Series: Laurel and Hardy feature

Director: James W. Horne
Producer: Hal Roach
Screenplay: Frank Butler, John Guedel, Charlie Hall, Carl Harbaugh, Stan Laurel, James Parrott
Photography: Francis Corby, Art Lloyd, Walter Lundin
Editor: Bert Jordan, Louis McManus
Sound: Warren B. Delaplain, William Randall

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Thelma Todd, Antonio Moreno, Darla Hood, Jacqueline Wells, Mae Busch, William P. Carleton, James Finlayson, Zeffie Tilbury, Mitchell Lewis, Felix Knight
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 14 February 1936
Length: 7 reels
Production No.: F-8
Filming dates: October 9 - November 30, 1935;
retakes December 31, 1935 - January 6, 1936

Rating: 7/10

The Bohemian Girl

Available on DVD:

A small, but merry band of gypsies are gathered within the vacinity of the castle belonging to Count Arnheim, the father of a young girl who orders the quick removal of the gypsies. The gypsy camp is entertained by the queen's daughter (Thelma Todd), who sings a song, The Heart Of A Gypsy. Stan and Ollie are first seen sitting outside their wagons peeling vegetables for their dinner. Ollie lightly scrapes a carrot whilst Stan carves chunks out of a large potato before throwing it like a dead stone into the cooking pot and splashing Ollie in the face. Inside the wagon Mrs. Hardy (Mae Busch) is pleasantly disturbed by the knocking on her window of her not-so-secret lover, Devilshoof (Antonio Moreno). Together they are confronted behind the wagon by Ollie, following a tip-off from Stan (the 'woodpecker') who has seen them kissing.
Mrs. Hardy is unforgiving, and not only takes out her anger on Ollie, but Stan as well. Stan isn't having any of it and picks up a rock to throw at her before Ollie intervenes and tells him that he doesn't blame him. She kicks Stan in the pants but he has already protected that area with a rock. It pretty much ends up a draw, if we're keeping count. Ollie takes the opinion that all married men need to be broad-minded. This theory is put to the test when Devilshoof and Mrs. Hardy bid a fond farewell to one another in front of the wagon - for all to see.
Stan: "Did you see him chuck her under the chin?"
Ollie: "Well, what of it?"
Stan: "If she was my wife I'd chuck her under the wagon!"
Later that night in the town square it is 9 o'clock (and all is well, according to the town cryer Harry Bernard, whom Stan robs not only of his purse but of the bell clanger too). When all is quiet, Devilshoof takes a chance and scales the palace walls but is caught by the guards and taken to be flogged. The boys encounter some townsfolk with the intent of robbing them of their jewels. Stan is successful, but Ollie has problems with a well-dressed nobleman (Eddie Borden), who threatens him with a pistol. Stan runs to get help from a policeman (James C. Morton), who comes to their rescue. The victorious boys head off to an inn for a drink.
Sat at the table, Stan displays a unique trick with his thumb, sliding it on and off from his hand. Ollie is once more intrigued and tries to replicate him without success. Ollie notices Stan is slowly pocketing the coins they have collected and after Stan complains they are as much his as Ollie's, they agree to play a game of 'fingers' for them. Stan quickly cottons onto how to manipulate the game and cheats his way to the controversial win! At the castle, Devilshoof is released, beaten and bruised; whilst Arnheim's daughter eludes the safety of the maid who is distracted by a guard and is subsequently kidnapped by Mrs. Hardy as the gypsies flee the area. Ollie is then introduced to his 'daughter', Arnheim's kidnapped child by his lying wife, who also schemes with an unsuspecting Stan to rob Ollie of all his valuables so that she can run off with her lover. Stan is at first unaccommodating of her request as he stands making a malted milk with a long stick in a barrel, but eventually does as he is asked, unaware of course that Ollie has overheard the entire scheme.
Ollie retreats into the wagon and hides the valuables before pretending to be asleep. Stan reports to Mrs. Hardy that Ollie is asleep an in his less than conspicuous search for Ollie's money purse, he turns the confined space upside down and turfing Ollie out of the bed, but his efforts prove to be futile as Mrs. Hardy has already stolen them. The boys are left with the child and have to raise her on their own. They bond quickly with Ollie making her a makeshift nightdress and putting her gently to bed (the dogs' basket). Stan finds a new talent in singing, both with a high and then low pitched voice.

