Half A Man  
  Director: Harry Sweet • Producer: Joe Rock • Titles: Tay Garnett
Assistant director: Murray Rock • Cinematography: Edgar Lyons • Editor: ?
  30 August 1925  
  Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) / Standard Photoplay Company  
  silent short  

(click images for Amazon)

"The panic of Presedential Year gripped the village of New Tuna - The Fish would do nothing until after election."  And so begins our story.  Filbert McSweeney, an elderly and penniless man, puts up a 'for sale' sign on his beach home, "Flotsam Castle".  After kissing goodbye to the post holding the sign, he makes his way back to his home on the beach, where his wife comforts him.
In the distance, a young man is gayly skipping around on the beach, oblivious to any problems in the world.  He is Winchell McSweeney (Stan Laurel), the son of the broken man.  He stops, pulls out a lollipop then approaches his tearful mother.  As Winchell is wiping away her tears with a handkerchief, Mr. McSweeney breaks the news that it is time for his son to make his own, difficult way in the world.  Winchell takes the news on board for a moment whilst getting his sticky lollipop entangled in his mother's hair before giving it another lick.
The father bids his son a farewell, reminding him not to forget about his dancing lessons.  The two men shake hands, with Winchell depositing his lollipop in his father's palm.  The father kicks Winchell in the rear, which sends his hat into the air.  Mother warns her son to be cautious of women, whom are not to be trusted.  Wenchell bids his farewell, then promptly walks into a large fishing net. In a small sea-front town, the young man sits on a bench by a post office when two navy women stop by to tie up their shoes. Winchell, not knowing what to do, gets up and walks to the dock and boards a vessel, trying to avoid contact with them. Unfortunately (for him) they also get on board. The boat leaves the dock and heads out to sea, where four more women in navy uniforms latch on to him.
Winchell fumbles his way around the deck trying to get away from the advancing women until he finally escapes from them. As he sits on top of the deck, he is grabbed from behind by a French maiden (Blanche Payson) who then carries him off (literally) and sits him at the dinner table, where the captain and other female sailors are dining.
The woman offers Wenchell a pork chop but when he refuses it she smashes a cup over his head; then continues to feed him from a fork.  A younger, much prettier lady (Julie Leonard) is introduced, who seems to be able to pursuade Wenchell to try another pork chop.  He takes one bite and then excuses himself from the table, but not before Blanche makes him eat another!  He gets up and stumbles around the deck, almost falling overboard.  The captain finds Wenchell curled up in a heap and asks if he is excersising, advising him to try eating sea pork.  The mere mention of pork sends Wenchell running away, holding his mouth with a handkerchief.  The captain offers the young man some words of encouragement despite the fact Wenchell can hardly stay on his feet from sea-sickness.  The girls on the boat continue their dinner and all of a sudden, and all at the same time discover that something is wrong with the food; then it's a mad rush to the railings for the entire crew!  Later, Wenchell is at the helm of a camera and attempting to take a photograph of the entire crew, but when he uses a little too much gunpowder for the shot it manages to set the boat alight!

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ As the crew panics to get to the only lifeboat on the vessel, with Wenchell hogging every life preserver and jacket on board.  It's ladies first and they leave in the only lifeboat, with the six men left on board.  The captain declares they will "all die together" like men and jump overboard to their fate.  Wenchell remains on board and later manages to reach land, where the women are waiting for him.  Perched on rocks down by the shore, they spot him coming out of the sea and rush excitedly to his aide before chasing him around the beach until he surrenders to their urges!
After a brief argument with the sea, Wenchell runs off to the top of a tall cliff edge, pursued by the chasing women.  He orders to stop or else he will jump and to highlight the height of the cliff he throws a large rock down to the beach below.  The women, led by Blanche Payson, back off and instead she carryieshim off down the beach on her shoulders.
The next day, Wenchell frolics around on the beach without a care whilst Blanche scowls at him from the rocks like a deranged monster (damn - that woman is sexy!)  She creeps up on him, pulling strange and maniacal faces.  Poor Wenchell runs back to the other women with his clothing half torn and begging to be saved.  They chase him back to the cliff top, where all of a sudden the other sailors are seen walking out of the sea and onto the beach.  Wenchell no longer has anything to bargain with and in an amazing twist, Blanche picks him up and throws him off the cliff!  The women go after the seven sailors, who run back into the sea.  Wenchell, who has somehow survived the fall is embraced by one of the women, but not for long - Blanche and the others come running after him again.

•Also known as No Sleep On The Deep.
Stan Laurel's first wife Lois appears in the film.
•Filmed on Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California, USA.
•There are 39 intertitle cards during the film.  They are all listed below.
•This was Stan Laurel's last film for Joe Rock.

Did you notice?
•When we first see Stan Laurel skipping along the beach there is a curved marking in the sand in the center/bottom of the screen.  Something made that mark?
•Stan licks his lollipop a total of nine times.
•Stan's father kisses Stan on the cheek, and later Stan kisses his mother full on the mouth.
•In a rather over-milked gag, Stan Laurel spends exactly 50 seconds in the fishing net - and we still don't see him getting out of it!
•The name of the boat is "Maud F.", Newport, California.  There is a crew of 12 people.
•There are 8 women on the desert isle, yet only 5 of them arrive in the lifeboat.  Work that out!
•After the women abandon the boat, leaving the men on board, the captain tells the men they shall "all die together".  Seeing as they are all sailors, and with land in sight in the not-too-far distance, I find it rather strange, especially as they should all technically be able to swin given their profession?
•When Stan has a verbal and physical argument with the sea as it rushes in.  Odd.
•Of the 8 women, seven wear white uniforms.  The one in the dark uniform is Julie Leonard.
•Blanche Payson calls Wenchell "Cookie" when she summons him on the cliff top (wouldn't that be just enough to make you want to jump off a cliff?!!)
•One intertitle card says that the sun rose sharply at dawn the next day.  Really?  The sun rising at dawn?
•The next title card refers to Blanche Payson who is stalking Stan Laurel: "Beauty and the Beast".  No comment.
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

Stan Laurel
Winchell McSweeney
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Blanche Payson
Shipwrecked woman
Lois Neilson
Shipwrecked woman
Julie Leonard
Shipwrecked woman

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Tui Bow
Shipwrecked woman
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Murray Rock
Boat crew
Mrs. McSweeney
Mr. McSweeney
Shipwrecked woman #1
Shipwrecked woman #2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015888/ (IMDb.com)
"Laurel OR Hardy" by Rob Stone (book)
THe Laurel & Hardy Scrapbook" by Jack Scagnetti (book)

This page was last updated on: 12 March 2014