Laurel and Hardy "The Finishing Touch"
(Laurel and Hardy are contracted to build a house in one d...)
Laurel and Hardy are contracted to build a house in one day but the house collapses bit by bit and mayhem ensues. These early silent films of Laurel and Hardy represent the formative years during which Stan Laurel first developed and honed all the gags and set pieces that this legendary comedy team would use during their entire film history.
Clyde Adolf Bruckman Edit Profile
Clyde completed high school.
Clyde served an apprenticeship as a newspaper reporter before breaking into screenwriting in 1919. During the silent film period of Hollywood, the great comedy shorts were "scripted" by gag men, who came up with unlikely plots leading to even more unlikely comedic situations.
Bruckman scraped together gags for Monty Banks and Al St. John for a year or two at Warner Brothers before joining the Buster Keaton unit of Twentieth Century-Fox in 1921. With the highly successful team of Keaton, Eddie Cline, Jean Havez, and Joseph Mitchell, Bruckman created silliness of mythic proportions. Though Bruckman wasn't always included in the brief credits of Keaton's early films, Keaton fully acknowledged Bruckman's work, and commented that Bruckman and Havez were his favorite gag writers.
In 1923 Bruckman's name began to appear in the credits of short films such as A Punctured Prince (1923), Rob 'Em Good (1923), and Glad Rags (1923); he also appeared in the credits of features such as Rouged Lips (1923), The Three Ages (1923), and Our Hospitality (1923). As this list of 1923 films suggests, Bruckman was a very popular and prolific gag writer. He got a reputation for being able to fix a script in trouble, sometimes on very tight deadlines.
More importantly, Bruckman was an accomplished and sophisticated comedic writer. In The Three Ages, for example, Bruckman and Keaton's team constructed a spoof of D. W. Griffith's 1916 Intolerance by splicing together stories from the Stone Age, the Roman Empire, and the present. In Bruckman's next features with Keaton, he developed yet more sophisticated stories.
In the mid-1920s, Bruckman did some freelance gigs with Monty Banks (Keep Smiling, 1925) and Harold Lloyd (For Heaven's Sake, 1926), but he continued to work with Keaton as well. In 1927, following Chaplin's move to longer, more narrative comedies, Bruckman brought Keaton the idea of making a film from William Fittenger's best-selling 1863 novel The Great Locomotive Chase. The book tells the story of a band of eight Union soldiers during the Civil War who hijacked a train from Georgia and headed up north, hotly pursued all the way by three furious Southerners. From that story, Keaton and Bruckman composed The General (1927), in which the three Southerners are merged into one character named Johnny Gray (Keaton) who must retrieve "The General," his train. It was received lukewarmly in its day, but is now considered one of the great silent films of all time. Indeed, in 1972 it was ranked among the British Institute's worldwide greatest films of all time.
Following his early achievements, however, Bruckman began to take on more responsibility. He directed a number of feature comedies, including Horse Shoes (1927), A Perfect Gentleman (1928), and the very first Laurel and Hardy flick, Putting Pants on Philip (1927). Bruckman had a knack for tailoring a gag or a storyline to match the particular comedic talents of his stars: from the clocklike machinations of Keaton's films to the complex pacing of Laurel and Hardy.
Bruckman also worked successfully with comedian Harold Lloyd, directing and writing Lloyd's first "talkie," Welcome Danger (1929), in which a botanist becomes haphazardly drawn into the underworld of San Francisco. The film was one of Lloyd's most successful, leading to two more collaborations: Feet First (1930) and Movie Crazy (1932).
Bruckman's skill in working with comedians is perhaps best shown by his work with W. C. Fields. Fields was reputed to eviscerate every director he worked with. But after making The Fatal Glass of Beer with Bruckman in 1933, Fields brought him back to fill in on Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935). Bruckman was a comedian's director, quickly finding the tone and pace that the comedian wanted and adjusting his style to theirs. By the mid-1930s, however, comedy shorts and gagwriting were losing importance in Hollywood. Bruckman continued to make movies in his businesslike manner, notably directing The Three Stooges in Horse Collars (1935). He also continued to write comedies, including the goofy Hitler send-ups You Nazty Spy! (1940) and I'll Never Heil Again (1941).
By the 1940s, however, comedy shorts were severely restricted, and Bruckman's career opportunities began to dissipate. His alcoholism and depression made work harder to find, and often eroded the quality of his writing. In some cases, he drew from his old routines verbatim.
In 1947, a court case judged that five of Bruckman's films for Universal contained material imported directly from old Lloyd films. Branded as a plagiarist, Bruckman found it nearly impossible to find work in Hollywood. He was able to take on some brief stints in 1950s television - most importantly for The Buster Кeaton Comedy Show and The Abbott and Costello Show (1951-1953) - but Bruckman found himself unable to regroup.
In 1955 he killed himsell with a gun borrowed from Keaton on the pretense of using it for a hunting trip.
"There are hits and there are misses...and then there are misses."
"Why does anyone do the things they do?"
"If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?"
"How can I see the future if it didn't already exist?"
Joseph Adamson III commented in his Dictionary of Literary Biography essay that "One of Bruckman's skills was his ability to adapt to the comic persona with whom he was working."
Bruckman married first wife Lola in 1916. She died after complications from emergency surgery on October 8, 1931. He was married to his second wife, Gladys, from March 1932 until his death. They had no children.