The Music Box

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The Music Box is a Laurel and Hardy short film comedy released in 1932. It was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, which depicts the pair attempting to move a piano up a large flight of steps, won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932.[1] It has been considered culturally significant by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.[1]



Mrs. von Schwarzenhoffen has bought a player piano as a surprise birthday present for her husband Professor Theodore von Schwarzenhoffen. Stan and Ollie have started a "transfer co." and must deliver it. As they near the address in their horse and cart they ask a postman for directions. He tells them that it is at the top of the 'stoop', up a preposterously tall flight of stairs. Stan and Ollie unload the piano from their cart, but their horse ("Susie") takes a malicious step, dumping the piano right onto Ollie's back. Carrying it across the street, they start to carry the piano up the stairs. A quarter of the way up a nursemaid with a baby carriage asks to pass by. They let go of the piano and it careens to the bottom of the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs the nursemaid begins to laugh at the duo and says "of all the dumb things." Stan kicks her backside, so she punches him. Ollie laughs, and she breaks a bottle on his head. The woman goes off to complain to a police officer telling him that Stan kicked her "right in the middle of my daily duties." The police officer arrives as they are halfway up the stairs with the piano. Ollie sends Stan to the bottom of the stairs to talk to the officer, but he wants to speak to Ollie ("I don't want you – I want that other monkey!"). Stan calls him down ("He wants the other monkey!"), and the piano chases Ollie back to the bottom of the stairs once again. The police officer kicks Ollie in the backside and hits Stan on the head with his truncheon to teach the boys a lesson.

Halfway up the stairs again, they meet Professor von Schwarzenhoffen who asks to pass. When told to go around, he becomes outraged: "What, walk around?! Me, Professor Theodore Von Schwarzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F-F-F- and F, should walk around?!!" He tries to shove the piano out of his path by force, and Stan retaliates by knocking off his hat, which bounds all the way down the stairs into the street and is immediately flattened by a truck. The Professor storms off after his hat in a rage, shouting threats. With a new set of "Heave! Ho!"s, the boys arrive at the delivery address with the piano (after Ollie, not realizing they've reached the top, continues climbing stairs until he trips into an ornamental fountain), only to let the piano go once again. Ollie hangs on and is dragged to the bottom of the stairs. They carry the piano up the stairs once again, just in time to meet the postman again at the top, who tells them that they could have driven the piano around to the house and needn't have carried it up the stairs at all. Realizing this, the two protagonists take the piano back downstairs one last time, so that they can take the route the postman suggested.

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