Chickens Come Home (1931) – Laurel and Hardy short film, starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Thelma Todd, Mae Busch, James Finlayson
Chickens Come Home is a very funny Laurel and Hardy short film, where Oliver Hardy plays a successful businessman (running a “high class” fertilizer business), with a loving and beautiful wife (played by Thelma Todd) who’s running a successful campaign to become mayor. All seems to be going well for Oliver, until a former girlfriend (Mae Busch) shows up, to blackmail him with a “scandalous” photograph of her and Ollie at the beach, taken during his “gilded youth…my primrose days…before I was married.”
Despite his initial blustering, Oliver agrees to pay her off at 7 o’clock that night, but those plans go awry when his wife suddenly appears at the office, leading to their hiding the blackmailer in the office washroom. While Mrs. Hardy announces that she’s having a party with some influential people at their house to help Oliver’s campaign. At 7 o’clock that evening. After a near brush with disaster as Mrs. Hardy looks in the mirror in Oliver’s private washroom, she leaves, as does the blackmailer. But how can Oliver be in two places at once? With the help of Stan Laurel, of course! Except that Stanley’s wife is very controlling, and in a funny scene Oliver talks to her over the phone, when Mrs. Laurel tells him that if Stanley isn’t home for supper, she’ll break his arms! And Oliver doesn’t pass that message on.
Soon things get even more complicated, with Stanley unsuccessfully trying to keep the blackmailer occupied, while Oliver is trying to speed through his dinner. Where his butler, played by Laurel and Hardy’s regular foil James Finlayson, takes advantage of the situations that come up when the blackmailer calls, etc. The pace increases, turning into a slapstick farce as Stan and Ollie match wits with three angry women. And you can imagine for yourself how that works out.
Chickens Come Home is a very funny Laurel and Hardy short film, and strongly recommended.
Funny movie quotes from the Laurel and Hardy short film, Chickens Come Home
Introductory Card: Every man has a past – with some little “indiscretion” he would like to bury – Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy have 30 or 40 they would like to cremate.
Sign on door: Laurel & Hardy, “Dealers in High-Grade Fertilizer”
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Where have you been?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): I was in the sample room.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): [refusing blackmail request] No sir, not one penny, not even a nickel, not one kopeck!
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Oh, Gabriel, blow your horn.
Mrs. Hardy (Thelma Todd): And how is Mrs. Laurel?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Oh, Fine, Thank you.
Mrs. Hardy (Thelma Todd): I’d love to meet her sometime.
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Neither do I too.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Well …
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Here’s another nice mess I got you into.
Stanley (Stan Laurel): What about my wife?
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Call her up and tell her I’m working!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): You don’t know my wife. She’ll never believe that.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): If she was dumb enough to marry you, she’ll believe anything!
Busybody: Far be it for me, Mr. Laurel, to talk about anybody, but … don’t trust any man. I’ve had five of ’em, and I know!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Do you mind if I smoke?
Oliver’s Blackmailer (Mae Busch): I don’t care if you burn up!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): [as the blackmailer is trying to wrest the telephone from him] Hey Ollie, you’ll have to hurry! I can’t get organized!
Oliver’s Blackmailer (Mae Busch): Give me that key!
Trivia for Chickens Come Home
- This film was also simultaneously produced with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and a Spanish speaking supporting cast and released as Politiqueras (1931). Laurel and Hardy read their lines from cue cards on which Spanish was printed phonetically. At the time of early talkies, dubbing was not yet practical.
- Chickens Come Home is a “three-reel” sound remake of the two-reel silent, Love ‘Em And Weep from 1927, which was also made at the Hal Roach Studios. Oliver Hardy (who had a bit part as a judge in the silent) plays the featured part, which was originally played by James Finlayson in the silent version. Finlayson is relegated to the small part of the butler in the sound version. Stan Laurel and Mae Busch play the same parts in both films.