Laurel and Hardy

I Wanna Dance! a colorized scene from Scram! where Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel have gotten drunk on "water"

Laurel and Hardy film list

Laurel and Hardy film list

The team of Laurel and Hardy was one of the funniest, and most prolific, comedy teams of all time. In addition to having successful individual film careers, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy made one of the most successful comedy teams of all times, in a career spanning both silent and talking films over several decades. Their joint career can be broken into the following categories:

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Sons of the Desert (1933) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Chase, Mae Busch

Sons of the Desert

Sons of the Desert (1933) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Chase, Mae Busch

I can honestly say that Sons of the Desert is one of my favorite Laurel and Hardy films.  It begins with the boys, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, attending a serious meeting of their club, the Sons of the Desert, who are giving a solemn pledge that they will attend the upcoming convention in Chicago.  Stanley is hesitant, but browbeaten by Ollie and the others into promising; he hesitated because he didn’t know if his wife would let him go.  On the ride home, the bombastic Ollie declares that he’s the king of his castle, and he doesn’t ask his wife, he tells her!  Until, of course, they’re home, and Oliver’s wife (Mae Busch) tells him in no uncertain terms that they’re going on the trip to the mountains that they’d been planning.  It’s a very funny scene, as Oliver is quickly deflated by his wife, and the brunt of the physical humor as she throws virtually everything breakable at him.
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Them Thar Hills movie poster - Oliver Hardy riding piggy back style on Oliver Hardy

Them Thar Hills

Them Thar Hills starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall, Mae Busch

Them Thar Hills begins with Oliver Hardy suffering from a painful bout of gout, with his foot wrapped up like a mummy, and his doctor (played by Billy Gilbert) making a house call.  Diagnosing Oliver’s gout as a result of his high living, he prescribes a few weeks vacation in the mountain.  His friend, Stan Laurel, makes the suggestion of renting a camper rather that hauling camping equipment, and Oliver agrees.  He uses Stanley as a pack mule to move around, a comic sight in itself, which results in Oliver falling backward into the bathtub.

Them Thar Hills (1934) starring Oliver Hardy, Stan LaurelGetting to the cabin

Once they get underway, things seem to be taking a turn for the better, as their drive up into the mountains is uneventful.  Unknown to them, however, (more…)

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Laurel and Hardy in Tit for Tat

Tit for Tat

Tit for Tat (1935) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Hall, Mae Busch

Tit for Tat is a very funny Laurel and Hardy film, that begins with Oliver Hardy opening his new hardware store.  A local police officer stops by to congratulate him, and Ollie explains that his partner, Stan Laurel, is recovering from a nervous breakdown — only to have Stan come up from downstairs in an street elevator, lifting the poor police officer into the air.  Oliver is profusely apologetic, and after the officer leaves, they go next door to introduce themselves to their neighbors at Hall’s Grocery.  As they go out, Stan puts up a small sign stating that they will be back in a few minutes”€”and no sooner do they leave than a customer comes in.  It’s once they go next door that the major conflict of the short film is revealed. (more…)

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Our Wife - Dulcy, Oliver Hardy, and Stan Laurel are eloping

Our Wife

Our Wife (1931) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Ben Turpin

Our Wife begins as the cheerfully chubby Oliver Hardy is preparing to get married to his equally overweight fiancée, Dulcy. Best man Stan Laurel is there, trying to get everything ready for a perfect wedding.  Oliver uses a throat spray bottle as he practices saying, “I do”.  The same bottle that Stan later fills with insect repellent to kill the bugs on the top of the wedding cake, unknown to Ollie – who later uses it again!  “Do something to help me!” Ollie demands, as the pair scramble into the kitchen for some water – a hilarious scene in itself, as Stan demonstrates his mastery of physical comedy by running into the wall instead of through the door.

