Paul Auster Presents Laurel & Hardy
On the occasion of the publication of his latest novel 4 3 2 1, Paul Auster presents three Laurel and Hardy two-reelers featured prominently in the book. Auster will do a short reading before the films and will be signing copies of 4 3 2 1 following the screening.
The Music Box (1932, 30 mins, 35mm)
Helpmates (1932, 21 mins, 35mm)
Busy Bodies (1933, 19 mins, 35mm)
“Morbid ruminations were among the not-good things that belonged to that rough year of being eight and turning nine, but there were some good things as well, even things that happened every day, such as the after-school television program that ran from four o’clock to five-thirty on Channel 11… old Laurel and Hardy movies, which turned out to be the finest, funniest, most satisfying movies ever made.
“Yes, they were ever so droll and inventive, and yes, Ferguson’s stomach sometimes ached from laughing so hard at their buffoonery, but why he found them so laughable, and why his love for them began to flower beyond all reason, had less to do with their clownish antics than their persistence, with the fact that they reminded Ferguson of himself…Laurel and Hardy’s struggles were no different than his own. They, too, blundered from one ill-conceived plan to the next, they, too, suffered through countless setbacks and frustrations, and whenever their misfortunes brought them to the snapping point, Hardy’s angers would become his angers, Laurel’s befuddlements would mirror his befuddlements, and the best thing about the botches they made for themselves was that Stan and Ollie were even more incompetent than he was, more stupid, more asinine, more helpless, and that was funny, so funny that he couldn’t stop laughing at them, even as he pitied them and embraced them as brothers, kindred spirits forever smacked down by the world and forever standing up to try again - by hatching another one of their harebrained plans, which, inevitably, would knock them to the ground once more.”
— excepted from Paul Auster’s 4 3 2 1.