POLITIQUERIAS (meaning “playing at politics”) is the astonishing Spanish interpolation of the 1931 three-reel comedy CHICKENS COME HOME, itself a remake of Laurel & Hardy’s 1927 silent short, LOVE ‘EM AND WEEP. Running 57 minutes, POLITIQUERIAS doubled the length of its source material in order to obtain bookings as a feature. Ollie portrays an important businessman, who has made his fortune in fertilizer. He runs for mayor, but is blackmailed by a woman from his past. What really distinguishes the Spanish counterpart is the expanded mayoral campaign dinner party and the unusual water-spouting entertainment provided courtesy of the otherwise cultured Egyptian-appearing vaudeville performer, Hadji Ali. His amazing regurgitation novelty act – he begins by gulping 50 fast glasses of water -- cannot be politely described. So sensational. What this man does with swallowed water, hazelnuts, kerosene, and fire, must simply be seen to be believed. And even then…! Talk about staying hydrated. One wonders, in fact, if medical science can explain any part of this astounding routine, no part of which was ever shown in English-speaking territories. Anyone familiar with pre-Code American censorship standards will appreciate why. The scripted property behind CHICKENS COME HOME is funny enough on its own, but with the added dinner party sequence, audiences are simply convulsed with laughter any time it is shown. POLITIQUERIAS is the only foreign version made of CHICKENS COME HOME, so there is nothing like Hadji Ali’s bizarre act in any other Hal Roach comedy. Spanish-speakers retained for this truly hilarious extended equivalent version included Enrique Acosta, Carmen Grenada, Nelly Fernandez, Maria Calvo, Linda Loredo, and Italian Countess Rina de Liguoro, who is terrific in the blackmailing ex-girl friend role created by Mae Busch.
|Video excerpt from POLITIQUERIAS (water-spouting scene, not included in the English version)|
|Video excerpt from POLITIQUERIAS|
|Corresponding video excerpt from CHICKENS COME HOME|