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…)
One Good Turn (1931) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Mary Carr
At the beginning of One Good Turn, Laurel 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.
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…)
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.” (more…)