LADRONES (meaning “thieves”) is the Spanish version of the 1930 two-reel comedy NIGHT OWLS, and runs about 15 minutes longer. Mexican actor Enrique Acosta was added to the cast, but original supporting players Edgar Kennedy and James Finlayson (despite his Scottish accent!) recreate their own key parts. Kennedy plays a failed cop who never seems to make any arrests. He hires two vagrants enacted by Stan and Ollie to pretend to rob a house, so that Officer Kennedy can then capture the thieves and take the credit. But the burglary is bungled; the residence they select is owned by the chief of police. The expanded rendition offers plenty of new gags and quite a different ending. Compare and see! In 1930 Stan Laurel complained to the LOS ANGELES TIMES about the shorter domestic cut, “We were compelled to eliminate much of the business leading up to the big laughs in NIGHT OWLS, and the laughs suffered by it. Comedy, especially our type of comedy, must be cumulative in effect, not abrupt.” This newly discovered international version reveals what Laurel was referring to. LADRONES plays more in line with the star’s original vision for the scripted material because it contains those set-up scenes that build comedy. Which cut is better? You make the call. NIGHT OWLS was the first Laurel & Hardy film to be adapted in multiple, enlarged editions to overcome the language barrier presented by sound films. No matter how many times you have seen NIGHT OWLS, the corresponding LADRONES is amazing and amusing to screen!
-- by Richard W. Bann --
|Video excerpt from LADRONES|
|Corresponding video excerpt from NIGHT OWLS|