Series: Stan Laurel

Director: George Jeske
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: Frank Young

Stars: Stan Laurel, James Finlayson, Katherine Grant, Sammy Brooks, William Gillespie
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 29 April 1923
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: C-89
Filming dates: February 13-22, 1923
Rating: 2/10

The Noon Whistle

Available on DVD:

The foreman of a lumber yard is called into the office by the manager for a berating over his lazy staff. The foreman heads off to the mill to find his men lounging around and orders them back to work. Stan is one of the men who complains about being made to actually do some work and requests he work nights instead. His cheek earns him a slap from the foreman. Stan assists a short worker with a wooden crate before heading up to the top of a stack of planks and dropping the crate down onto the foreman's head. For the next minute or so Stan walks around the yard carrying a plank of wood and managing to remain unseen by the foreman who is looking for him. Eventually Stan is 'caught' and booted up the arse after his negligence allows a plank of wood to fall on the foreman's head. Ordered to fetch a board, Stan brings back the longest plank of wood you could imagine (it's that old gag where he appears to be at one end of it and nobody at the other, as it journeys across the screen).
Stan then hoists a bag of cement up on a rope and a jack but as soon as the noon whistle blows to signal lunch he lets go of it and, well... you can guess the rest. The foreman gets it again, but then faints. He lands next to a bucket of water which he dabs his hands in to revive himself. Watching this, Stan tries to be helpful and so empties the entire contents over him. As punishment the foreman orders Stan to take up the cement during his lunch hour, kicking him repeatedly to 'motivate' him. As Stan ascends the stairs, which are designed to hold one man at a time, the foreman attaches himself to the other end as the stairs become a pendulum for them, which leaves him dropped into a bucket of hot glue. Later, the bag of cement Stan is carrying bursts open and covers them both. The foreman chases Stan to a storage shed where he hides behind five different doors. Thinking he has Stan trapped behind the doors he is shocked to find him standing beside him. The boss arrives to fire the foreman, who accidentally punches him to the ground. And then Stan for some reason wins the affections of the secretary? Go figure.

Favourite bit
Stan trying to be helpful.

Copyrighted April 27, 1923.
Although Stan Laurel had appeared as the lead in a handful of short films for Hal Roach between 1918-1919, this was the first film in an established series which ran for two years and lasted for 25 films.
The lumber company is called the "Bankrupt Lumber Company".
The flow of the film is severely disrupted early on with so many frequent intertitle cards flashing up on the screen.
When Stan drops/throws the large crate down onto James Finlayson's head the initial shot shows that it falls to the side. Only in the next shot it appears to have fallen vertically.
I cannot be absolutely certain, but I think some of the scenes with the lumber yard were filmed behind one of the sound stages on the Hal Roach Backlot.
When Finlayson folds the rope around the bag of cement he doesn't tie it in a knot yet in the next scene when it falls on him it is tied.
My opinion
Absolutely diabolical ten minutes of complete and utter crap. I cannot begin to explain how tedious, how boring and repetitive this is. There is no storyline, no comedy, no ANYTHING. The whole film is pointless, has maybe two gags and just isn't funny. It's as though the actors were told to make it up as they went along! The ending makes no sense whatsoever.

Stan Laurel
James Finlayson
O'Hallahan, the foreman
Katherine Grant
Sammy Brooks
Mill worker
William Gillespie
President of the lumber company
Jack O'Brien
Mill worker
Noah Young
Mill worker

CREDITS (click image to enlarge) INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)


This page was last updated on: 29 April 2020