Series: Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly

Director: Gus Meins
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Francis Corby
Editor: Ray Snyder
Sound: Harry Baker

Stars: Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly, Arthur Housman, Eddie Conrad, Leo White
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 10 November 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: A-25
Filming dates:
Rating: 6/10

Done In Oil


The film begins with Thelma finishing off some touches to a painting she is making, whilst poor Patsy patiently poses for her. When Thelma calls a break, Patsy stands up and starts creaking with stiffness. The landlord calls in on the girls and demands his three-months back rent that they owe him or else they face eviction at the end of the week. A couple of gentlemen across the hall witness the landlord's abrupt threat and slip a carpet sweeper under him, causing an accident. Drunken neighbor Arthur Housman takes control of the situation (yes, you read that right) by telling Thelma he can sell anything that anyone can paint and offers to help the girls out, realizing their potential. Arthur decides he will call her "Madame La Todd" (and Patsy is "Fifi, the French maid") and promises to enter her work in an exhibition. He takes a photograph of Thelma, forgetting he had left a glass in the contraption, as it breaks.
The girls, now assuming their newly-adopted identities. are tidying up the apartment when three distinguished French art critics arrive. "Fifi" takes their hats and coats and, after a brief language barrier difficulty, shows them over to "Madame La Todd". She entertains her new friends whilst Fifi hides discarded underwear behind a painting on the wall which is soon discovered by one of the men.
In walks Arthur, in his usual drunken manner, as the girls lay on a buffet for the guests. After being told that the discovered underwear belongs to Magnolia, their maid, one of the guests asks for her. In walks Patsy in blackface and with a padded chest and rear to match. When Thelma notices Patsy has not "blacked" her hands, she quickly grabs a (convenient) paintbrush and rectifies the error before anyone notices.
Patsy starts playing up and acting drunk, adjusting her over-size breasts and backside as the gentlemen begin laughing uncontrollably. Thelma banishes Patsy into the kitchen where Arthur waits. There he encourages Patsy (who has now removed her blackface) to paint something with his inspiration. It's a mess, but naturally the art critics see it and demand that it be sold to them. A bidding war ensues between them and Arthur over the painting, and after a fee is agreed the Frenchmen are delighted - until Patsy leans up against it and the pattern ends up on her dress, leaving only the impression of her bum cheeks on the canvas.

  Favourite bit
Well it's hard not to notice all the shots of Thelma Todd's cleavage throughout the film!

Copyrighted November 1, 1934.
The eleventh film in the series.
The opening credits are displayed on a rotating painter's palette.
The photo of Thelma Todd used for the newspaper is certainly not the one taken by Arthur Housman in the film! It is actually a publicity still from The Devil's Brother, made the year before.
In the scene where Thelma walks into the apartment carrying the canvases, Patsy is sweeping up. There is a pretty decent shot of her cleavage, but of course not to be outdone, Thelma offers a slightly revealing shot of herself shortly afterwards.
Seriously, does Thelma Todd ever wear a bra?
The apartment used resembles the one occupied by Charles Middleton in Laurel & Hardy's The Fixer Uppers which was filmed a year later. In that film, the apartment is also used as a painter's studio.
What the experts say
"NONE" ~ Lord Heath.

Thelma Todd
Patsy Kelly
Fifi the French maid/
Magnolia the black maid
Arthur Housman
Eddie Conrad
First French art expert
Leo White
Second French art expert
Rolfe Sedan
Third French art expert
Art Rowlands
Artist across the hall
William Wagner


(click image to enlarge)

This page was last updated on: 10 November 2019