Series: Laurel and Hardy

Director: Charley Rogers
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Bert Jordan
Sound: James Greene

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, Charlie Hall, Billy Gilbert
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 21 July 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-19
Filming dates: June 11-20, 1934
Rating: 7/10

Them Thar Hills

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Ollie has a severe case of gout and is ordered by his doctor (BILLY GILBERT) to take a vacation up into the mountains to get some fresh air and relax. Of course Stan comes along to make sure that he receives neither! Stan's idea is to buy a cheap trailer to hook on the back of their car so they can take it up into the mountains for the break Ollie has been prescribed. So with Ollie's foot heavily bandaged, they set off for the high hills, where just before their arrival some moonshiners have disposed of their liquor in a nearby well before being apprehended by the cops. Oblivious to this, Stan and Ollie arrive at the location with their camper van towed on the back of their car. Ollie begins to set up the table for a meal whilst Stan draws 'water' from the well.
The silence is broken up with the sound of Ollie's singing whilst Stan makes a mess of the coffee jar by pouring water into it. Stan also notices that the water seems to be a funny colour but Ollie dismisses this as it being the iron in it that gives it the misleading appearance. He suggests Stan take a drink of it, as it is good for the nerves. They both agree it tastes delicious and then resume the preparation of their meal. As Ollie hums a familiar tune Stan decides to add a few pom-pom's to it; a simple and innocent gag which receives an aggressive reaction from Ollie in one of the film's most memorable scenes. One hit over the head with a frying pan later and Stan tries to chop some wood for the stove so they can heat up the water but is reprimanded for doing it on the surface where the food is. When Stan resumes his chopping on the floor, Ollie's left shoe becomes the victim of Stan's mis-timed chop!
The married couple of CHARLIE HALL and MAE BUSCH are walking along the road which the boys drove up earlier in search of some gas for their broken-down car. By this time both Stan and Ollie are well on their way to becoming drunk, having taken regular sips of the liquor they think is water. The Halls spot the trailer and head over to ask the boys for some spare gas. Ollie obliges and invites Mrs. Hall to have some 'water' too. She remains with the boys as her husband leaves to retrieve his stricken car so Ollie offers Mrs. Hall to join them for dinner. A short time later Mr. Hall drives back to the trailer to find Stan fetching more 'water' and all three completely pissed. Charlie berates Ollie for getting his wife drunk before punching him on the nose. Stan responds by slapping a slice of buttered bread over Hall's head and patting it. Ollie gets a second punch on the nose for laughing.
Hall then dunks Stan's head in the bucket on the table but Ollie rescues him by slapping Hall's hand. Ollie receives punch number three. Stan takes a sharp knife and cuts off Hall's fringe, and with the aide of some molasses, sticks it back on to Halls' chin. That results in a fourth punch to the nose for Ollie. Stan then takes the plunger, dips it into the 'water' and slaps it on Hall's forehead; he does look a sight! It doesn't stop there either, as the boys continue to abuse Hall with cutting his trouser belt and dumping a plate of beans into them. Hall gets his revenge when he unhooks the trailer from the car, splitting it into half and tumbling Stan and Ollie through the wall onto the ground outside. Hall receives more molasses over his head, this time from Ollie, who adds feathers from a pillow to it and turning him into a walking chicken! Hall retaliates by pouring gasoline over Ollie and setting him on fire. There is only one way to put out the flames - he jumps into the well. Surely the water from it will extinguish the fire?

Favourite bit
It comes in the final minute of the film where Ollie turns Charlie Hall into a walking rooster! Not content with having a sandwich plonked onto his head, having his fringe glued to his chin and a sink plunger attached to his forehead, Ollie goes the final hog and covers Charlie from head to toe in feathers, plucked from a cushion. It's the ultimate indignity in what is a great film.

Copyrighted July 18, 1934.
The 'pom-pom' tune that Ollie is singing is called "The Old Spinning Wheel". •Production L-19 Laurel and Hardy series.
Filmed in the Santa Ynez Canyon, Los Angeles, California. Heavy fog during filming caused the production to be moved back to the Hal Roach Studios.
I have long debated over the very brief moment when Stan opens the door to let Billy Gilbert out of the apartment in the opening scene. Gilbert reaches for the knob and sees the door has already been opened for him. He looks at Stan and smiles, but in the final few frames of the scene - does Billy pull a gritted-teeth face at Stan? Maybe it's just my imagination?
Ollie keeps the medicine spoon under his hat on the sideboard.
At 3:19 - was Stan & Ollie's tumble into the bath filmed at half speed?
At 16:13 - Ollie's plate falls an instant BEFORE he thumps the table.
The boys' license plate is California 5W 10 79.
The Hall's car license plate is: 5W 10 84 - a number very close to Stan and Ollie's.
When Ollie uses the can opener to open the tin of beans, the tin is upside down.
Charlie Hall and Mae Busch don't show up until 12 minutes 37 seconds.
When we see the boys at the dinner table about to start eating Stan pulls the table towards him rather than moving his chair forward. He did the same thing five years later in the opening scenes of The Flying Deuces.
There are five round buttons on the front of Charlie Hall's jumper.
When Charlie Hall returns to the trailer after fetching his car, his jumper is unbuttoned.
In the scene when Stan, Ollie and Mae Busch are singing merrily at the table, Stan hits a bottle of sauce with a ladel and it spills over onto Ollie. This looks like a legitimate accident. Watch how Ollie sees it but doesn't break character and how Stan quickly grabs the bottle and returns it into the upright position.
The molasses used by Stan to glue on Charlie Hall's hair is a product of Saunders.
When Ollie begins to pour the molasses onto Charlie Hall's head outside the trailer there is a close-up shot inserted very briefly (@ 18:56) which has a completely different texture to the negative. It looks very out of place. Again, @ 19:34 when Charlie tips the gasoline over Hardy's back the same thing happens.
My opinion
One of Laurel and Hardy's finest short films. It has everything you need for a decent twenty minutes' worth of delightful entertainment.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Mae Busch
Mrs. Hall
Charlie Hall
Mr. Hall
Billy Gilbert
Bobby Burns
Al Thompson
Baldwin Cooke
Bobby Dunn
Sam Lufkin
Eddie Baker
Ham Kinsey
Stan's stunt double
Ed Brandenburg
Pete Gordon
Clarence Wertz
Richard Alexander

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Will Downing (selected observations) Jesse Brisson (identification of Sam Lufkin, Ed Brandenburg, Al Thompson, Baldwin Cooke, Pete Gordon, Clarence Wertz)

This page was last updated on: 22 March 2024