Another Fine Mess (1930)
Another Fine Mess (1930)

Genre: Slapstick and Short Running Time: 29 min.

Release Date: November 29th, 1930 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: James Parrott Actors: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Charles K. Gerrard, Gertrude Sutton, Thelma Todd

 


 

“M

r. Laurel and Mr. Hardy have many ups and downs … ” begins this 1930 short, summarizing the multifarious misadventures of Stan and Ollie. Here, the wealthy Colonel Wilburforce Buckshot departs for a South African hunting trip, leaving his palatial residence available for rent. He insists that it must only be leased to the most reliable of candidates, to be screened by the maid and butler (who opt to take the weekend off instead).

And so, the least responsible people in the world – the timid, dimwitted Stan and the pushy, imbecilic Ollie, perpetual vagabonds with limitless professions and zero actual skills – sneak their way onto Wilburforce’s premises, which will be conveniently vacant for some time. It’s not long before potential renters arrive, forcing the bumbling duo to be in charge of such important decisions. “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.”

Laurel raises his eyebrows in ceaseless bewilderment, while Hardy maintains a look of disappointment. And all the while, the slapstick duo collide with one another, butt heads literally, and play dress-up – including donning the clothing of women, in pitiful attempts to fool such callers as Lord Leopold Plumtree (Charles K. Gerrard) and his wife (Thelma Todd). From falling down stairs to stumbling through rooms to breaking all sorts of household items, the physical comedy is key. Of course, goofy wordplay is also effective, with each alternating instance nicely contributing to the insincerity and playfulness of the compounding ordeals – culminating in a classic two-man animal costume (on a bicycle!).

– Mike Massie

  • 5/10