Oliver Hardy is no slouch in that department either as he trips on a block of ice from the icebox (this is before refrigeration, back in the “good old days” when people kept their food cold with large blocks of ice), lands onto the table destroying the cake and, in an unexpected moment, destroys the entire room as well; this is a laugh-out-loud moment that my children enjoyed as they watched the film with me. (more…)

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Me and My Pal - Oliver wants to get married, while everyone else is distracted by the puzzle that Stan brought

Me and My Pal

Movie review of Laurel and Hardy’s Me and My Pal (1933) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson

Me and My Pal, like many of Laurel and Hardy’s best short films, works on one central joke and slowly build up the comedy to a crescendo.  In Me and My Pal, the central joke is, of all things, a jigsaw puzzle.  The basic premise is that Oliver Hardy is about to be married to an oil tycoon’s daughter, which will lead to his own business success and security.  Stan Laurel is going to be Oliver’s best man, and arrives, having made all of the “necessary” arrangements – he has the ring and bought the tickets for Oliver and his bride to go on their honeymoon.  However, the tickets are to the wrong city.  In addition, he’s brought a bag of rice, which promptly gets spilled all over Oliver’s floor, and a wedding gift as well – a jigsaw puzzle. (more…)

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Biography of Mae Busch (18 June 1891 - 20 April 1946)

Mae Busch biography

Biography of Mae Busch (18 June 1891 – 20 April 1946)

Mae Busch color photoMae Busch was an Australian-born film actress who worked in both silent and sound films in early Hollywood. During her career, Mae played Erich Von Stroheim’s mistress, Lon Chaney’s girlfriend, Charley Chase’s sister, James Finlayson‘s ex-wife and Oliver Hardy‘s wife. Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1891, her parents were both in the theater and when she was 9 years old the family moved to the United States. Mae’s home was a convent in New Jersey until she was 21 when in 1912 she left to move back to New York with her parents. She soon tried her hand at acting and in the same year appeared in her first film, The Agitator (1912). (more…)

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Their First Mistake - Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel return home with the baby

Their First Mistake

Movie review of Their First Mistake (1932), starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch

Their First Mistake - Oliver Hardy and Mae Busch happily at homeTheir First Mistake is a very funny Laurel and Hardy short film, where Oliver Hardy‘s wife, played by Roach Studios regular Mae Busch, is upset that he’s spending all of his free time with his pal Stan Laurel, and none of it with her.  At that moment, Stan calls Oliver with an offer to go out that evening, and Oliver tries to cover by pretending that it’s his new boss, Mr. Jones, inviting him out for a meeting with some company bigwigs.  It backfires when Stanley comes in to explain that it wasn’t Mr. Jones on the telephone, it was him! A very funny scene, and one that’s stuck in my mind since I first saw it nearly 20 years ago. (more…)

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Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel are reduced to begging in One Good Turn

One Good Turn

One Good Turn (1931) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Mary Carr

At the beginning of One Good TurnLaurel and Hardy are victims of the Depression, living on the outskirts of town with their meager possessions – an old, run-down automobile, an older army surplus tent, the clothes on their back and some spare shirts.  While Stanley (Stan Laurel) is cooking soup for lunch, Ollie (Oliver Hardy) is washing out their clothes in a nearby stream. Oliver, however, makes the mistake of asking Stan to “do something and help me”€ – and in the process of hanging up the clothes, he trips and knocks the tent into the fire.

In an inspired clown moment, he grabs a drinking cup, walks past Ollie and the stream of water to a water pump, where he fills the cup with water and dashes back.  He repeats this twice, finally asking Ollie if he has another cup – why? asks Ollie.  “Because the tent is on fire!”  They dash back to the remains of the tent and Stan, now that things are too late, flings the soup on the fire in a useless attempt at saving the tent.  Ollie, tempting fate, asks how could things get any worse — and the camera obligingly answers, but showing their clothes on the clothesline, shrunk by the heat of the tent flames, now worthless.

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Pardon Us (1931) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - the first Laurel and Hardy feature length movie

Pardon Us

Pardon Us (1931) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy – the first Laurel and Hardy feature length movie

Pardon Us is Laurel and Hardy‘s first feature length film.  Sent in the middle of Prohibition in the United States, the movie begins with a funny scene where Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy) are crossing the street, and having a car zoom by behind them, almost hitting them; as they turn around to express their anger, a car goes the other way, again almost hitting them.  Finally crossing the street safely, Laurel and Hardy begin shopping for the various items that they need to make their own beer – which was legal during Prohibition.  What wasn’t legal, however, was to sell any to somebody else – which is exactly what Ollie and Stan are planning to do.  Stan, not being a criminal mastermind, makes the mistake of trying to sell a bottle of beer to a policeman, and the boys are off to prison. (more…)

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