The Finishing Touch  
25 February 1928
silent short


  DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess -
Director Supervising director Producer Cinematography Editor
Clyde Bruckman Leo McCarey Hal Roach George Stevens Richard C. Currier


Stan and Ollie are employed by a homeowner to complete building his house before a deadline. Offering a hefty bonus to the boys as an incentive if they finish on time they get straight to work.
As things steadily get broken, makeshift wheelbarrow ramps are destroyed, nails are swallowed and platforms are sawed in half, a rather frustrated nurse (Coburn) from a nearby hospital complains to a passing policeman (Kennedy) that the boys are making far too much noise and tells him to have a word with them.
By this time Ollie is already so aggravated by Stan's clumsy chaos that he is chasing him around the perimeter of the property that neither one of them notice the cop's presence. A quiet word in their ears should have been enough to prevent further disturbance, but in fact it does the complete opposite when the slow destruction of the property intensifies.
Far from pleased by the cop's inability to take control of the situation, nurse Coburn confronts the boys herself with a no-nonsense attitude and despite giving both of them a good shove she leaves embarrassed when she is convinced her underwear has torn as she bends over. In fact the culprit is Stan deliberately tearing a sheet of sandpaper for the effect in order to get rid of her.  The boys continue to work (separately rather than together!) and eventually are proud to present the finished article to the pleased owner. But his being pleased is short-lived as soon as a bird lands on top of the chimney and the whole house begins to collapse.

Upon seeing this the owner quickly takes back the bonus he had just given to Ollie, but he is unwilling to hand it back so they three of them resort to a football-type passing of the money, throwing it to each other to avoid the owner getting his hands on it. Eventually this routine ends when the boys are tackled to the ground by the frustrated owner. As the fight then escalates into throwing rocks at one another, Stan removes the rock which is acting as a brake to the truck they have parked on a slope. The vehicle rolls backwards, destroying the house once and for all as the film ends.
It's one of the better of their silent films, making full use of a simple idea and extending it through twenty minutes of film time. The pace never lets up and doesn't get stale. Whether it's Stan putting two broken pieces of wood together to make a ramp, Ollie taking repeated mouthfuls of nails because his hands are full, or the cop who twice gets his uniform destroyed by glue and then paint, this is an enjoyable slapstick two-reeler.

Favourite bit

•Filmed December 2-17, 1927.
•The location used for the filming was situated at Motor Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
•The DVD versions on the "Lost Films" series and the "Kirch/Universal" DVD differ slightly with alternative angles used in some of the scenes.

Did you notice?

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Dorothy Coburn
Edgar Kennedy
Sam Lufkin
House owner


Acknowledgements: (
"Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies" by Randy Skretvedt (book)

This page was last updated on: 08 June 2014