.......... ..........

    Below Zero    
    Director:  James Parrott
Producer:  Hal Roach
Editor:  Richard C. Currier
Cinematography:  George Stevens
    Hal Roach Studios/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
26 April 1930
sound short/2-reels
    Film No.


  ....... Stan and Ollie are buskers trying to make a dime performing directly outside the local deaf & dumb institute.  Laurel plays accordian whilst Hardy twangs a double bass guitar to the tune of "In the good old summertime" despite arctic temperatures and a blizzard sweeping across the street.  Actually, they're not bad, but the neighbourhood doesn't seem to think so.
After Ollie realises the situation is not going to improve anytime soon he decides to move down the street to a better, warmer spot where they are immediately ushered on by a disturbed woman at her window who bribes them with a dime to move down a couple of streets.  The boys luck doesn't improve when a man wearing a blind sign around his neck walks past and 'sees' the money they have earnt lying on the sidewalk in the snow (after the accordian falls over with the cup on top).
Then, in an outrageous show of over-reaction, both the boys down tools temporarily to get even with a pigeon who has dropped an egg into their collection cup.  As they violently launch snowballs at the poor bird up on a ledge they manage to hit the tenant (Baldwin Cooke) square in the face as he opens his window at that precise moment.
He responds with a wayward snowball of his own which misses the boys by a mile and ends up in the milk bucket of a beefy-looking woman (Blanche Payson) who is about to enter her house.  This act of provocation leads to the destruction of both the boys' instruments (the accordian ends up under a passing truck in the road and the bass over Ollie's head with some force).  Their luck does change for the better (it would appear) when Stan spots an open wallet containing money on the ground close by.  This arouses the interest of a would-be mugger close-by and he soon gives chase before they all end up in a heap around the corner, falling through a shop window and sending an patrol cop flying. The cop takes the side of the boys when they complain they were being chased and advises them to be careful of pickpockets in the area.  As a token of their appreciation, they offer to buy the officer some food at a nearby diner.
The cop introduces Stan and Ollie to his friend, the owner Pete (Tiny Sandford appearing in his second 'talkie' with the boys) and the three of them sit down to enjoy a steak meal.
Soon after there is a commotion and a diner is evicted rather unceremoniously from the restaurant for not paying his bill, which prompts Ollie to make sure they still have their new-found cash available so that they don't get a repeat of what they just witnessed.  Foolishly Stan reveals the wallet to be that of the officer whom they have treated to the meal and it isn't long before they are accused of thieving the money.

Frank the Cop: "When you get through I'll see you outside.... I hope"

The owner is informed and Stan and Ollie are thrown out - Ollie into the middle of the street and Stan in a barrel of water, upside down.  In the last scene Ollie shows some affection towards Stan's predicament when he grabs a piece of wood and tries to gain access to the diner to get his friend back, but is shocked to see his pal in the barrel and the water gone.  A shot of Stan's perfectly beachball round stomach supposedly containing the water from the barrel closes the film.


Favourite bit    
        COMING SOON.
•Filmed between February 17-28, 1930. [source: Randy Skretvedt]
Did you notice?
•The colour version of the film completely cuts out the introduction between the boys and Pete (Sandford) in the restaurant, and the subsequent ordering of the food.  This is a massive chunk of footage!

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Bobby Burns
'Blind' man/Deadbeat diner
Baldwin Cooke
Man at window
Kay Deslys
Woman at window
Charlie Hall
Annoyed shopkeeper
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Frank Holliday
Frank, the cop
Blanche Payson
Formidable woman
Tiny Sandford
Leo Willis
Jack Hill
Waiter who throws Stan's
coat on the floor
Lyle Tayo
Woman coming out of institution
  Retta Palmer
(unknown role)