Men O’War (1929) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Charlie Hall
Men O’War is a Laurel and Hardy short film where Navy sailors Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are on shore leave, and try to pick up a pair of lovely young ladies, and treat them to sodas. However, Stan only has 15 cents, leaving them 5 cents short (I’m resisting the urge to mention inflation here – back in 1929, that was the price of a soda). Oliver decides at first that, in order to maintain their appearance, Stan will simply pretend not to be thirsty when they order. However, Stan keeps forgetting and ordering a soda anyway, much to the annoyance of Ollie — and suffering soda jerk Jimmy Finlayson. Eventually, the boys decide to split a soda — so Stan drinks the entire thing since his half was on the bottom.
Receiving the bill for 30 cents, instead of the expected 15 cents, Oliver gets his revenge by walking off with the girls and leaving Stan to pay – but Stan’s luck holds out as he puts one of his coins in a nearby slot machine and wins the jackpot! With Stan’s winnings, the pair decides to rent a boat as well, taking the ladies on the lake, where they demonstrate their lack of nautical skills, ending with a fight between themselves and another boater, played by Laurel and Hardy regular Charlie Hall. Soon, a slapstick fight breaks out, throwing water and flotation devices, soon knocking over other boaters, ending with everyone trying to board Laurel and Hardy’s rowboat, including Jimmy Finlayson and a police officer, resulting in the boat slowly sinking beneath the weight of the dozen or so people standing in it.
I enjoyed Men O’War, but I would describe it as one of Laurel and Hardy’s second-tier short films. I rate it 3 stars out of 5.
Funny movie quotes from Laurel and Hardy’s short film, Men O’War
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): When I ask you to have a drink, you refuse!
Stan (Stan Laurel): Okay.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Okay, soda, soda, soda, and what will you have Stan?
Stan (Stan Laurel): Soda.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): When I ask you to have a drink, you must refuse!
Stan (Stan Laurel): Okay.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Okay, so soda, soda, soda, and my dear Stan, what will you have?
Stan (Stan Laurel): I don’t want any.
Girl: Oh, General, don’t be a piker.
Stan (Stan Laurel): Okay, I’ll have a banana split.
Sodajerk: What flavor?
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Sassafras.
Stan (Stan Laurel): I don’t like frassasass.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Go ahead and drink your half. [Stanley drinks the entire soda]
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Do you know what you’ve done? [nods]
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): What made you do it?
Stan (Stan Laurel): I couldn’t help it.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Why?
Stan (Stan Laurel): My half was on the bottom. I had to drink it all to get it.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): [referring to the panties he has picked up] I’ll bet you miss them.
Girl: [referring to her lost gloves] You can just imagine! And I washed them with gasoline just this morning.
Trivia for Laurel and Hardy’s short film, Men O’War
- Laurel and Hardy’s third sound film. Hal Roach had beat his distributor, MGM to sound conversion (MGM’s parent Loew’s Inc., had adopted a deliberate wait and see attitude toward the technology, fearing the huge conversion costs to it’s far flung theatrical empire). The popular Hal Roach shorts became a cost-effective supplement to MGM’s 1929 release schedule.
- Jimmy Finlayson’s first sound film.
- Filmed from 11-18 May 1929.