Series: Laurel and Hardy

Director: James W. Horne
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, Gertrude Astor, Linda Loredo
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 19 September 1931
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-1
Filming dates: May 7-14, 1931
Rating: 8/10

Come Clean


Mr & Mrs Hardy are enjoying a peaceful evening at home when the Laurels suddenly turn up unannounced. Eager to get rid of them Ollie pretends to not be at home. When nobody answers the doorbell Stan decides to leave a note informing Hardy that he had attempted to contact him. After he writes it (did anyone see the revealing mistake?) he pushes it under the door and goes to walk off before witnessing the message being pulled through on the other side. Realizing that someone is in fact home Stan rings the doorbell once again and sees the note come flying back out in a rather hilarious manner.
As the Hardy's argue on the inside, Stan opens a hatch in the wall to see that they are in fact home and are subsequently welcomed into the house, albeit reluctantly. Within moments Stan accidentally sits on Ollie's hat, the Laurels are asked if they would like anything to eat. When Stan suggests having some ice-cream, he is asked to retrieve a pitcher from the kitchen but comes back with a calendar, leading to a series of door-pushing incidents which sees firstly Stan, then Mrs. Hardy attempting to push open the kitchen door with Ollie right behind it. The boys toddle off to get some ice cream, where they find a very restrained Charlie Hall waiting to serve them. After asking what flavours of ice cream are on offer, Stan proceeds to order everything not on the menu - from chocolate to mustachio.  Eventually, after buying the chocolate ice cream that was absent from the menu, the boys leave a slightly-flustered Charlie Hall only to find a suicidal woman (Mae Busch on maniacally great form) who is about to leap to her death into the river below.
Ollie heroically jumps up on the ledge and tries to compose himself, threatening to jump into the water to save the woman, but when he shows hesitency he receives a firm push from Stan to send him over the edge and straight through a wooden canoe which lies directly beneath.  As Ollie struggles in the river, Stan does the noble thing and pulls the woman out first, then attends to his pal - by throwing him a rope (which just happens to be lying around on the dock) with an anchor attached to the end of it.  When Ollie does finally get out of the water, the woman they have rescued regains consciousness to blame the boys for interfering in her affairs and demands they take care of her.  Unable to make such a promise, Ollie explains they have wives to take care of instead and is quickly blackmailed. If they don't do as she instructs them, she will scream and tell everyone they pushed her into the water and tried to murder her. Panicked, Stan and Ollie agree to take her back to Ollie's apartment. As the poor Mae Busch is shut out of the elevators in a cleverly co-ordinated little sequence, she takes to the stairs instead (pushing the doorman Tiny Sandford aside in the process - a task not easily done!) As Stan and Ollie emerge from the elevators she is there waiting.  Ollie tells her that he has nothing to hide and will "come clean" to his wife - then sends Stan to do the deed for him. When Ollie enters his apartment without Stan, Mrs. Laurel cries his name out loud, summoning him inside "Stan-leeeeeeee".  Outside Stan has managed to conceal the woman in an adjoining apartment, but later finds it to be Ollie's bedroom.  The boys are confronted on the landing by the angry wives before all four return to the Hardy's living room (watch a subtle side-step by Ollie as he leads Stan past the women, trying to avoid any possible assault from his wife).
A short time later the radio begins blaring out from the other room, courtesy of the strange woman. As the boys try to mask the noise with a loud interlude of tray, cup and plate smashing, they rush in to try and get rid of her once and for all. Meanwhile a detective has arrived to capture the woman, who it turns out is a mental patient on the loose and is well known to the police. The boys wrestle with her on the bed (a rather revealing few frames of Busch's underwear is glimpsed) as the wives come out to find them in the compromising position. The woman is shoved unceremoneously into the bathroom with Stan when the detective comes in looking for her.  Thinking fast, Stan jumps into a bath (amazing how quickly it fills up) and plays innocent when the group barge in. The woman is found and taken away and the detective asks who was responsible for bringing her back.  Eager to avoid blame, Ollie points the finger at Stan - who is informed he has a $1000 reward waiting for him down at the police station.
Ollie: What are you going to do with your thousand dollars?
Stan: I'm going to buy a thousand dollars worth of chocolate ice cream.

Favourite bit
Here I personally believe we are treated to one of the most superb moments of comic timing from the boys as they evade Mae Busch's attempts to follow them into the double elevators in the building. It is a pure touch of comedy genius and worked to perfection.

Copyrighted September 1, 1931.
This was one of only a small handful of the shorts which was not available in a colorized version on the Universal DVD set.
Actress Linda Loredo, who plays Stan's wife died before the film was released.
The Hardy's apartment number was 24.
After the Laurel's arrive, Ollie gets into an argument with his wife. When she calls him a "big lunk", he threatens her that "for two pins I'd [hit her]". Well, she hits HIM for free!
It takes Stan exactly thirteen seconds after being invited into the house before he breaks something (he sits on Ollie's hat).
The calendar that Stan brings into Ollie from the kitchen is set to May 1931. The date on the calendar down in the lobby says it was the 9th day of the month. As the film was shot between May 7-14, it's a good bet that this was May 9th.
The name of the store where Ollie buys the ice cream is called "Nason's Drugs".
The flavours of ice cream available at the store are "Strawberry, Pineapple and Vanilla". The flavours which the store are out of include "Orange, Gooseberry and Chocolate". The chocolate ice cream Ollie eventually buys costs 75 cents.
The opening premise of the film is a re-enactment of Should Married Men Go Home?, with Ollie and his wife wanting to spend some quality time together before being invaded by Stan. Also, Stan uses the same gag to let Ollie know he had visited by slipping him a note under the door before Ollie reads it and throws it back onto Stan's side, giving the game away that he is actually home.
When Stan and Ollie are first greeted by Charlie Hall in the ice cream parlor, the cash register indicates FIVE cents. But when Ollie gives his payment of five dollars, look closely again at the indicates TEN cents!
When Mae Busch turns on the radio in Ollie's bedroom the music playing is "The Stars And Stripes Forever" (John Philip Sousa).
When Stan and Ollie step up onto the bench that Mae Bush has leaped from, Ollie knocks her white gloves into the ground. In the next shot they are back on the bench again. [The Essential Collection DVD @ 9mins 4secs]
When Stan signs his name on the note look carefully on the door. You can see a marking which bears a similar resemblance, which would indicate a previous take. (see image included in summary).

What the experts say
"A truly delightful film, with Mae Busch in splendid form." ~ Lord Heath.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Mae Busch
Gertrude Astor
Mrs. Hardy
Linda Loredo
Mrs. Laurel
Charlie Hall
Ice cream vendor
Tiny Sandford
Eddie Baker
Gordon Douglas
Hotel desk clerk

(click any image to enlarge)

The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR
(click any image to enlarge)


Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Paul Mular (poster)

This page was last updated on: 19 September 2019