James Finlayson

Laurel and Hardy's comedy, The Bohemian Girl

The Bohemian Girl

The Bohemian Girl (1936) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, James Finlayson, Thelma Todd

Laurel and Hardy's comedy, The Bohemian Girl

Many people think of The Bohemian Girl as the answer to the trivia question, “What was Thelma Todd‘s final film?”  €”And that’s a crying shame.  The Bohemian Girl is actually one of my favorite Laurel and Hardy films, for several reasons.  It’s quick-paced, with some excellent comedic bits between Stan and Ollie.  The interplay between Oliver Hardy and Mae Busch (who plays his nagging, unfaithful wife) is very funny, with their perennial foil James Finlayson making an appearance at the end as “Captain Finn”, captain of the guard for the harsh Count Arnheim. (more…)

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Bonnie Scotland (1935) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson

Bonnie Scotland

Bonnie Scotland (1935) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson

 Bonnie Scotland involves Laurel and Hardy heading to Scotland, where they hope to inherit “Stan MacLaurel’s” inheritance.  We see the pair walking into town as a blacksmith’s anvil hammers out their signature tune.  They check in at a local hotel, where the proprietor, Mrs. Bickerdike (Mary Gordon) tells the story of how Stan’s recently-deceased grandfather had his heart broken by Stan’s father, who had run away to America.  Meanwhile, at the reading of the will, the romantic love interest of the movie is revealed, as Stan’s cousin (played by the beautiful June Lang) is going to inherit the bulk of the estate, and is forced to travel to India to be near her “guardian”. The lawyer’s clerk is in love with her, and is dismayed by the turn of events.

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Block-Heads (1938) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Billy Gilbertson

Block-Heads (1938) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Billy Gilbert

Block-Heads (1938) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Billy Gilbert

Block-Heads is one of Laurel and Hardy‘s best films, a very rapid series of funny skits, strung together with a simple story.  Set in 1938, decades after the end of World War I, Stan Laurel is still in the trenches, fighting the war!  He is brought home to America and given a place to stay in a soldier’s home — and his old Army buddy, Oliver Hardy, decides to pick him up and bring him to Ollie’s house for a home-cooked meal. And so, the carnage begins … (more…)

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Our Wife - Dulcy, Oliver Hardy, and Stan Laurel are eloping

Our Wife

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…)

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Me and My Pal - Oliver wants to get married, while everyone else is distracted by the puzzle that Stan brought

Me and My Pal

Movie review of Laurel and Hardy’s Me and My Pal (1933) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson

Me and My Pal, like many of Laurel and Hardy’s best short films, works on one central joke and slowly build up the comedy to a crescendo.  In Me and My Pal, the central joke is, of all things, a jigsaw puzzle.  The basic premise is that Oliver Hardy is about to be married to an oil tycoon’s daughter, which will lead to his own business success and security.  Stan Laurel is going to be Oliver’s best man, and arrives, having made all of the “necessary” arrangements – he has the ring and bought the tickets for Oliver and his bride to go on their honeymoon.  However, the tickets are to the wrong city.  In addition, he’s brought a bag of rice, which promptly gets spilled all over Oliver’s floor, and a wedding gift as well – a jigsaw puzzle. (more…)

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Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel are reduced to begging in One Good Turn

One Good Turn

One Good Turn (1931) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Mary Carr

At the beginning of One Good TurnLaurel 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.

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Pardon Us (1931) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - the first Laurel and Hardy feature length movie

Pardon Us

Pardon Us (1931) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy – the first Laurel and Hardy feature length movie

Buy Pardon Us from Amazon.com 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…)

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Men O'War (1929) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Charlie Hall

Men O’War

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. (more…)

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Another Fine Mess, starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Thelma Todd

Another Fine Mess

movie review for Laurel and Hardy’s short film, Another Fine Mess (1930)

Another Fine Mess is an early talking Laurel and Hardy short film, and is an extremely funny short film.  The basic plot has Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy on the run from the police, not wanting to go to jail for vagrancy.  They run into a mansion, in order to hide there, but it turns out that the owner Colonel Buckshot (played by Laurel and Hardy regular James Finlayson) is leaving the country for a safari, and has advertised his mansion as being for rent.  Unfortunately for Stan and Ollie, potential renters arrive while the police are still looking for them outside, and so Ollie impersonates Lord Buckshot, and Stan takes the role of “Hives” the butler. (more…)

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Night Owls - Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy try to sneak over the wall onto the Chief's property

Night Owls

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. (more…)

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