The Battle Of The Century
Series: All Stars with Laurel & Hardy Distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  Director: Clyde Bruckman  Cinematography: George Stevens
Production: S-5 Type: Silent short Producer: Hal Roach  Editor: Richard C. Currier
Released: 31 December 1927 Length: 2-reels Titles: H.M. Walker Production supervisor: Leo McCarey


The film opens in a crowd-filled darkened arena, where boxer Stan (by calls himself 'Canvasback Clump'), managed by Ollie, is about to take on the mighty Thunderclap Callahan (Noah Young).  The ring announcer introduces the two oppponents to the audience, mocking Stan in the process.  The crowd add to the mockery as they all nod in unison.
Stan sits in his corner awaiting to fight his menacing-looking opponent as Ollie tries to convince Stan that he will be fine, because he is considered an idol.  The referee (Sam Lufkin) calls the boxers into the centre of the ring and asks if they understand the rules.  Callahan smiles and returns to his corner, ready to fight, with Stan left standing in the middle of the ring alone and confused.
As the bell rings to start the bout, Callahan notes that his glove is unlaced and seeks assistance from his second.  Stan is fired up and in his over-excitement, gets tangled in the ropes.
Against all the odds, Stan manages to (accidentally) knock his opponent out.  But the chance for victory eludes him when he is unable to follow a simple order from the referee to go to a neutral corner whilst the count is layed on.  Later, the opponent recovers in the next round and takes Stan out with one easy punch.  By the time he comes to, the arena has emptied of all the fans.
An insurance salesman offers Ollie a contract in where if Stan was to have an accident then his company would pay out a sum of money to cover it.  This causes Ollie to think up a simple scheme to get his friend injured and thus places a banana peel on the ground, thinking Stan will slip on it.  However, it is the delivery man for a pie company who makes the use of the gag and retaliates by throwing a pie into Ollie's face.  Then all hell breaks loose.


Favourite bit
It has to be the world record-breaking pie fight, which used 3,000 pies in the short sequence in reel two.

Production S-5 - All Star series with Laurel & Hardy.
Copyrighted January 9, 1928.

Filming dates
October 5-13, and 27-29, 1927.  Retakes November 11, 1927.
This film holds the record for the most amount of pies thrown in a single film.
Half of the film was considered lost until 2015 when an almost-complete print was located.
Anita Garvin always told how she did her bit in Battle during a break on an Charley Chase film.  The production dates suggests she was doing Never The Dames Shall Meet with Charley Chase at that time.  Interestingly enough, both films had the same production time (apart from some retakes for Battle... on November 27-29): October 5th to 13th.
Sam Lufkin refereed the boxing bout between Stan Laurel and Noah Young.  He would later repeat the role when Stan Laurel defeated Walter Long in Any Old Port.
The title card uses the exact same template as the previously-released film, Putting Pants On Philip.
The winning purse for the boxing match is $100.  The loser receives $5.  According to Ollie, that is a difference of $1500.

What the experts say

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Stan Laurel
Canvasback Clump
Oliver Hardy
Dorothy Coburn
Pie victim
George B. French
Anita Garvin
Woman who slips on pie
Dick Gilbert
Sewer worker
Charlie Hall
Boxing announcer/
Pie delivery man
Noah Young
Thunderclap Callahan
Al Hallett
Pie victim
Sam Lufkin
Boxing referee
Gene Morgan
Ring announcer
Eugene Pallette
Insurance agent
Lyle Tayo
Woman at window
Dick Sutherland
Dental patient
Ellinor Vanderveer
Lady in car
Jack O'Brien
Shoeshine patron
Steve Murphy
Callahan's second
Wilson Benge
Lou Costello
Ringside spectator
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Jack Hill
Ringside spectator
Ham Kinsey
Ringside spectator
Ed Brandenburg
Warring pedestrian
Pete Gordon
Barber who falls in trashcan
  Bob O'Connor
Warring pedestrian
  Jack Adams
(unknown role)



The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR
SECTIONS 2,4,8,9,10,12,13


Peter Mikkelsen (help and information)
Jorge Finkielman (lobby card)
Jesse Brisson (identification in The Battle Of The Century)

This page was last updated on: 31 January 2017