ollie Jr. playing with blocks. They smash a vase and are sent to bed. Ollie Jr. goes into the bath and chases Stan Jr. out (leaving the taps on), but slips on the soap causing part of the ceiling to crash onto the pool table. Stan and Ollie are furious and rush upstairs. When Oliver opens the bathroom door, the water from the bathroom gushes out.
Brats was one of four Laurel and Hardy sound shorts reissued in 1937. At that time, new background music scores by Leroy Shield that were used in many 1937 Hal Roach films were added. The films reissued that way were Blotto, County Hospital and Perfect Day. Additionally, Brats' introductory title ("Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy remained at home to take care of the children---"/"Their wives had gone out for target practice--") was eliminated from the reissue prints.
This is one of just two shorts to feature only Stan and Ollie in the cast; the other is the 1928 silent Early to Bed. It is also the only film in which they play natural fathers.
The illusion of Laurel and Hardy as children was achieved using oversized furniture. Each room of the house was re-created in large scale to achieve the effect of both duos being in the same house. Doors and staircases had to be duplicated to appear as though the "children" were child-size. The "children" are as tall as a doorknob and a sink and Stan Jr must use a stepstool to reach the tub's taps;the tub seeming more like a small pool.Ollie Jr's bulk causes him to crash through some dresser drawers.
The mouse that Stan Jr. nearly shoots with a pellet gun was animated.