The story moves forward twelve years to a time when the gypsies have once more camped within the grounds of the broken-hearted Count Arnheim. Arline, his kidnapped daughter is now a young woman being cared for by Stan and Ollie, who now sleep outside in the snow. Over breakfast Arline sings the boys a beautiful song, I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls. Stan uses this opportunity to eat all of the breakfast! After clearing up the dishes Stan then has to bottle a large barrel of wine that has been fermenting in the corner whilst Ollie goes into town. Stan places some empty bottles on the table and begins to siphon the wine. Very soon he has filled up all the bottles, slowly getting drunk in the process as he puts the hosepipe in his mouth between filling each bottle. This continues to the point where the wine has nowhere left to go but shoot out of his ears!
Arline is captured roaming the grounds of the castle and is taken by the guard to be flogged, as Ollie mounts a rescue plan and brings an inebriated Stan along with him. They manage to sneak into the grounds of the castle but are also captured. After a severe torturing where Ollie is stretched and Stan is squashed, both men are released in the nick of time when Arline's true identity is revealed.

Favourite bit
There are so many contenders for this accolade but only one winner. Watching Stan Laurel trying to bottle the wine from the barrel into the limited amount of glass bottles in the wagon as he slowly gets drunk is incredibly funny. His facial reactions, the fingers in the bottle tops, the fingers in the mouth, as he gets more and more clumsy. Try watching this without laughing. It's impossible.

Copyrighted February 12, 1936.
Hal Roach initially directed the non-comedy sequences, but was replaced by Charles Rogers.
Thelma Todd died shortly after the film was previewed. As a result of this unforseen problem Stan Laurel and Hal Roach agreed to re-edit the film by heavily cutting her scenes.
This was Thelma Todd's last film.
All of Thelma Todd's scenes have been cut from the colorized version of the film. Most of Felix Knight's gypsy song is also cut.
Based on an opera by Balfe.
In the opening scene where Selinas talks to the gypsy queen, the back projection film of dancing gypsies is awfully obvious.
When we first see Arline, she is cuddling a large dog.
Stan and Ollie appear after 6 minutes and 5 seconds.
When the boys are first seen peeling vegetables, take a look at who is under the wagon in the background!
The scene at around 13 minutes, when the gypsies are all singing outdoors, Thelma Todd can be briefly glimpsed sitting on the side of a wall on the right of the screen. She is inactive in the scene and looks bored.
The inn where the boys drink after robbing Eddie Borden has the word Weinstube above the door.
Ollie apparently sleeps with his hat on.
At the beginning of the film we see Laughing Gravy the dog. When the film moves forward twelve years, the dog is still there. It is unlikely that the dog would still have been alive by then?
The long scene with Stan bottling the wine reminds me of the apple-eating scene in Sons Of The Desert, with Stan having all the screen time and the great facial expressions.
There are 12 bottles on the table that Stan fills with the wine.
James Finlayson doesn't show up until the 63rd minute.
My opinion
Strip out the singing and the sub-plots involving the gypsies and you have a superb Laurel & Hardy comedy here.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Thelma Todd
Gypsy Queen's daughter
Antonio Moreno
Darla Hood
Arline (as a child)
Jacqueline Wells
Arline (as an adult)
Mae Busch
Mrs. Hardy
James Finlayson
Captain Finn
William P. Carleton
Count Arnheim
Harry Bernard
Town crier
James C. Morton
Sam Lufkin
Eddie Borden
Harry Bowen
Zeffie Tilbury
Gypsy Queen
Mitchell Lewis
Bobby Dunn
Bob O'Connor
Art Rowlands
Howard C. Hickman
Dignified captain
Ivor McFadden
Andrea Leeds
Maid & Governess
Felix Knight
Gypsy singer
Blanca Vischer
Serenaded gypsy
Margaret Mann
Arnheim's mother
Edward Earle
Arnheim's guard
Jack Hill
Paulette Goddard
Gypsy vagabond
Baldwin Cooke
James Dime
Gypsy vagabond (and stunts)


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Jack Tillmany (identification of Edward Earle)

This page was last updated on: 27 October 2019