Series: (Jimmy Aubrey/Babe Hardy)
Director: Jess Robbins
Producer: Albert E. Smith
Writer: Jess Robbins
Photography: Irving G. Ries
Stars: Jimmy Aubrey, Oliver Hardy
Released: November 1920
Length: 2 reels
Filming dates: early 1920
Jimmy sits on a barrel in the backyard with an apple pearched atop his head whilst a young lady shoots arrows at him. When one hits him a mele ensues with him, her, and the four young kids who are with her. Jimmy ties one of the kids to a washing line with a peg and reels him away. As the tussle continues on the ground Jimmy tries to shove a kid head-first into a barrel and a fat black woman gets hit with an arrow up on her balcony. After a long while, and after a beating from the black woman, Jimmy resumes his position by the fence and the young lady carries on shooting arrows in his direction. One misses him and hits the fence - and a cop on the other side of it! The cop peers over the fence and the lady and kids try to hide in the single barrel, whilst Jimmy evades the officer by running through a gate in the fence.
The chase continues for a while with both men weaving in and out of the fence until the cop is left chasing himself. Jimmy escapes the yard only to be confronted by a second cop. Jimmy runs back into the yard and hides whilst the first cop hits the second cop, believing him to be Jimmy. This leads to a struggle between the cops on opposite sides of the fence. The cop on the outside of the fence accosts the first cop and spends an eternity making his point that he outranks the other. Eventually they discover Jimmy hiding in the barrel and after dumping it onto the ground they try to retrieve him from it, with much pulling but with no result except for the fact both officers lose a sleeve each from their uniform.
The two officers stand either side of the barrel and pull Jimmy sideways through it until he loses his trousers and falls out of one end. (see favourite bit). One of the two cops falls through the fence and knock over a batallion of officers who have just emerged from their headquarters, whilst Jimmy ends up in the corner of the yard covered in rubbish. The chase starts up again inside the yard between Jimmy and the original cop who then chases him across the street and into the police station where he then barricades the door to stop the cops from coming in. Jimmy begs the desk sergeant to help him from the cops, who have grabbed a large street sign to ram the door in with. The cops break through the door and all end up in a heap as Jimmy somehow manages to get the sergeant's uniform on and bring the rowdy cops to order. What happens next is something straight out of Monty Python (though fifty years in advance) as the cops all strike one another and fall to the floor simultaneously.
Enter the heavy - Babe Hardy, who is handed a note advising him to get away before the cops get to him and that the girl's grandpa is looking for him. Babe storms into the building where the kids are playing a game of hide and seek with the young lady, and throws his weight around immediately by pulling a boy out from under the bed and throwing him so hard he ends up in the room across the hall. A second boy follows in similar fashion after Babe finds him in his wardrobe. A third is thrown through a window, before their mother confronts the brute and then gets his hand in her face and launched in the same manner! The mother leaves to find a cop, which she drags across the ground back to the apartment to deal with Babe. Unfortunately it backfires, as Babe gives the cop (Aubrey) the same violent treatment - repeatedly! Jimmy tries to plea with Babe but to no avail and is thrown from the second-storey window! The dozen officers who then storm the apartment all get the same treatment, with Babe in a monstrous rage, throwing them all out one by one. The cops run away but Babe isn't done with them and gives chase. He is finally defeated by a passing vehicle which knocks him down and out and is then dragged to the station by Aubrey the cop.
Jimmy Aubrey being yanked back and forward inside the barrel.
• Copyrighted October 2, 1920.
• Working title: Paradise Alley".
• This was the 22nd film that Aubrey & Hardy appeared in together.
• Rob Stone's book lists Jack Ackroyd, Jack Duffy, Kathleen Myers and Evelyn Nelson in the cast but I suspect this is wrong. I believe the girl is Florence Gilbert.
• The film was preserved in 2018 at Colorlab Corporation using the only known surviving element: a 35mm tinted nitrate print from EYE Filmmuseum. The intertitles were translated from the Dutch and are modern re-creations. The work was supervised by the Library of Congress with funding provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation. It can be viewed here.
• When Jimmy winds the kid up the washing line you can see somebody's hand at the bottom-left of the screen giving directions briefly. It is just in shot. See here.
• When the cop gets an arrow in his bum, there is a poster on the fence advertising a Vitagraph film. See here.
• Oliver Hardy shows up just before the 15 minutes mark.
What the experts say
• "It should be noted that there are some clever gags in the film, most notably with Jimmy being yanked through a barrel on the floor, four kids trying to fit into another barrel and a game of hide and seek between Jimmy and the cop. Babe is an absolute brute of a man here: throwing kids through rooms, windows and even deals with a mother who dares to confront him for assaulting her children and gets launched across the hall! However, that doesn't excuse the dullness of the rest of the film. Hardy's five minutes of screen time easily outweigh Aubrey's fifteen!" ~ Lord Heath.
Acknowledgements & sources:
Laurel or Hardy by Rob Stone (book, pp. 259-260)
Martín Arias (help)
This page was last updated on: 29 October 2018