Series: Laurel and Hardy

Director: James W. Horne
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Ray Snyder
Sound: William Randall

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Daphne Pollard, James Finlayson
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 06 August 1935
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-23
Filming dates: July 1-8, 1935
Rating: 7/10

Thicker Than Water

Available on DVD:

Stan is lodging with Mr. Hardy and his fiery wife (Daphne Pollard). After having their afternoon dinner Mrs. Hardy demands Stan's overdue rent payment but he says that he paid the money to Ollie, who has to hand it over to his wife. The boys are about to leave to go to the ball game but Mrs. Hardy makes them stay home to wash the dishes instread. In the kitchen Ollie reluctantly prepares to wash up, unaware the Stan has over-filled the bowl with soap, which turns into a thick goo. After a while they start to make some progress with Ollie washing and Stan drying. But naturally an every day simple task is made complicated by Stan re-filling the washing up bowl with the items he has just dried.
Mr. Finlayson comes to collect the monthly payment for the furniture that the Hardy's are renting from him. What follows is just unbelievable... a three-way conversation about where the missing money has gone. Finlayson finally gets his money and warns them that in future he doesn't want any detours about who gave it to who to give to who and for what. Mrs. Hardy threatens to throw Stan out but Stan argues that she cannot do this on the grounds that he paid his rent in advance. Then it all kicks off again. Stan boldly suggests that Ollie withdraws his savings from the bank in order pay off the furniture and own it outright but Mrs. Hardy shoots the idea down flat, telling him the money stays right where it is before leaving the house. Stan is slightly aggrieved that Ollie has allowed his wife to talk to him in such a condescending manner and gives him a pep talk into taking a firm stance against her. Strangely enough, Ollie agrees to take his friend's advice and go withdraw all the money ($300) from the joint bank account to pay off the furniture.
Armed with the cash-in-hand the boys pass an auction house which boasts of 'giving things away' that day. Intrigued, they enter and are seated next to a woman who is bidding on a grandfather's clock. During the auction she realises she doesn't have enough money to win the clock and asks Ollie to keep the bidding open for her whilst she leaves to fetch more funds. Ollie is happy to oblige and carries on the bid. Not to be outdone, Stan gets in on the action too, driving up the amountg by counter-bidding against Ollie until the auction ends just shy of $300. Ollie explains to the clerk that he was bidding for someone else but the clerk calls for the boss (Finlayson) to demand the payment.
Mrs. Hardy goes to the bank to ensure her husband cannot withdraw the money from the account but the teller (Charlie Hall) informs her that she is too late and that Ollie has closed the account; she is furious. Meanwhile, Stan and Ollie are carrying their new purchase across the street when it gets destroyed by a speeding truck. Back home Mrs. Hardy dishes out some harsh punishment for her husband and clonks him over the head with a frying pan. Later at the hospital, Stan finds that Ollie's condition is serious enough for a blood transfusion to be needed. Stan obliges after some coercion but the operation does not go to plan. After a mix-up in the operation Stan and Ollie become each other (if that makes sense?) Stan's impersonation of Hardy is faultless, as Ollie does his Stan impersonations, leaving the hospital all mixed up.

Favourite bit
Mrs. Hardy: "Oliver did I or did I not give you the money to pay on the furnitre?"
Ollie: "You certainly did"
Mrs. Hardy: "Then why wasn't it paid?"
Ollie: "Why, I gave it to him (points to Stan) to pay it for me"
Mrs. Hardy (to Stan): "Then what did you do with it?"
Stan: "I gave it back to him"
Ollie: "You gave it to me?"
Stan: "Yeah I gave it to you to pay my room and board then you gave it to her, recomember [sic]?"
Mrs. Hardy: "Do you mean to say that the money that he gave to you that you gave to him that he gave to me was the same money that I gave to him to pay him?"
Stan: "Well if that was the money that you gave to him to give to me to pay to him, it must have been the money that I gave him to give to you to pay my rent - didn't I?"
Mrs. Hardy: Mr. Finlayson I owe you an apology"
Fin: "And thirty-seven dollars"

