CHICKENS COME HOME
|Written and filmed December, 1930 - January,
1931. Released by MGM, February, 1931. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed
by James Horne. Three reels.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, Thelma Todd, James Finlayson, Norma Drew.
STORY: Bigshot businessman Oliver Hardy is running for mayor. A gold-digging old flame appears on the scene, and threatens to ruin both Ollie's ambitions and marriage unless he pays money to keep her quiet. He is hosting a lavish dinner party at his house that night, which she threatens to disrupt. Ollie sends campaign manager Stan to her apartment to keep her at bay. He does not succeed.
A remake of the early silent short Love 'Em And Weep, but now with Oliver Hardy as the big business man and James Finlayson as his butler. In the earlier film, Fin was the star, Charlie Hall played the butler and Hardy had a thankless bit part as one of the guests. Mae Busch and Stan Laurel retain their original parts as the old flame and the business man's aide.
JB: I love this film. It never impressed me as a kid, probably because it is more of a situational farce rather than a slapstick comedy, but now it strikes me as an underrated classic. And it's even funny in Spanish!. Ollie is tremendous throughout. Almost a purely Ollie film. My only regret is that the American version doesn't have the scene in the Spanish version with Hadji Ali shooting water from his mouth or swallowing and regurgitating acorns. That's ten of the most perversely fascinating minutes of film you'd ever want to see.
JL: I too find it underrated, and almost wish they had just let Ollie have the whole film. The scenes with Stan and Mae Busch drag it down a bit.
Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan