Thicker Than Water  
06 August 1935
sound short


Director: James W. Horne  Producer: Hal Roach
Cinematography: Art Lloyd  Editor: Ray Snyderr  Sound recording: William Randall


Stan is lodging with Mr. Hardy and his fiery wife (Daphne Pollard).  The three are sitting at the table eating their dinner when Stan asks for more pie.  Mrs. Hardy snaps back at him that he has already had two portions before questioning him over his overdue rent payment.  Stan offers that he paid the money to Ollie after he said he was the boss.  Ollie quickly hands the money over to his wife, kicks Stan for dropping him in it and then announces they are leaving to go see a ball game.  Unfortunately for them Mrs. Hardy has other ideas - they are staying home to wash the dishes before they do anything!  In the kitchen Ollie reluctantly dons an apron and prepares to wash up, unaware the Stan has over-filled the bowl with soap, which turns into a thick goo.  After a while they start to make some progress despite Ollie dropping the entire washing-up bowl and contents on the floor.  As Ollie washes, Stan wipes.  However, each time Ollie hands Stan a washed-up item Stan wipes it dry then places it straight back in the soapy bowl.  After three plates Ollie twigs what Stan is doing and tells him instead to put the dishes in a nice dry place, so Stan stacks them up on a gas-lighted cooker hob.  Ollie picks them up and burns his hands, dropping the entire lot.
Mr. Finlayson arrives at the house to collect the monthly payment for the furniture that the Hardy's are renting from him.  Stan answers the door.
Fin: "Is Mr. Hardy home?"
Stan: "Yes sir but he's not in." (Stan closes the door).
Such a response deserves another ring of the bell.  Mrs. Hardy this time answers the door and Fin barges into the house past her, demanding his money.  Mrs. Hardy is certain it has already been taken care of and quizzes Ollie over it.  What happens next is unbelievable (seriously!)  A three-way conversation about who gave what money to whom and for what purpose is enough to make anyone scratch their heads!  (see 'favourite bit' for the full scene).  Finlayson gets his money and warns them that in future he doesn't want any detours about who gave it to who to give to who and for what.  After he leaves Mrs. Hardy threatens to throw Stan out but he argues that she cannot do this on the grounds that he paid his rent in advance.  Then it all kicks off again.... so let's move on.  Stan has an idea.  He boldly asks Ollie how much money he and the wife have in the bank and then suggests he withdraws their savings to pay off the furniture outright.  Ollie eagerly tells Mrs. Hardy the idea but she shoots him down flat, telling him the money stays right where it is before leaving the house.
Stan is slightly aggrieved that Ollie has allowed his wife to talk to him in such a manner and gives him a pep talk into taking a firm stance against Mrs. Hardy.  Strangely enough, Ollie agrees to take his friend's advice and go withdraw all the money ($300) from the joint bank account to pay off the furniture.  Armed with the cash-in-hand the boys leave the bank and on their way home pass by an auction house which boasts of 'giving things away' that day.  Intrigued, they enter and are seated next to a woman (Gladys Gale) who is bidding on a grandfather's clock.  During the auction she realises she doesn't have enough money to win the clock she clearly has her heart set on and asks Ollie to keep the bidding open for her whilst she leaves to fetch more funds.  As agreed Ollie continues to bid against another gentleman in the room until Stan joins in - bidding against them both.  The other bidder drops out of the bidding but Stan continues to bid against Ollie.  After bumping the price up substantially Ollie eventually gags Stan and wins the auction on $290.

  When the time comes to pay the boys try to explain that they were bidding on the clock for another lady but the auctioneer won't accept their story and calls the boss (Finlayson again).  He orders them to pay and leave, remembering (and quoting) their previous conversation about the furniture payment.
Mrs. Hardy arrives at the bank to ensure her husband cannot withdraw the money from the account but the teller (Charlie Hall) informs her that she is too late and that Ollie has closed the account; she is furious.  Meanwhile, Stan and Ollie are carrying their new purchase along the street when they cross a road.  Stan, in his infinite wisdom asks to put the clock down for a minute.  Seconds later the clock is reduced to a pile of splinters as a large truck runs straight through it (watch Stan's face when he sees the truck approaching!)  Ollie's face says it all, and without a single word the boys head back home.  Mrs. Hardy has made her way to the auction house and accosts Finlayson.  When he tells her that her husband bought the clock she steams home to confront Ollie - and whacks him in the head with a frying pan, knocking him out cold.  A concerned Stan takes his pal's pulse and realises the problem is serious...
Later at the hospital, and after Stan has finished eating the flowers he has brought for Ollie, he finds that Ollie's condition has worsened.  The doctor asks for Stan to donate some of his blood for a transfusion which will save Ollie's life.  Despite being initially reluctant (and worried about whether or not he will have to remove his hat) Stan obliges; but the operation does not go to plan.  The nurse informs the doctor that Stan has passed out due to him losing too much blood.  The doctor instructs her to reverse the operation and give him some of Hardy's blood.  The result is a complete mess!  Ollie loses his moustache and inherits Stan's voice, whereas Stan now has Ollie's features.  The head nurse bids them a goodbye as Stan, now impersonating Ollie to perfection pulls off a very good tie-twiddle and hat-tip before summoning Ollie with some very Hardy-esque mannerisims with the point of his hands.  The film ends as Ollie walks to the side of the screen to pull the end credits into view.

