Series: Laurel and Hardy
Director: Emmett J. Flynn
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: George Stevens
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy
Released: 06 October 1928
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-12
Filming dates: June 19-20, 1928
Early To Bed
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Whilst sitting on a park bench between 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. (that important hour when financial kings of the world open their mail, according to the opening titles), Ollie opens a letter which informs him of his uncle's passing, leaving his estate and all his riches to him. Stan naturally worries about what will become of himself but his fears are relieved when Ollie tells him that he will be hired as his personal butler. They take their little dog and head for the new mansion, Hardy Manor. Stan has prepared a birthday cake for his new master, and awaits for Ollie to arrive home. Merry from a night of drinking champagne, Ollie decides to play a prank on Stan by hiding in the bush outside the front door so that when Stan comes to answer the doorbell Ollie can sneak inside, leaving Stan out in the cold.
When eventually Stan does manage to get indoors he tries to subdue the lively Hardy because the dog is asleep, but the master is having none of it as he continues to be joyful even to the point of summoning the dog and ending up on his back in a heap. Stan asks "Have you been drinking, Sir?"
Ollie bashfully admits that he has. Stan instructs Ollie that he must go to bed immediately and then goes to fetch the dog a bowl of water. The mansion has a wonderful water fountain with a feature of cherubs heads from which the water flows from their mouths. One of the heads on the fountain is constantly blocked and Stan has to repeatedly bash it over the head to get it to work. Strangely, but in typical Stan Laurel fashion, rather than just scoop the bowl into the water below he instead attempts to fill it from the spouting stone head, but when it again malfunctions he instead turns to assaulting the statue and scooping the bowl in the water. The long way around doing something simple!
Ollie still refuses to go to bed and heaps on the indignities upon Stan by refusing to co-operate, and resorting to spraying mouth wash in his eyes.
"I don't want to go to bed, I want to play" exclaims Ollie. He states that he will go to bed if Stan can catch him first and so begins the chase around the bedroom before Ollie wrestles his servant to the ground. Stan pleads with his master that he is only trying to do his duty, at which point he conceeds he is tired and wants to retire. As Stan lays sleeping Ollie has got himself all dressed up in a new outfit and goes in to wake Stan up to show him before inflicing further abuse on him such as entering a jug of water into his bedsheets.
At this point Stan declares that he has had enough and threatens to leave first thing in the morning, though Ollie refuses to let him do so. The next morning Stan issues Ollie a bill for his services but when his master throws it away Stan says he will find an excuse to make his former friend fire him and so proceeds in kicking the furniture around. He realises Ollie is not impressed with his actions and so intensifies the violent destruction throughout the house with jugs, vases and crockery (there's a delightful little scene where Hardy just manages to save a large vase at the bottom of the stairs when Stan sneaks back and pushes it to the ground).
The carnage continues even to the point of Ollie throwing things at Stan and breaking more of the fixings and having a chandelier come down on his head. The chase around the house continues and when Stan falls face-first into the birthday cake which has ended up on the floor from the upturned table it once sat upon, Ollie remarks that he appears to be frothing at the mouth! Eventually things come to a head and it has to end. After posing as one of the water fountain cherub heads Ollie steps up and offers the hand of friendship to Stan, who accepts it and the two become friends once again, but not before he takes once last pop at Stan with pushing him into the fountain.
It's quite an unusual choice here but the scene that I always remember the most is Ollie offering to shake Stan's hand at then end, after all the chaos and destruction and wanting to be friends again. It's quite a touching moment and although the film does have some good gags, it's these few frames of footage which does it for me.
• Copyrighted October 6, 1928.
• This was the only film of Laurel and Hardy to be directed by Emmett Flynn.
• Research carried out by author Randy Skretvedt uncovered evidence that the opening scene where the boys are sitting on the park bench was originally absent from the shooting script and may have been added in post production by supervising director Leo McCarey.
• Most European DVD prints of the film have a re-made title card; however, the original title card exists on Volume 4 of the 12-disc "The Lost Films Of Laurel & Hardy" set.
• The name of the dog is Buster.
• The gag involving the water fountain was previousy used with Mabel Normand in Should Men Walk Home? (1927). Looking at both films, it would appear they were both filmed at the same stage. Also, both films feature Oliver Hardy.
• In the hallway of the house we can see the painting Blue Boy. This painting was the focal point in the theme of Laurel and Hardy's Wrong Again (1929).
What the experts say
• "Many Laurel and Hardy fans have said that this is one of their lesser films. For once, I have to actually agree with them. It takes some serious determination and willpower to slog through this film!" ~ Lord Heath.
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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Tom Schober (help and assistance)
Rick Greene (lobby cards)
This page was last updated on: 06 October 2019