Series: Laurel and Hardy

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

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall, Tiny Sandford
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 07 October 1933
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-15
Filming dates: July 15-25, 1933
Rating: 7/10

Busy Bodies

Available on BLU-RAY & DVD:

Stan and Ollie are driving to work on a glorious sunny morning. Stan turns on the radio as Ollie remarks on how bright Stan looks this morning. It takes a few seconds to sink in until Stan eventually realises what Ollie has said, before scratching his head in confusion. Shortly after Ollie stops the car so that Stan can get out and change the record over, which has finished playing. Stan flicks through the three other records he has and changes the tune before the boys head back off down the road. After a few establishing shots of a working mill, Stan and Ollie arrive at work. Ollie decides to have some fun with a fellow employee (Charlie Hall) who is gathering some planks of wood.
Ollie sneaks up behind him in the car and honks his horn, causing poor Charlie to drop everything. Although he tells Ollie off, Ollie laughs it off as a practical joke. As the boys walk into their warehouse they are momentarily distracted by another employee who asks if Ollie has a match, to which Ollie replies that he doesn't smoke. This distraction is enough to send Ollie face-first into a plank of wood that two men are carrying through the building after he turns around. Stan manages to avoid contact the first time, but then both men are floored after Stan goes to help Ollie up off the ground.
Stan walks into the workshop as Ollie retracts to pick up his lunchbox which has been left on the floor outside, but clumsily walks into another plank on his return. Stan meanwhile is looking for a place to hang his hat and grabs a large nail and proceeds to hammer it into the wall. By the damnest piece of bad luck he happens to go straight through a water pipe on the other side. Even then Stan doesn't get to hang his hat on the nail... Ollie pushes him aside and places his jacket on it before it falls off from the spurt of water that shoots through the wall into his face. So how do you plug up a hole in the wall that is leaking water? Ollie hammers another nail into the same spot, which somehow plugs the gap. The last blow of the hammer dislodges a big saw disc on the wall down onto his head.
When they do eventually get start work Ollie has trouble with a wooden window frame he is building and asks for Stan's assistance. After a few hits on the frame with the hammer Stan thinks he has done enough and walks off leaving Ollie's hands locked in opposite corners. Ollie calls him back and asks for Stan to "open the window". It's pretty obvious which window Stan opens. Ollie tells him off for being ignorant. Stan lends further assistance in trying to help free his pal from the window frame he has gotten himself stuck in. After a few pushes and shoves on the wood Stan gets himself stuck in the frame too! An impatient Ollie tells Stan to stop messing around and get him out of the predicament he is in. After a short while an increasingly-agitated Ollie asks what Stan is doing, to which he replies that he is trying to look at the blueprints of the window to see how to free him. An exasperated Ollie tells him that he is looking at the blueprints of the Boulder Dam!
Stan turns the window frame on its side and continues to work on freeing Ollie from its wooden clutches, but it's no use. Another 45 degree turn and some more force and the two of them end up crashing onto Charlie Hall who is passing through the workshop. Thinking that it was deliberate after their earlier encounter Charlie takes a swing at Ollie which is returned by Stan. Charlie returns the favour before Stan lands a sucker punch back. This continues until Stan swings for Charlie, misses, and whacks Ollie. This earns him the praise of Charlie, who tells Stan that he likes him because he has a kind face. A delighted Stan then offers Charlie a cigar, and offers for him to get comfortable. All the while Ollie is looking bewildered. Even the viewer is left puzzled as to what he is up to? But it all becomes clear when Stan whistles over to the foreman (Tiny Sandford) to now bring to his attention that Charlie is smoking in a strictly "no smoking" area. The double-cross is complete.

Favourite bit
It has to be the set-up. Charlie Hall has hit Ollie for falling on him in the workshop. Stan hits Charlie back, who returns the favour. Eventually Stan accidentally hits Ollie after swinging for Charlie, earning him the thanks from his intended victim. The two men (Stan and Charlie) make up, and Stan offers him a cigar, a lighted match and a comfy stool to sit on whilst Ollie (and us) looks totally bewildered. The full scope of what Stan has done is realised when he calls over the beefy foreman (Tiny Sandford) and points Charlie out for smoking in a "No Smoking" area. Pure genius.

Copyrighted September 16, 1933.
The music playing in the car at the beginning is "Smile When The Raindrops Fall" - a song made famous by Charley Chase in his own series of films in the early 1930s.
The opening titles are interchanged with the use of a rotating circular saw.
In the opening scene as Ollie is driving the car, in the background (on the right of the screen) one car pulls out of a turning as another reverses into his driveway. A little further down the road and some people can be seen standing on the left hand side of the road.
As the boys drive their car to work, both men are wearing gloves.
When Stan gets out of the car (which Ollie parks up in the middle of the road) to change the record, look at the sewn-up rip in the back of his jacket.
The insignia plate on the record player on the car reads; "Zon-o-phone - Universal Talking Machine Mfg. Co. New York, USA."
Don't you just love how the people in the workplace step over Ollie just so they can carry on walking with the planks of wood rather than helping a fellow colleague up off the floor?
When Ollie attempts to plug the water coming through the wall he hammers the nail nine times (well he doesn't actually connect every time).
Among the signs on the wall in the workshop there are:-
-"No Smoking"
-"No Tools To Loan, Don't Ask"
-"Millsmen Only To Operate Shop Machines",
-"Notice: Report All Tools Used To Stock Room".
After Ollie asks Stan "would you mind opening the window" Stan walks over to the window and opens it. The large circular saw piece which earlier fell on Ollie's head can be seen back on the wall high up on the left of the frame.
Notice how when Stan re-attaches the strip from Ollie's pants with the glued-on piece he looks away whilst doing it, as if to show his friend some dignity.
The fire extinguisher seen next to Ollie when he is slumped in the corner reads: "Alert, Fire Extinguisher".
The vise on the workbench was made in Aurora, Illinois.
When Ollie yanks the sink out of the wall there is a visible line which connects it to an off-camera operator.
The boys work at "The National Lumber Company".
The barrel of shellac kicked into the shute by Jack Hill reads "E. Young & Co. Shellac New York NY".
When the boys fall from the ladder the shot we see does not correspond with the previous position in which Ollie was situated.  Such a fall would have resulted in Ollie's head falling face-down and Stan would have fallen backwards.
When the bandsaw cuts the car in half it is Ollie who keeps his balance the longer.
The final scene where despite the loss of their vehicle Stan still manages to find some comfort that the gramophone works is similar to when he recovers the horn from the wreck of their car at the end of Towed In A Hole.
My opinion
Laurel and Hardy on top form.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Charlie Hall
Shop worker
Tiny Sandford
Shop foreman
Dick Gilbert
Jack Hill
Shop worker
Charles Lloyd
Shop worker

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)

This page was last updated on: 07 October 2023