Night Owls (1930) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Edgar Kennedy, James Finlayson
After 42 burglaries in a week — with no arrests — police office Edgar Kennedy has his job hanging by a thread. Fellow police officers joke that the only way that Kennedy will ever make an arrest is to frame someone. He acts on that idea upon finding vagrants Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel sleeping on a public park bench.
Stan and Oliver are soon coerced into attempting to burglarize the Police Chief’s house so that Kennedy can catch them in the act, and be a hero to his boss. As for Laurel and Hardy, Kennedy promises to let them go — “Kennedy will fix it!” — and, given the alternative of 90 days “on the rock pile” for vagrancy, Oliver convinces Stan to go along. Later that night, in the alley behind the Chief’s house, is a smorgasbord of slapstick comedy.
- with the boys knocking over garbage cans
- showing their mutual fear with a shivering candlestick
- getting into a hat-bopping fight
- and trying to scale the wall to get onto the Chief’s property.
After tearing Oliver’s pants in the most embarrassing place, Stan and Oliver make it over the wall. Only to land on (and break) the Chief’s greenhouse. The noise is blamed on neighborhood cats, with Laurel and Hardy imitating felines, and Jimmy Finlayson throwing shoes at the “cats” – only for Stan to throw one back, leading to Finlayson accidentally throwing one through a closed window. Actually getting into the house is a cavalcade of slapstick comedy, which has to be seen to be appreciated.
Eventually, despite Oliver’s best efforts, he and Stan make it into the house – with a hilarious recurring theme of Stan easily getting in, letting Oliver in, and then locking themselves out. Once inside, they begin being as inept burglars as anything else, with their “quiet” actions rousing the household. Eventually, Officer Kennedy comes in, guns blazing, scaring Laurel and Hardy into fleeing out the nearest window. And after Kennedy picks up their abandoned bag of loot, he’s arrested by his own police chief as being the crime wave burglar!
And Stan lands inside a small garbage can, leaving him to scurry away like a crab as an angry Oliver tosses garbage at him. In all, Night Owls is a very funny, fast-paced Laurel and Hardy short film, which had me laughing out loud many times – I hope that you enjoy it as well.
Funny movie quotes from Laurel and Hardy’s Night Owls
Officer Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy): I want you boys to do is go up and rob the Chief’s house.
Stan Laurel: Why, we’d be arrested!
Officer Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy): That’s the idea!
Oliver Hardy: We’ll do it!
Officer Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy): I thought you would! You look like you have intelligence! And so does … [looks at Stan, stops]
[Officer Kennedy, Stan and Oliver trip over the garbage cans behind the Chief’s house, as they prepare to “burgle” it]
Butler (James Finalyson): [to Police Chief] It’s the garbage men, sir.
Trivia for Laurel and Hardy’s Night Owls
- This was the first film to use their celebrated theme tune, “The ‘Ku-Ku’ Song”
- The film was also released in an alternate Spanish version, Ladrones, expanded to nearly four reels in length instead of the English two reels, and in an Italian version I ladroni, now lost. English and Spanish versions are now available on DVD
The Spanish language version of this film, “Ladrones”, became the very first talkie in Spanish ever shown in Argentina when its exhibitor, Max GlÃ¼cksmann, presented it in the city of Mar del Plata in February 1930.
When Laurel and Hardy toured British music halls in the 1950s, Laurel reworked the plot of this short into a stage sketch titled “A Spot of Trouble”.