Series: Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly

Director: Gus Meins
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Francis Corby
Editor: Ray Snyder
Sound: Harry Baker

Stars: Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly, Arthur Housman, Eddie Conrad, Leo White
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 10 November 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: A-25
Filming dates:
Rating: 4/10

Done In Oil

Available on DVD:

Thelma is in her apartment/studio finishing off some touches to a painting she is making, whilst poor Patsy patiently poses for her. When Thelma calls a break, Patsy stands up and starts creaking with stiffness. The landlord calls in on the girls and demands his three-months back rent that they owe him or else they face eviction at the end of the week. A couple of gentlemen across the hall (Arthur Housman and Art Rowlands) witness the landlord's abrupt threat and slip a carpet sweeper under him, causing an accident. Drunken neighbor Arthur takes control of the situation (yes, you read that right) by telling Thelma he can sell anything that anyone can paint and offers to help the girls out, realizing their potential. Arthur decides he will call her Madame La Todd (and Patsy is Fifi the French maid) and promises to enter her work in an exhibition.
The exhibition is advertised in the newspaper and the girls, now assuming their newly-adopted identities get to work on tidying up their apartment (not very well). A little later Thelma welcomes three distinguished French art critics into the apartment (by lying on a sofa in a "who's first?!" type pose whilst showing off her horrible cleavage). Fifi takes the men's hats and coats and, after a brief language barrier difficulty, shows them over to Madame La Todd. She entertains her new friends whilst Fifi hides discarded underwear behind a painting on the wall which is soon discovered by one of the men. In walks Arthur with some food, in his usual drunken manner, as the girls lay on a buffet for the guests.
The guests sit down to dinner with Thelma showing off what appears to be two overinflated balloons shoved down her dress. Patsy serves the fried chicken and it is complimented by one of the guests who asks who made it. He is told they have a cook named Magnolia who works for them in their kitchen and she is summoned into the room. In walks Patsy in blackface and with a padded chest and rear to match. When Thelma notices Patsy still has white hands she quickly grabs a (convenient) paintbrush and rectifies the error before anyone notices. Patsy (as Magnolia the black maid) starts playing up and acting drunk, adjusting her over-size breasts and backside as the gentlemen begin laughing uncontrollably. Thelma banishes Patsy into the kitchen where Arthur waits.
Arthur, who is still drunk and now dressed as an Indian encourages Patsy (who has now removed her blackface and also drunk) to paint something with his inspiration ("Night Life In The Big City"). Initially it's just a black canvas so Arthur tells her to add some colour to it. Patsy splashes some white paint all over it as Arthur looks on. The canvas begins to look like an absolute mess. They bring the painting into the show the French guests and naturally they love it and demand that it be sold to them but Arthur squares up to them and starts a fight! A bidding war ensues between them and Arthur over the painting, and after a fee of $1500 is agreed the Frenchmen are delighted - until Patsy leans up against it and the pattern ends up on her dress, leaving only the impression of her bum cheeks on the canvas.

Favourite bit
Well it's hard not to notice all the shots of Thelma Todd's cleavage throughout the film!

Copyrighted November 1, 1934.
This was the eleventh film in the series.
The opening credits are displayed on a rotating painter's palette.
The photo of Thelma Todd used for the newspaper is certainly not the one taken by Arthur Housman in the film! It is actually a publicity still from The Devil's Brother, made the year before.
Patsy shows off two portraits in the apartment of herself: The Tarzan one and The Joan of Arc one. The latter ended up being re-used in Laurel and Hardy's The Fixer Uppers (1935).
In the scene where Thelma walks into the apartment carrying the canvases, Patsy is sweeping up. There is a pretty decent shot of her cleavage, but of course not to be outdone, Thelma offers a slightly revealing shot of herself shortly afterwards.
Seriously, does Thelma Todd ever wear a bra?
The apartment used resembles the one occupied by Charles Middleton in Laurel & Hardy's The Fixer Uppers which was filmed a year later. In that film, the apartment is also used as a painter's studio.
My opinion
Once again Thelma Todd demonstrates that she should have tried acting instead of relying on having her bangers flopping around all over the place and distracting the audience. Both girls show an ample amount of cleavage (you cannot say you didn't notice) but at least Patsy is more subtle about it. As for the film, it's pretty dull.

Thelma Todd
Patsy Kelly
Fifi the French maid/
Magnolia the black maid
Arthur Housman
Eddie Conrad
First French art expert
Leo White
Second French art expert
Rolfe Sedan
Third French art expert
Art Rowlands
Artist across the hall
William Wagner

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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This page was last updated on: 23 September 2021