|Directed by||Lewis R. Foster|
|Produced by||Hal Roach|
|Written by||Leo McCarey
|Edited by||Richard C. Currier|
|Distributed by||DIC Entertainment (1990)|
|19 min 34 sec (English)
49 min 09 sec (Spanish)
silent film with English intertitles
Berth Marks is the second sound film starring Laurel and Hardy, released on June 1, 1929.
The scene opens where the passenger train, hauled by No. 1373, a 4-6-2 engine, being an American Pacific type steam engine, with a coal tender, and hauling a baggage car and three coaches, pulls into the station. Stan and Ollie are musicians, who are travelling by train to their next gig in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, a very popular vaudeville performance location at the time. They manage to hop on board, but Ollie is annoyed that Stan left the music behind. They antagonize a very short man (Sammy Brooks) when sat on him. By entering a private car looking for their berth and frightening a woman who is dressing for bed, they anger her husband who, coming out and seeing a man who had nothing to do with the intrusion, rips his coat. The man, seeing another innocent man, proceeds to tear up his coat. This leads to a tit for tat of clothes tearing with one done off-screen. Stan and Ollie spend most of the trip trying to change into pajamas and get comfortable in a cramped upper berth. By the time Laurel & Hardy manage to sort themselves out, the train has reached their stop, and in their hurry to get off, they leave their musical instrument behind. The clothes tearing battle has, by now, involved the whole train, and the conductor manages to get stripped to his underwear and some rags trying to get through. Hardy closes the film by furiously chasing Laurel and throwing a rock at him.
The engine, which is pulling a passenger train, is shown as a 4-6-2 or an American Pacific type steam locomotive, which was the most common wheel arrangement, during the 1800s and 1830s on American railroads until 1928. Such locomotives were given the name "American" in 1872, because a total of 25,000 were built, which did all the work on every railroad. These types of engines have twelve wheels: four leading wheels, six drive wheels, and two trailing wheels.
Berth Marks was the second sound film released by Laurel & Hardy. A silent version was also made for cinemas that were not yet wired to show talking pictures. Action and dialogue scripts were written mid-April 1929, with filming commencing on April 20–27, 1929.
Several train sequences (included a few not used in the English release) were utilized for foreign language releases versions of The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case in 1930. Laurel and Hardy released three different versions of The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case combined with Berth Marks for the foreign language market:
- Feu mon oncle - French
- Noche de duendes - Spanish
- Spuk um Mitternacht - German
Berth Marks was later reissued in 1936 with a music score added to introductory scenes. This is currently the only surviving version and was subsequently included on the 10-disc Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection DVD set, as well as the Spanish Noche de duendes.
|Pat Harmon||Station master|
|Eleanor Fredericks||Lady in berth|
|Sammy Brooks||Short train passenger|