|Written and filmed May, 1930. Released by MGM, September, 1930. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed by James Parrott. Three reels.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Fred Kelsey, Del Henderson, Dorothy Granger, Frank Austin, Tiny Sandford.
STORY: Fishing for their next meal, penniless vagrants Laurel and Hardy receive word that wealthy Ebeneezer Laurel has passed away. Figuring that Stan may be in line for a huge inheritance, The Boys show up at the Laurel mansion on a dark and stormy night. They discover that old Ebeneezer has been murdered, and are themselves (along with the other Laurel heirs) considered suspects. They spend a terror-filled night in the mansion before awakening back on the fishing docks, their experience having been but a dream.
When Stan and Ollie are brought to the room where Ebenezer Laurel was
murdered, Ollie gazes disdainfully at Stan and says, for the first time
in a Laurel and Hardy film, "Well, here's another nice mess you've
gotten me into!". I'm guessing it got a huge laugh in its day,
because it was immediately repeated in their next film, served as the
inspiration for the title of that film and remained in the Laurel and
Hardy repetoire of phrases to the very end (Hardy saying it to Laurel
once again in the final moments of their last film, ATOLL K). It
is the catchphrase by which Laurel and Hardy are most often identified,
although like most great movie lines, it is nearly always misquoted.
Their next short film would be titled Another Fine Mess, leading to decades and decades of Hardy's most famous catchphrase misquoted as "Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into!".
That one historical moment, plus some funny lines from Stan during the opening scene at the pier, are about the only things worth talking about in this creaky, humorless little film. My candidate for their worst short ever.
JL: Yep, I'm sitting here trying to think of one, just one, gag that's worth a chuckle, and I can't. So much potential for this premise, yet even the supporting players are a drag. It has been speculated that part of the dismal atmosphere of this film may stem from a personal tragedy in Stan's life concurrent with the filming of LH Murder Case. He and his wife suffered the loss of their newborn son around this time, and Stan may not have been in a mood for creating inspired comedy.
Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V. Brennan