Habeas Corpus  

Director: James Parrott Producer: Hal Roach ♦ Dialogue: H.M. Walker ♦ Story: Leo McCarey
Cinematography: Len Powers ♦ Editor: Richard C. Currier ♦
Assistant director: Lloyd French ♦ Supervising director: Leo McCarey

Released: 01 December 1928
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / 2-reels (silent short)

   
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Over the supper table, Professor Padilla (Richard Carle) is contemplating a new theory that the human brain has a level surface, when there is a knock at the door.  His butler (Charley Rogers) answers to find Stan and Ollie standing there.  Stan boldly asks for a piece of buttered toast, but is quickly reprimanded by Ollie for doing so.  The professor intervenes and proposes that he could use the Boys and offers them $500 to do a job for him.  The nosey butler listens in on the conversation through the door.
The professor displays his eccentricity as he disposes of his cigarette ash in his jacket pocket, as the Boys look on nervously.  Then he hits them with it, "Go to the graveyard and bring me back a body, tonight".  They don't know quite what to say.  Out in the hall, the butler pulls back his jacket to reveal a detective's badge whilst he makes a telephone call his superior (Leo Sulky) to inform him of what he has just overheard.  His boss tells him to follow the Boys.  In the study, as Stan and Ollie are leaving, the mad professor extinguishes the last of the cigarette ash in his pocket by puring a glass of water into it.  Stan looks on vacantly at what he has seen before Ollie pulls him away.
At five minutes to midnight, the cops arrive at the house and take the professor into custody.
In the middle of the night, Stan and Ollie walk along the road armed with the necessary equipment to exhume a body from the nearby cemetary.  They stop as Stan asks Ollie if he thinks the professor is just a little bit cracked?  Ollie assures his friend that their new employer is sound in the head.  They spot a nearby street sign by the side of the road and decide to investigate their whereabouts.  Giving Stan a subtle push to one side, Ollie asserts himself and offers to climb the post in order to read the sign on top, asking for Stan to give him some elevated assistance.
Ollie climbs the post with a distinct lack of agility, only to discover the obvious "wet paint" sign on top.  Stan also discovers the post has wet paint on when he realises his hand prints are embedded onto Ollie's pants!  Ollie descends the post and sees the damage to his clothing.  Stan seems to get some satisfaction out of this, grinning at the sight.  They pick up their torch and shovels and resume their journey.  Ahead of them at the cemetary, the butler/detective dons a white sheet and hides in the shadows, expecting the Boys to arrive shortly.  As the Boys approach the graveyard, their brisk walking suddenly slows.
Bravely, Ollie suggests that Stan goes into the graveyard and dig, whilst Ollie stays at the gates to "protect him".  A hesitant Stan slowly makes his way inside but has second thoughts.  But Ollie insists Stan do as he is told, and threatens him with a rock!  A scared Stan plucks up the courage to prepare his night's work but the detective hiding in the bushes sneezes - sending Stan running for his life towards the exit!  Ollie is having none of it, and after a hat exchange, he sends Stan back in for more.  Stan starts to dig a hole when a policeman sees him.  The cop is about to accost Stan when the hiding detective, covered in a white sheet, emerges from the bushes and scares everybody towards the exit.
Stan explains to Ollie, "they buried somebody too soon!"  Ollie is still unpreterbed and leads Stan back to the cemetary gates, which have been closed by the fleeing cop.  It means Stan is going over the wall.  Ollie locks his hands together so that Stan can use them as a means to elevate himself up, but of course, he simply bounces up and down (thirteen times in case you were wondering!)  They try it with Ollie on his hands and knees with Stan standingon his back, but again, that fails.
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/
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Favourite bit    
        COMING SOON

Facts
•Filmed July 16-24 & 30-31, 1928.
•Leo Sulky plays the detective who is seen in the telephone conversation with Charley Rogers, yet strangely his credit is missing from IMDb and other sources claim his scenes were deleted.  Not so.

Did you notice?
•The opening titles sequence are in the shape of gravestones.
•On the original opening titles sequence, the transition between third and fourth cards (when it switches from the card "with Richard Carle and Charlie Rogers" to the card "Directed by James Parrott...."), the former card remains faded onto the screen (see credits section below).  Also note that Charley Rogers's name is mis-spelled as well.
•The opening scene when Stan asks a stranger for food is reminiscent of him doing so later on in One Good Turn.  Now, we have to assume that this was the purpose of them knocking on the Professor's door, but Ollie tells Stan off for asking for the food, which would indicate that was probably not the reason they knocked.  If the Boys were really down on their luck, why would Ollie discourage Stan from asking for food?  Secondly, it feels a bit too convenient that they would then be offered a large sum of money to do a "simple" job?
•The professor wears a wedding ring.
•The sign post which Ollie climbs reveals they are at the corner of Hunter Street and Third Street.
•Ollie climbs a street post in order to find out which street they are on, only to find a wet paint sign and get his suit messed up in the process.  He would do the exact same thing sixteen years later in The Big Noise.
•There is an inconsistency in the painted stripe down Ollie's jacket after he climbs down from the street post.  In the subsequent shot of him walking along the road, the painted white line appears to be different (more tidy) that in the previous shot.
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Stan Laurel
Stan
Oliver Hardy
Ollie
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Richard Carle
Professor Padilla
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Charley Rogers
Ledoux, the butler
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Leo Sulky
Detective on telephone
Chester Bachman
Policeman
 DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/
UNIDENTIFIED
Policeman #1
UNIDENTIFIED
Detective in graveyard


50 STILLS
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Acknowledgements:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018970/ (IMDb.com)
'Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies' by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Del Domenico (DVD print)