Slipping Wives  
 
03 April 1927
Pathé Exchange
silent short
2-reels

 

Director: Fred L. Guiol  Producer: Hal Roach  Titles: H.M. Walker
Cinematography: George Stevens  Editor: Richard C. Currier  Assistant director: Lewis R. Foster

AVAILABLE ON DVD

A married couple are eating breakfast when the wife (Priscilla Dean) throws a hint at her artist husband, Leon (Herbert Rawlinson) that it is her birthday.  He is so wrapped up in reading his newspaper that he doesn't hear her.  The butler (Oliver Hardy) announces that a guest has arrived and it gives the wife just enough time to extend the hint and offer a kiss.  She calls after her husband "haven't you forgotten something?"  He returns - to fetch his newspaper and then leaves to greet the Hon. Winchester Squirtz, who has come to look at his paintings.  The wife is frustrated by her husband's lack of affection towards her.
Leon and Squirtz discuss the latest painting; a group of ballerina women who are posed in his studio.  Pleased with what he sees, Squirtz goes to leave, but accidentally ends up with the artists' paint pallet on his top hat.  After returning it to its rightful owner, Squirtz stumbles across the neglected wife, who is still sobbing at the breakfast table.  His charm comforts the woman, who confides in him with the troubles of her marriage.  Squirtz thinks for a moment and then suggests that they find another man to "make love" to her in order to make her husband jealous.  She thinks it's a good idea and asks Squirtz to do the deed!  Squirtz initially refuses.
Another visitor, Ferdinand Flamingo (Stan Laurel) arrives at the house with a delivery of paint and is told to use the servant's entrance by the butler (Hardy).  Ferdinand gets upset and the two get embroiled in a fight on the doorstep.  A pot of white paint is dropped and spilled and it's only a matter of time before someone ends up getting it on them.  That someone being the butler.  The wife comes to the door, sees him covered in paint and tells him to stop playing and then invites the painter inside.
Squirtz makes the suggestion to the wife that the painter could be the man to "make love" to her in order to enrage her husband.  She agrees and puts the offer to Ferdinand.  Ferdinand is shocked and assumes the husband is Squirtz and after some pursuading he agrees to play along.  The butler is told to find suitable clothing for the new guest.  Ferdinand takes advantage of the servant by deliberately dropping his hat for the butler to pick up.  When the wife's back is turned, the butler chases the unwanted guest out of the room.
Squirtz leaves, oblivious to the stool his top-hat has inherited, which is cut off when he walks out of the door.  In the bedroom, the butler instructs Ferdinand that he must take a bath before he tries on the master's clothing.  Ferdinand refuses, and the fight between them resumes.  The butler chases Ferdinand into a cupboard and later emerges with him under his arm before frogmarching Ferdinand into the bathroom.  The struggle continues and with the inevitable result - the butler ends up in the bath.
The butler gets out of the bath and begins to throw down his wet clothing.  Afraid, Ferdinand quickly gets into the bath, fully clothed before being repeatedly dunked by the angry servant.
Later that evening, a new guest arrives at the house, much to the anticipated excitement of the hostess.  She tells her husband that she has invited a famous novelist (his speciality is fairy stories) to spend the weekend at the house.  Ferdinand (now using the alias of Lionel Ironsides) is introduced to the husband first, and then to Squirtz (whom 'Lionel' still believes to be the husband).  The four sit down, with 'Lionel' next to the wife on the sofa, and with the two men opposite on chairs.  'Lionel' sits nervously, unable to relax.  Leon asks the guest about his latest book.  When Lionel tells him it's about Samson and Delilah, the husband and Squirtz both show their contempt.


  Lionel gets up to demonstrate the story of his book by acting out the characters.  The onlookers are not impressed.  When Lionel steps out of the room to adjust his performance, Jarvis the butler (now sporting a black eye) makes the most of an opportunity to kick him in the pants.  Lionel returns to the guests to continue his performance and trips over.  After some pantomime, he steps back out again.  Jarvis takes another swinging kick at Lionel but this time misses and ends up on his back.

REVIEW INCOMPLETE


  Favourite bit
Undecided.

Facts
•Filmed October 20 - November 3, 1926.
•Copyrighted January 17, 1927.
•Production S-18 - All Star series with Priscilla Dean.  Also featuring Herbert Rawlinson, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
•Some sources list a release date of April 17, 1927.
Did you notice?
•Hardy's moustache is absent.
•Leon only kisses his wife on Sundays and holidays.
•I am guessing that in 1927, the suggestion of getting another man to "make love" to a married woman just to make her husband jealous was an acceptable solution to a marriage problem?!  Not only that, the man in this storyline who takes the job is called "Squirtz".  OK, maybe I am reading too much into this....!  Later, the wife offers Stan's character money to make love to her.  In today's society, such an offer would be received with a different reaction!
•In terms of appearances, Oliver Hardy is first seen instructing Leon that a visitor has arrived.  Stan Laurel appears after approximately 3½ minutes into the film as the second visitor to the house.
•The married couple's house number is 541.
•Ferdinand (Laurel) is dunked six times in the bath by the butler (Hardy).
•There is a model boat on top of a cabinet in the hallway where Hardy kicks Laurel.
Priscilla Dean
The wife
Herbert Rawlinson
Leon, the husband
Stan Laurel
Ferdinand Flamingo
a.k.a. Lionel Ironsides
Oliver Hardy
Jarvis, the butler
Albert Conti
Hon. Winchester Squirtz

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Acknowledgements:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017405/ (IMDb.com)
"Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies" by Randy Skratvedt (book)
Peter Mikkelsen (lobby card)

This page was last updated on: 03 April 2015