31 May 1930
|Director: James Parrott Producer: Hal Roach Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Cinematography: George Stevens Editor: Richard C. Currier Sound recording: Elmer Raguse
|AVAILABLE ON DVD|
|Mrs. Hardy's maid (Dorothy Granger) is clearing the breakfast table when a loud rumble is heard from the other room. Ollie is furious because he cannot find his hat (he is the only one who cannot see that he is actually wearing it) and summons the maid to provide an answer to where his hat may be. After her laughing fit, she is dismissed by Mrs. Hardy (Fay Holderness). Ollie then realises, after his threat "to leave the house for good, never to darken its doors again" that the hat is on his head when he sees himself in the mirror. Not willing to admit his embarrassment, he quickly removes it and leaves to "find it", returning shortly with hat in hand.
"What was it doing under the bed?" he quips!
Mrs. Hardy sees that Ollie is getting ready to go out and when he confesses that he is going to meet Stan, she violently demands that he remain home to fix the aerial for the radio. After she disappears into the kitchen Ollie tries to sneak off without being undetected. But a loud smashing of plates from behind the door changes his mind and instead he decides it would be safer to stay home and do as he is told!
|Stan is on his way around, driving along the road minding his own business when a young lady with shapely legs is trying to navigate a puddle by the side of the kerb. It's enough to make any motorist almost have a crash!
He arrives outside Ollie's house to find Ollie halfway up a ladder and on his way to the roof, armed with poles, cable and toolbox. One honk on Stan's car horn brings Ollie down to the ground in a heap. Stan is surprised to find Ollie at home because Ollie had promised to meet him. Ollie states that he has been ordered to stay at home to fix the aerial, to please Mrs. Hardy. Stan offers to help. Ollie accepts the offer and tells Stan to reverse his car onto the driveway. Stan parks up and a burst of flames are omitted from the rear, burning Ollie in the seat of his pants.
Stan quickly tries to extinguish the flames (as slowly as possible) by scooping up water from the nearby pond (we'll see more of that later!) with his hands before finally deciding to use the bucket which is right next to the pond to put out the fire on Ollie's rear end.
Ollie is so incensed by Stan's clumsiness that he grabs the now-empty bucket and launches it aimlessly at Stan's head. Of course, Stan ducks and Ollie is minus a window, as Mrs. Hardy looks on. Stan then clonks Ollie on the head with one of the mast poles and in his fury Ollie grabs it and becomes minus two windows.
Ollie puts a large wooden square platform on Stan's open-top car and erects the ladder from it so they can ascend to the roof. Ollie goes up first with Stan close behind. Stan manages to get entangled in Ollie's braces and falls back to the bottom of the ladder. He lets go of the over-stretched braces and in spectacular fashion catacuplts Ollie's hat off with immaculate timing. For once though, he does throw the right hat back up to Ollie.
Once up on the roof (it is a real roof and the boys are really up there!) Stan falls down on his stomach and grabs ahold of Ollie's legs. Fortunately they remain on the roof... for now.
Stan takes the first pole and walks to the edge of the roof to attach it, but Ollie slips on the second pole, which is lying down and takes his first tumble off the roof and head-first into the small pond in the garden below. It takes Stan a few moments to realise just where on earth Ollie has gone!
|Stan spots Ollie sitting in the pool down on the ground and calls after him, questioning why he went down, and the signalling with his hammer that he should return to the roof at once!
Ollie climbs back up the ladder to the roof, unamused with his little diving trip. Stan goes back to trying to fix a pole onto the edge of the roof and pulls the cable through. When he lets go, the cable shoots back up into the air and catches Ollie, trips him up and sends him back to the pond down below. The viewers are spared this second indignity, instead we see the splashes of water reaching up to the roof, where Stan has stood to observe the calamity.
Ollie comes charging back up the ladder so fast, brandishing a wooden block that Stan decides to walk off in the opposite direction. Despite Ollie's swinging threats with the 2x4, he simply throws it down and resumes work by hammering the wood to the roof. This brings down rubble upon Mrs. Hardy's head.
Ollie ties a rope around himself and the chimney for security and the instructs Stan to erect the second pole on the roof; but Stan slips on a roof tile and down they both go, taking the chimney with them this time! Mrs. Hardy adds to their misery and tells Ollie to stop his "playing".
Stan is told to go into the house so that Ollie can pass the wire down to him. Ollie throws down the cable, attached to a wooden block, hitting Stan on the head. He is told to attach the cable to binding post A. Stan connects the wire to a live circuit, sending sparks up to Ollie and causing him to fall through the open hole in the roof where the chimney once stood.