The boys bow out from the two-reel short films with dignity and with a decent effort worthy of recognition as one of their best.

Favourite bit
Mrs. Hardy: "Oliver did I or did I not give you the money to pay on the furnitre?"
Ollie: "You certainly did"
Mrs. Hardy: "Then why wasn't it paid?"
Ollie: "Why, I gave it to him (points to Stan) to pay it for me"
Mrs. Hardy (to Stan): "Then what did you do with it?"
Stan: "I gave it back to him"
Ollie: "You gave it to me?"
Stan: "Yeah I gave it to you to pay my room and board then you gave it to her, recomember [sic]?"
Mrs. Hardy: "Do you mean to say that the money that he gave to you that you gave to him that he gave to me was the same money that I gave to him to pay him?"
Stan: "Well if that was the money that you gave to him to give to me to pay to him, it must have been the money that I gave him to give to you to pay my rent - didn't I?"
Mrs. Hardy: Mr. Finlayson I owe you an apology"
Fin: "And thirty-seven dollars"

Production L-23 - Laurel & Hardy series
Filmed around July 1-8, 1935.
•Copyrighted August 6, 1935.
•This was the last 2-reel short Laurel and Hardy starred in for Hal Roach (with the exception of cameo appearances in Charley Chase's On The Wrong Trek a year later).
Did you notice?
•When Stan talks back to Daphne Pollard in the opening exchange she tells him to "stay out of this" then flicks his ear.  If you watch closely you can see she does actually make contact with Stan's ear.
•The scenario of Mrs. Hardy not allowing Ollie to go out with Stan due to household chores that need to be done is reminiscent of the plot for Hog Wild.
Ollie is wearing a watch on his left wrist.
•When the boys are in the kitchen their shadows can clearly be seen reflected on the cupboards behind them.  This would not be possible with natural daylight or with the kitchen light on which would have been above their heads.  This proves that the lighting used for filming was directly in front of them (naturally).  The point of this observation being simply that it is a big giveaway.
•When Ollie turns the taps on after the bowl is full of all the soapy water it splashes down off the crockery and rebounds back up into his face.  Honestly, what did he think was going to happen?
•Daphne Pollard steals a scene in the bedroom as she is preparing to go out and she sprays herself with perfume, blowing off her hat.
•As Stan pulls out the board in the kitchen for Ollie to put the bowl on he drops it with all the plates and cups in.  How on earth did none of them break?
•There are sixteen flower designs at the top-half of Ollie's apron.
•The entire contents of the washing-up consists of 15 plates and saucers and 2 cups.  It's easy to count them as they are piled up on the cooker.
•James Finlayson rings the Hardy's doorbell three times when he first arrives.
•The rental for the furniture is $37.
•In the scene where Stan, Ollie and Mrs. Hardy are discussing the missing furniture payment money Stan is smoking a pipe.
•The Hardys do their banking at the First National Bank Of Commerce.
•During the auction after Ollie gags Stan at $290, Stan suddenly becomes cross-eyed.
•The auction scene is repeated in the much-later The Dancing Masters.
•This film contains one of my most personally-disliked characters in it: the auctioneer is so unnecessarily rude to the boys.  Not only is he completely two-faced by encouraging the auction but then turns nasty when the boys remain seated at the conclusion of it.  And then if that wasn't bad enough he snitches to his boss about it as well.  Really dislikable character in my opinion.
•Baldwin Cooke has a brief cameo as a visitor in the hospital.  He asks at the desk for directions to a patient's room.  He does the exact same thing in County Hospital - again when Stan goes to visit Ollie in hospital.
•The license plate of the truck that destroys the clock is H79 52
•The section of the street used to film the truck running over the grandfather clock is the same section where Ollie falls from the window in Saps At Sea.
•Stan is called into the doctor's office at 9:05am.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Daphne Pollard
Mrs. Daphne Hardy
James Finlayson
Mr. Finlayson
Allan Cavan
Doctor F.D. Allen
Grace Goodall
Nurse Goodall
Bess Flowers
Baldwin Cooke
Hospital visitor
Harry Bowen
Lester Dorr
Man at auction
Gladys Gale
Auction bidder
Charlie Hall
Bank teller
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Chet Brandenburg
Bank teller
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess -


Jerry Murbach (still)

This page was last updated on: 10 September 2018