One Good Turn  
 
Laurel & Hardy series
Production No. L-2
31 October 1931
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
sound short
2-reels

 

Director: James W. Horne Cinematography: Art Lloyd
Producer: Hal Roach Editor: Richard C. Currier
Dialogue: H.M. Walker Sound recording: Elmer Raguse

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Stan and Ollie are vagabonds, sleeping rough and eating food heated up over a fire.  Ollie is on his hands and knees washing his clothing on a rock down by a brook as Stan attends to cooking their supper behind a bush.  A loud slurping sound stops Ollie in his tracks so he calls Stan over for him to explain the noise, which he confesses was him trying the soup.  Ollie tells him to hang the washing up on a line then when Stan is gone he gives a few licks of the spoon himself and nods in approval.
Ollie continues to wash the clothes as Stan hangs the clean ones on the makeshift line they have erected.  Stan returns to tend to the fire/soup but trips on the tent and it collapses into the fire, setting alight their camp.  He panics to put out the flames, which have already consumed the tent, and grabs a metal cup and hurredly walks off through the brook (right under Ollie's nose) and draws fresh water from a standing pump.  Backwards and forwards, three times he goes before Stan finally announces that their tent is on fire.  Ollie goes to see for himself before realising the predicament.  It gets worse: Stan throws the tin of soup over the fire as a last resort to quell the flames.  With the tent gone, and the food thrown away Ollie resigns and asks what could be worse, before noticing the washing on the line has significantly shrunk to the size of a childs.
Surprisingly enough Ollie simply accepts their bad luck and walks away before telling Stan they are going to have to humiliate themselves by begging for food (again).
The boys drive to a house where an elderly lady is hosting a group of people (which include James Finlayson and Dorothy Granger) for the rehearsal of a play.  Ollie whistles to see if there are any dogs in the yard but the coast is clear.  Stan takes the initiative and goes to open the gate.  After struggling to open it, Ollie takes over with a simple pull.  Stan walks up to the back door and wipes his feet on the doormat before he kicks it backwards into Ollie's face.  Stan apologetically wipes the dust from Ollie's suit and blows it from his face, sending his hat int the air.  Ollie returns the favour.
The boys knock on the door but this upsets the rolling blind and as they flee from the doorstep Ollie trips over the dustbins.  The elderly lady answers the door and Ollie explains they are victims of the Depression and haven't tasted food for three whole days.  "Yesterday, today and tomorrow" adds Stan.  The kind lady agrees to make them something to eat.  Ollie asks if there is some way they can show their appreciation but when the lady dismisses the idea Stan pipes up that Ollie could chop some wood - to which the lady accepts.  Of course, Ollie isn't pleased that he has been nominated by Stan to do the chopping and insists Stan cut the wood.  Stan claims he knows nothing about such things but Ollie reminds him that he once claimed his father was in the lumber business.  Stan: "he used to sell toothpicks"!
Stan's first log chop sends half of it skywards and Ollie tells him to be careful.  Too late, the log rolls off the roof and hits him on the head.  Ollie chases Stan to the porch but slips over on a can which has been spilled from the trash just as the lady comes to tell them their meals are ready.  The boys step into the small kitchen and find their food awaiting them on a table.  Ollie thanks the lady and puts his hat on the side.  Stan passes his hat to Ollie to put with his but Ollie instead throws it aggressively on the floor and then watches as Stan helps himself to all but one of the sandwiches which are on the table.  Lazy Ollie then tells dumb Stan to pour the coffee, which he does all down Ollie's clothes.  He retaliates by pouring the milk and sugar down Stan's clothing.  Stan takes the strange decision to then add coffee to it before dipping his spoon into the mixture and flinging it into Ollie's face.