Ollie ends up in the downstairs fireplace and is not in any kind of a mood to take any further verbal abuse from his wife. She tells him he is relieved of the duty of fixing the aerial, but he professes to get it fixed if it is the last thing he does.
The boys go back outside the house as Ollie climbs back up the ladder to the roof. He doesn't quite make it when Stan, sitting in the car again, accidentally steps on the gas pedal and off they go! Stan has to steer the car from a standing position, whilst Ollie is atop of the ladder, which is balancing on the board he placed there earlier. Down the streets they go, ducking under a low bridge before catching up to a tram in town. As Stan drives alongside the tram Ollie falls off the ladder as it crashes to the ground.
Out of nowhere, a tearful Mrs. Hardy comes up to Ollie and tells him a man has come and taken the radio away. Devastated, Ollie and his wife return to Stan's car - only to have it crushed between two trams.
There is no particular standout scene here because the whole picture just flows with such a consistency. My favourite part in this film is a visual stunt which, unfortunately features two stuntmen taking the place of the boys as they roll over one another and fall off the roof and down into the garden pool beneath. Notice how both men keep their faces hidden away from the camera.
•Filmed between April 4-21, 1930.
•The location of the Hardy's house used for the filming was at 4175 Madison Avenue, Culver City, Los Angeles.
•The woman with the shapely legs crossing the puddle in the road whom Stan sees whilst driving is Dorothy Granger.
•Yola d'Avril played the part of Mrs. Hardy in the French-language version of the film.
•There are 2 separate commentary tracks on the The Essential Collection DVD featuring Richard W. Bann and Richard Correll.
•The film was shot with the working title of "Haywire".
•Two stunts in particular of worthy of mention: When Stan is driving the car and looking around at the woman in the road he comes to a cross-roads where two cars pass him at high speed; and shortly after when Stan honks his horn and Ollie falls from the ladder: both stunts were performed by themselves.
Did you notice?
•When the maid is called out of the kitchen, before she even knows what she is being called for the first thing she does is look at Ollie's hat.
•Stan's license plate is 6M-28-82.
•When Stan pulls up and parks outside Ollie's house, he parks illegally next to a dropped kerb.
•Ollie is standing on the third rung on the ladder when Stan's horn causes him to fall.
•When Stan burns Ollie's pants with the car, you can see Hardy's pants are padded out to absorb the flames.
•Notice how the pond is quite tight to the edge of the house when seen from the ground, yet when seen from the air it has a significant amount of grass around its edges.
•When 'Ollie' dives into the pond from the roof, there is no way he could have gone completely under the water. In the next scene he is seen sitting on the bottom and it barely covers his trousers. In actual fact, the stunt was performed by a stuntman and the pool was 8 feet deep. Also, given the circumference of the pool and going in head-first into water so deep, it must have been quite difficult for the stuntman to manoeuvre in the water to come back to the surface.
•When Ollie hammers the wood to the roof he disturbs some rubble, which falls onto Mrs. Hardy's head. Now, if she was sitting downstairs, how did the rubble travel through the roof, attic, upstairs ceiling and through the downstairs ceiling?
•The water tower for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studios can be seen in the far distance when the boys are up on the roof.
•After the bricks come tumbling off the roof, some of them appear to float in the pond.
•A large model ship sits atop of the mantle piece.
•When Stan is driving the car down the street with Ollie perched on top of the ladder, he makes a sharp right-hand turn before going under the bridge. If you look closely you can see there is an edit in the film which would indicate there was a crash. If you freeze-frame it at just the right moment you can see Stan steers into the wall under the bridge.
•If you look closely enough at the board on which the ladder is mounted as Stan emerges from under the bridge you can see the ladder is seated in two holes in the base of the wood. There is a close-up which reveals this. The reason for this was because there was a counter-weight under the car which allowed the ladder to sway the way it does whilst Ollie is on top of it, although we the viewers are not meant to see it.
•The bus which the boys catch up to has the number 1012 on it and it's destination is Wilshire, via Halifax Avenue.
•When Ollie is on top of the ladder next to the double-decker bus; even in this calamitous state of affairs he still doffs his hat to the ladies on the bus.
•At the end of the film, after Stan has driven the car all the way from the house into town, don't you think it's quite remarkable how Mrs. Hardy has caught up to them on foot?
•In the very last scene look in the background and you can see a stray dog walk from right to left across the screen.
Tillie, the maid &
Woman crossing street
"Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies" by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Jimmy Fin (colorized title card)
This page was last updated on: 12 September 2015