The Lucky Dog
|Series:||Stan Laurel||♦||Distribution:||Reelcraft||♦||Director:||Jess Robbins||♦||Cinematography:||Irvin G. Reis|
|Production:||♦||Type:||Silent short||♦||Producer:||Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson||♦||Editor:||?|
|Released:||10 October 1921||♦||Length:||2-reels||♦||♦|
|BEST DVD VERSION|
Stan is evicted by his landlady for non-payment of rent, and to underline her point she firstly throws his suitcase at him and then tries to attack him with a broom. Dazed from the beating, he sits in the middle of the street and envisions images of dancing ladies in a dreamlike sequence before it is broken by the arrival of a small dog who comes up and licks his face. Stan is brought back to reality when he realises the woman he is kissing and cuddling in his dream turns out to be the dog! Oblivious to his surroundings, he doesn't notice a streetcar coming straight towards him from the rear. The conductor pulls up, gets out and moves him out of the way and drives off before yet another streetcar approaches him from the opposite direction.
Disorientated, Stan runs into it before falling down and being picked up (literally) by an approaching car. Embedded in the front grille, he is then assisted by the occupants of the vehicle (Jack Lloyd and Florence Gilbert). Stan shakes the gentleman's hand then walks around to the side door to be flirtatious with the young lady, who has gotten back into the car. She responds by asking him to smell her flowers. When Stan isn't looking, the boyfriend gets back into the car and drives off. He then notices that his suitcase is moving all by itsself and he ends up chasing it down the road. Stan pursues his briefcase to a street-corner where a mugger (Hardy) is in the process of holding up a civilian. As Stan bends down to retrieve the dog from his case, he doesn't realise that the robber behind him is actually stuffing his back pockets with the money he has just pinched from his victim.
Hardy sees Stan behind him and turns him around, rather unceremoniously, and holds him at gunpoint, making Stan empty his pockets. Of course, he finds all the money that was placed in his back pocket by the mugger - much to his surprise, not knowing how it got there. Eventually Stan outwits Hardy and runs off down the street and through a hole in the fence. When Ollie tries to fit through the gap himself we are treated to a rather delightful intertitle card!
The next scene is a bit confusing because both men are seen with Stan coming out of a restaurant (I assume, seeing as the window says lunches), and Ollie running into a passing police officer, who then chases after him. Stan emerges from the restaurant a second time holding the dog, accompanied by the owner who points out the sign in the window "No dogs allowed". After several attempts to try and ditch the animal by the road-side, he takes it around the corner to a back alley and tries to put the dog in a garbage bin - all under the watchful eye of a policeman.
Meanwhile, the couple who earlier stopped to help Stan up out of the road show up at a dog exhibition, reserved for thoroughbreds only. Their poodle then becomes entangled with Stan's dog with their respective leads and a tug-of-war ensues between the two owners. The woman walks around the corner to discover to her delight that it is Stan, whom she met earlier. They walk back to her boyfriend and she enters the exhibiton, followed by the boyfriend, but Stan is refused entry when the ticket-taker brings to his attention the show is for thoroughbreds only. When the ticket collector is distracted Stan crawls on all fours behind him and enters the building but is quickly collared and shown the exit, where several of the dogs inside run out and cause chaos. This reunites Stan with the woman, who has lost her dog so he hands over his to her. The policeman whom Stan met in the alleyway walks up to the woman's car and tells her to move it as it is parked in front of a fire hydrant, so Stan gets in and drives off with her as her boyfriend emerges from the exhibition. Hardy at this point is in the alleyway and bumps into the boyfriend but walks off hastily when he sees the watchful eye of the policeman.
This gives the boyfriend an idea of revenge, and he follows Hardy off into the distance. The woman arrives at her home where her father is disturbed by the butler and so kicks him out into the hallway, straight into Stan. When Stan gets up and bends over to get the dog he too gets a kick from the father, who is behind the curtain. When the father pulls back the curtain he explains the kick was intended for the butler and introductions are made. As the woman goes upstairs, Stan is escorted into the main lounge and seated with the father, who makes a fuss of the dog. Stan is distracted by a bottle of bourbon on the table next to him, to the point where a sneaky attempt to take a drink ends up with him getting his finger stuck in the open bottle top. The boyfriend has arrived at the house - accompanied by villain Hardy, who is armed with two pistols and some Bolsheviki candy.
The owner introduces his guests to each other - Stan recognises the two new arrivals as the boyfriend and the villain who tried to rob him earlier and is immediately uncomfortable. Even moreso when Hardy pushes a gun to Stan's face and takes repeated attempts at trying to blow his brains out! After failing to get the gun to fire, Stan offers to help out by trying to fix the problem - and ends up shooting the boyfriend out in the hallway, who has started to get frustrated with the girlfriend when she rejects his advances. Ollie goes to find out what has happened as the father enters the room to see Stan, who tries to conceal the gun and ends up shooting Ollie from behind.
