Series: Laurel and Hardy

Director: Lewis R. Foster
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: George Stevens
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Harlow
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 18 May 1929
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-20
Filming dates: February 5-9, 1929
Rating: 8/10

Double Whoopee

Available on DVD:

Stan and Ollie arrive at a swank hotel on Broadway to begin work as a doorman and footman respectively. However, they turn up at the exact same time the hotel is expecting two V.I.P. guests - one of which is the Prince and the other is his Prime Minister. As it is Stan and Ollie who enter the lobby first everybody, including the manager, thinks they are the VIPs and start making a real fuss. The Boys try to sign the register but Ollie keeps reprimanding Stan for keeping his hat on during the process, whilst a large crowd of guests gather to look on with interest. One woman who is powdering her nose ends up smearing ink all over her face when the ink from the signing-in pen ends up on her powdering disc. The hotel manager introduces himself to Ollie, who then gives him a letter from an agency he and Stan work for. They are the new doorman and footman the hotel have hired.
When the manager realises the apparent of the mix-up, he puts the boys to work on the door, whilst the real V.I.P's are given preferential treatment. As the Prince steps into the elevator he is encouraged to give a small speech. He steps out momentarily, long enough for Ollie to call the elevator up and when the Prince steps back in, he falls down the unprotected shaft (shocking health & safety standards in place for 1929!) Ollie steps out, oblivious to what has just happened as the manager rescues the Prince from the elevator pit all covered in grease. The gag is repeated when Stan does the exact same thing. Outside the hotel a passing cop gives Ollie the once over before walking off. Ollie cannot resist the chance to blow on the whistle he gets with his uniform but this leads to an angry confrontation with cabbie Charlie Hall, who warns him not to blow the whistle again.
Stan helps a guest with his coat but ends up ripping off his undergarments when he sees them sticking through the top of his clothing. Ollie then misinterprets the bellhops clicker to indicate which door to open for guests leaving the hotel. He is further frustrated as Stan picks up on the situation rather quickly and is rewarded by guests departing the lounge. Poor Stan is relieved of his earnings by a jealous Hardy under the suspicous eye of the cop who forces him to give the money back to Stan. Stan sees the temptation to blow Ollie's whistle, which brings the cab driver back - and when he realizes there is no passenger to collect he isn't happy! Charlie starts ripping up Ollie's uniform (believing it was he who blew the whistle) but after a while of standing back and observing, Stan finally steps in and gives Charlie some karma [see favourite bit].
Soon after, a beautiful young lady (Jean Harlow) arrives in a cab. Ollie immediately offers to escort her to the front desk but unaware Stan has closed the cab door on her dress, which peels off as they walk away, leaving her semi-naked. This leads to a heated argument when Stan then refuses to lend his coat to cover up the unfortunate embarrassment. A simple eye-poking turns into an out-and-out mass brawl between hotel staff, guests, the cab driver and policeman (probably the only time Ollie ever got away with punching Tiny Sandford in the face and getting away with it!). During the fight Stan posts a huge plaster on the chest of one guest, whilst Ollie plucks a small chick from the beard of the Prime Minister who has come to complain. The film ends with the Prince falling down the elevator shaft again, as Stan and Ollie disembark the elevator and walk out.

Favourite bit
To be fair to Stan, he has just had to suffer Ollie bullying him and stealing his quarter and has every right to stand by and watch Ollie receive some punishment from cabbie Charlie Hall when he starts tearing up Ollie's uniform. But there comes a point when enough is enough and Stan sticks up for Ollie by retaliating and begins his onslaught against Charlie in spectacular fashion!

Copyrighted May 13, 1929.
Jean Harlow's appearance is surprisingly limited to only a few seconds. She first shows up in the back of a cab at 14 minutes 30 seconds into the film.
There is a 'talkie' version of the film available on DVD with Chuck McCann providing the voice-over work for the actors.
When Stan and Ollie are at the desk early on, there is a woman standing behind them in a small crowd and observing. See here. However, in the very next shot she is seen sitting in a chair along with Amo Ingraham. See here.
When Ollie signs the register he signs "Oliver Hardy Esq(uire)." I have rotated the image for easier examination.
There is a discarded bucket at the bottom of the elevator shaft!
If you look at this scene of the elevator pit you can see a wall on the extreme left of the frame which indicates this was shot against an alcove.

My opinion
A hugely satisfying silent comedy, one of Laurel and Hardy's best. Memorable for THAT scene with Jean Harlow and the dress! The final scene is like a huge pie fight - without the pies!

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Jean Harlow
Cab passenger
Chet Brandenburg
William Gillespie
Hotel manager
Charlie Hall
Cab driver
Hans Joby
Ham Kinsey
Cab driver
Sam Lufkin
Man poked in the eye
Jack Deery
Hotel guest
Jack O'Brien
Hotel employee
Charley Rogers
Prime Minister
Tiny Sandford
Rolfe Sedan
Desk clerk
Bobby Callahan
Clara Guiol
Switchboard operator
Hazel Keener
Hotel guest
Addie McPhail
Hotel guest powdering nose
Rosalind Byrne
Hotel guest
Jack Chefe
Hotel guest
(as Jack Chafee)
Amo Ingraham
Hotel guest
Carmen Guerrero
Hotel guest
John Alban
Hotel guest
(as Harlan St. Alburn)
Robert Cautiero
Hotel guest who calls for speech
(as Robert Cantero)
Eleanor Fredericks
Hotel guest
Robert Bolder
Hotel guest
Betty Caldwell
Hotel guest
Mary Emery
Hotel guest
Charles O'Malley
Hotel guest
Robert Moore
Hotel guest
Toby Doolan
Hotel guest
(as Toby Dohlan)
Elmer Dewey
Hotel guest
Billie Lawrence
Hotel guest
Mary Mayo
Hotel guest
Myrna Belzner
Hotel guest
Walter Lipscomb
Hotel guest
William Broman
Hotel guest
Don Smith
Hotel guest


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

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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Richard W. Bann (identification of Bobby Callahan)
Robert Birchard (identification of Hazel Keener)
Hal Erickson (identification of Addie McPhail)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Rosalind Byrne, Amo Ingraham, Robert Cautiero, Jack Chefe, John Alban,
Eleanor Fredericks, Robert Bolder, Betty Caldwell, Mary Emery, Charles O'Malley)
Rick Greene (lobby cards)

This page was last updated on: 12 April 2024