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,a group of moonshiners (people brewing their own alcohol for sale without a license or paying taxes) are being pursued by the police.  And they dump their illegal alcohol into the well outside their cabin, only to be arrested and taken away regardless.  It goes without saying that this is where Laurel and Hardy park, and decide to stay.  Where they can enjoy the “clean” mountain water direct from the well.

Preparing lunch?

A very funny scene follows as they try to fix lunch inside their trailer.  Oliver is humming a tune, which Stanley keeps interrupting with “pom-pom” – annoying Ollie, and building to a crescendo.  It’s a very funny scene to watch, because while they’re fighting over a simple tune, Stan is turning the simple task of making coffee into a catastrophe, and further irritating Oliver.

Them Thar Hills movie poster - Oliver Hardy riding piggy back style on Oliver HardyUnexpected visitors

Shortly afterward, a couple (played by Charlie Hall and Mae Busch) come by, needing gasoline for their stranded automobile.  Stan and Ollie are happy to oblige, even though they are by now partly intoxicated by the well “water”.  And Mrs. Hall decides to wait there while her husband walks the gasoline back to the car.  Upon his return, he sees all three of them drunk from the well water.  And jumps to the wrong conclusion about Stan and Ollie.

Escalating conflict

This leads into a very funny confrontation between Charlie Hall and Laurel and Hardy.  With each side gradually increasing the retaliation, building to a very funny crescendo of destruction.  It ends with Charlie Hall being “tarred and feathered” and, in return, setting Oliver Hardy’s pants on fire.  Which Oliver tries, at Stanley’s suggestion, to put out in the well water.  That water, however, contains a fair amount of alcohol, which is combustible.  And it shoots Oliver Hardy into the air like a human cannonball, ending up half-buried in the ground.

Be sure to check out the verbal humor in funny movie quotes from Them Thar Hills as well.

Them Thar Hills is a very funny Laurel and Hardy short film, and strongly recommended.  It was so successful that it inspired a sequel, Tit for Tat, again pitting Laurel and Hardy in a series of escalating exchanges with Charlie Hall.  I rate it 4 clowns out of 5.

Trivia for Them Thar Hills, starring Laurel and Hardy

  • Filming was moved from Santa Ynez Canyon to the Roach Studios lot when heavy fog put a stop to location filming.
  • The tune Hardy is humming in the trailer is “The Old Spinning Wheel.”

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