Copyrighted August 6, 1935.
This was the last 2-reel short Laurel and Hardy made for Hal Roach. They both later appeared in Charley Chase's On The Wrong Trek a year later as a cameo.
When Stan talks back to Daphne Pollard in the opening exchange she tells him to "stay out of this" then flicks his ear. If you watch closely you can see she does actually make contact with Stan's ear.
The scenario of Mrs. Hardy not allowing Ollie to go out with Stan due to household chores that need to be done is reminiscent of the plot for Hog Wild.
Ollie is wearing a watch on his left wrist.
When the boys are in the kitchen their shadows can clearly be seen reflected on the cupboards behind them. This would not be possible with natural daylight or with the kitchen light on which would have been above their heads. This proves that the lighting used for filming was directly in front of them (naturally). The point of this observation being simply that it is a big giveaway.
When Ollie turns the taps on after the bowl is full of all the soapy water it splashes down off the crockery and rebounds back up into his face. Honestly, what did he think was going to happen?
Daphne Pollard steals a scene in the bedroom as she is preparing to go out and she sprays herself with perfume, blowing off her hat.
As Stan pulls out the board in the kitchen for Ollie to put the bowl on he drops it with all the plates and cups in. How on earth did none of them break?
There are sixteen flower designs at the top-half of Ollie's apron.
The entire contents of the washing-up consists of 15 plates and saucers and 2 cups. It's easy to count them as they are piled up on the cooker.
James Finlayson rings the Hardy's doorbell three times when he first arrives.
The rental for the furniture is $37.
In the scene where Stan, Ollie and Mrs. Hardy are discussing the missing furniture payment money Stan is smoking a pipe.
The Hardys do their banking at the First National Bank Of Commerce.
During the auction after Ollie gags Stan at $290, Stan suddenly becomes cross-eyed.
The auction scene is repeated in the much-later The Dancing Masters.
This film contains one of my most personally-disliked characters in it: the auctioneer is so unnecessarily rude to the boys. Not only is he completely two-faced by encouraging the auction but then turns nasty when the boys remain seated at the conclusion of it. And then if that wasn't bad enough he snitches to his boss about it as well. Really dislikable character in my opinion.
Baldwin Cooke has a brief cameo as a visitor in the hospital. He asks at the desk for directions to a patient's room. He does the exact same thing in County Hospital - again when Stan goes to visit Ollie in hospital.
The license plate of the truck that destroys the clock is H79 52
The section of the street used to film the truck running over the grandfather clock is the same section where Ollie falls from the window in Saps At Sea.
Stan is called into the doctor's office at 9:05am.
Transferring Stan's blood into Ollie's bloodstream is a bad idea given that it is not known whether their blood types are compatible with one another. Also, it is unlawful for somebody to be forced against their will to donate their blood. The doctor should be sacked for this. He also has a shit and uncaring attitude too.
My opinion
Quite an odd one this is. At times it feels very pedestrian and methodical and at other times it is stimulating and amusing. The standout scenes are the three-way conversation about who gave the money to who, and the final scene where both Stan and Ollie mimic each other's mannerisms to a tee! The bits inbetween are throwaway scenes used to pad out the story with not a lot going on. At times it feels a bit empty and flat but ultimately it delivers.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Daphne Pollard
Mrs. Hardy
James Finlayson
Mr. Finlayson
Allan Cavan
Dr. F.D. Allen
Grace Goodall
Nurse Goodall
Bess Flowers
Baldwin Cooke
Hospital visitor
Harry Bowen
Lester Dorr
Man at acution
Gladys Gale
Auction bidder
Charlie Hall
Bank teller
Chet Brandenburg
Bank teller
Lew Davis
Sammy Brooks
Shoeshine customer
Pete Gordon


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Jerry Murbach (still)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Lew Davis, Sammy Brooks, Pete Gordon)

This page was last updated on: 06 August 2023