Brats (1930)

Produced by Hal Roach
Directed by James Parrott

Featuring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy


BRATS is unique and ingenious among all other Laurel & Hardy comedies. Stan and Ollie play both themselves, and their own sons!

The story is wonderfully simple. Their wives are away, leaving The Boys as baby sitters downstairs for their precocious youngsters upstairs -- who'd rather stay up and get into mischief than go to sleep! Little Stannie and Ollie refuse to behave. As the grown Oliver reflects, "Boys will be boys." Or, as Stan chimes in later, "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be le(a)d."


All the bedtime games and shenanigans are ended by a flood from the bathroom; the two little brats had left the water running there and closed the door. Trying to appease their sons by any means, when the kids ask for a drink of water, Stan leaves to get some, but Oliver decides he should go instead, telling Stan in a condescending tone, "You might spill it." Upon opening the bathroom door, a deluge sweeps everyone and everything right off the screen!

The appeal of Laurel & Hardy has always been their child-like innocence, and here they actually get to play children. The remarkable thing is that there is essentially no difference in the fathers and sons' personalities and behavior -- only their size.

Beautifully conceived, and full of imaginative gags, the illusion is aided by the construction of two different sets, identical in every respect except for size. The set for the diminutive Stannie and Ollie features gigantic props and furniture so large that the characters scamper about on what appears to be a surreal, exaggerated, and most-inviting play-land.

BRATS is something different, fresh, and funny -- then, now, forever! It's a four-star classic certain to please every audience; husbands, wives and kids alike love BRATS. It would be hard to argue that this film is not Laurel & Hardy's most endearing comedy ever!

-- by Richard W. Bann --