Just then there is a ring of the doorbell.  The lady answers the door to one James Finlayson, who is there to foreclose the mortgage on her house.  Of course, this is an extension of their previous scene together in rehearsing their play but the boys in the kitchen do not realise this as they overhear the conversation.  Initially the lady offers to pay him the money but then realises she has been robbed, much to Fin's glee.  As she slumps over her table sobbing the boys take charge of the situation by agreeing to raise the $100 needed to keep her in the house and sneak out the back.
Stan and Ollie have parked their car in the street where Ollie appeals to a crowd of onlookers.  He tells them the story of the elderly lady's predicament and asks for them to bid $100 for their only worldly possession - their car  A drunken bystander (Billy Gilbert) steps up and bids the money Ollie needs, pulling the cash out of his wallet before placing it accidentally into Stan's jacket pocket.  As Ollie begins to close the bidding, an elderly gentleman asks Stan the time.  Ollie is speaking so loudly that Stan has to shout above him as he offers the time being 1:25.  The shout closes the auction and Ollie, believing this is the new higher bid, accepts $125.  The crowd disperses and a confused Ollie realises what has happened.  He notices the wallet in Stan's pocket and asks where he got it and when Stan is unable to provide an answer Ollie assumes his friend has stolen it from the old lady.  Ollie unleashes a barrage of verbal abuse on Stan and threatens to expose him to the lady.  A struggle ensues and the two men end up falling through the car and destroying it right there in the street.
Ollie hoists Stan up on his back and carries him back to the old lady's house.  Ollie informs her that his "one time friend" has a confession to make.  Although Stan protests his innocence, Ollie claims he caught him red-handed taking the money.  The lady laughs and sets the record straight that what the boys overheard was a rehearsal of a play.  An embarrassed Ollie tries to wriggle out of it but Stan unleashes his fury.  He chases Ollie out into the back and threatens him with an axe as Ollie takes cover in the large shed.  Stan is relentless, kicking Ollie, beating him, an chopping wood in such an aggressive manner that the logs fall on his head.  After the sustained attack though, a wayward log fails to land on Ollie and instead hits Stan on the head.  This gives Ollie the advantage, who rises from the stricken shed and chases Stan off.

Favourite bit
There can only be one scene which qualifies for this award: Stan unleashing a furious assault on Ollie at the end is unmissable.  Wrongly accused of theft, Stan gets his revenge on his friend by chasing him with an axe through the back yard and into a log shed.  When Ollie refuses to surrender, Stan chops down the shed and it comes crashing down on his head.  Still not content, Stan starts to chop wooden blocks so they fly up into the air and conveniently land down hard on Ollie's trapped head.  It's a rare victory for Stan and done in style too!

Facts
Production L-2 - Laurel & Hardy series.
Copyrighted October 5, 1931.
Also released with Spanish subtitles as "¡Salvad a las mujeres!" (Save The Ladies!), which was a compilation made by Roach to release in the foreign market this one and Come clean together as a long movie.
The ending of the film was Stan's idea.  His daughter Lois, who would have been 3 years old at the time, was upset that Ollie kept 'getting' her father in their films, so Stan came up with the scene where he got the better of Ollie for once just to convince her they were just pretending to hurt one another.

Filming dates
June 15-26, 1931.

Trivia
The registration of the boys' car is: 6M 28 5*.  (* the last letter/number after the 5 is unreadable).
In the opening scene where Ollie is washing his clothes by the brook, there is a small waterfall behind him to the left.
The boys have a candle sticking from the mouth of a glass bottle in their tent.
When Ollie throws down Stan's hat at the dinner table, it lands upright.
The elderly lady makes the boys six sandwiches.  Stan takes 5 of them.
Despite Stan's clumsy behaviour at the table, it is an insulting waste of food for Ollie to deliberately pour the sugar and milk down Stan's clothing in retaliation for Stan spilling the coffee.  Not only this, but Ollie deliberately throws the sandwich on the floor as well.  For two men who claim to be starving and in desperate need of food this seems to be very rude of them.  But surely not as rude as the end scene where Stan takes an axe and smashes down the lady's wooden shed in the back garden!
Mary Carr's character in the play is Christine DeMandville.
During the auction of the car, the scene takes place in front of J.W. Burns, a sporting goods store for golfers.
When Stan and Ollie return to the old lady's house after the car auction Ollie just barges in through the back door without even knocking.
Stan's prolonged assault on Ollie involves two punches to the face, a poke in the eye, two kicks to the shins, three kicks to the pants and two chopped logs to the head.

Stan Laurel
Stan
Oliver Hardy
Ollie
Mary Carr
Old lady
James Finlayson
Himself
Lyle Tayo
Community player
Dorothy Granger
Community player
Gordon Douglas
Community player
Snub Pollard
Community player
Billy Gilbert
Drunk
Baldwin Cooke
Auction passerby
 
Ham Kinsey
Auction passerby
 
Charles Lloyd
Auction passerby
 
  Dick Gilbert
Car auction onlooker
 
  William Gillespie
(unknown character)
 
  Retta Palmer
(unknown character)
 
     


CREDITS POSTERS & LOBBY CARDS




SHOT ON THE LOT
The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR



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Acknowledgements:
Carlos Devanti (information on Spanish release)

This page was last updated on: 16 August 2018