Ollie goes upstairs to get the girl on the order of the boyfriend as Stan converses with the father in the living room. The boyfriend throws in a stick of dynamite to get rid of Stan but it is picked up by the dog, who then chases him upstairs with it. Meanwhile, Ollie has 'rescued' the girl and brings her back downstairs, where Stan rushes out with the gun and tries to fire off a shot before the two become emroiled in a fight. Soon after, the dog chases the boyfriend back down the stairs before the he and Ollie run out of the house and into the garden. The dog follows, drops the dynamite next to a bush where the men are hiding and leaves it to explode. Stan gets the girl and gets to keep the lucky dog.
My favourite bit is the first on-screen time the boys share together. Ollie is in the middle of robbing some poor fella when Stan waltzes past and discovers a dog in his briefcase. He bends down to pick it up, oblivious to the fact that behind him a mugger (Hardy) is loading his pockets with money. Stan and Ollie are soon face-to-face and this was the first of many more memorable moments between the two men to follow.... although it would be 6 years since they would share the screen again.
• Stan Laurel film, with Babe Hardy in a supporting role.
• This film is in the public domain.
• December 18, 1920 - February 4, 1921.
• Though technically a Stan Laurel film with Hardy as a supporting player, it was significant in as much as it was the first film in which Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy appeared together - and fortunately in the same scene(s).
• There is some dispute over the year of production. Depending on which source you believe it was anywhere between 1917-1921.
• The uncut version runs for 24 minutes. The most complete version available on DVD is on "The Lost Films" Collection, Volume 3.
• Filmed at Eastlake Park - 3501 Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA.
• Nearly every source I know bills the lead actress as Florence GILLET. This is wrong; her name is GILBERT.
• The guy who plays the butler is Stan Laurel's brother, Teddy Jefferson.
• When Stan is sitting in the street dazed there are nine women who dance around him.
• The lead dancer in the dream sequence does look a lot like Florence Gilbert, the lady who plays the owner of the dog.
• When Stan is kicked out into the middle of the street there is a wooden fence behind him bearing the words "LOS ANGELES OSTRICH FARM". This was a real place, located in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, California.
• The number on the front of the streetcar that almost hits Stan in the middle of the street reads 938 (albeit written backwards). The second streetcar that approaches him shortly afterwards also has writing on it which appears to be backwards. This has the number 900 on it and the word "West" at the top. This would indicate the negative was the wrong way around when transferred to print.
• Laurel & Hardy enthusiast Brad Farrell writes: "The goal was to make it look like the streetcar is approaching Stan at a high speed (without putting him in any real danger), so the footage was shot upside down, with the streetcar moving backwards away from him. Then this portion of the negative was inverted, so that it was now right side-up, moving in reverse (which would make it appear that the streetcar was approaching), and - as you can tell from the words on the trolley - a flipped image. Also of note is that the complete wording on the trolley is actually West 11th-B, Lincoln Park. The road was and is located in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles, and the puzzle fits even more nicely together when you can decipher what is written on the fence: Los Angeles Ostrich Farm, which was a popular southern California attraction from the 1920's - 40's. I've been to that location to try and match up any of the houses in the background, and there appears to be just one remaining that may or may not be seen in the film. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to tell for sure.
• There is a brief moment when the couple in the car stop to help Stan up as the woman (Gilbert) grabs Stan's chest and squeezes. Not sure what that was all about?!
• When the car has driven off and Stan has fallen into the road (again), he is nowhere near his briefcase. Yet, as he goes to get up off the floor in the next shot the case is right beside him.
• Stan and Ollie's first scene comes at around 4:40 with Stan walking along the sidewalk and chasing his briefcase as Ollie is in the process of mugging a civilian at gunpoint.
• Stan calls the dog 'Henry' or 'Henrietta', depending upon its sex.
• The contest in which the dogs enter is the Metropolitan Dog Fanciers Association annual exhibition.
What the experts say
• "The first film to feature both Stan and Ollie is decent enough but nothing spectacular." ~ Lord Heath.
|THE OPENING SCENE|
Most copies of the film available on DVD are missing the opening 20 seconds of the film. Opening scene is a close-up of the hotel with the 'Furnished Rooms' sign in the window. The camera pulls back to reveal the doorway and some animated lightning around the doorframe followed by Stan being thrown out onto the street by the landlady. He sits on the sidewalk with animated stars around his head in a daze, followed by a question mark above his head. He rubs his hands together and then slowly finds his balance and gets up onto his feet. He then adjusts his hat - - which is the point where most prints of the film then begin.
Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Laurel OR Hardy by Rob Stone (book)
Laurel & Hardy by John McCabe, Al Kilgore & Richard W. Bann (book)
Steve Massa (for identifying the lead actress as Florence Gilbert)
This page was last updated on: 28 April 2017