ONE GOOD TURN
Written and filmed May-June, 1931. Released by MGM, October, 1931. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed by James Horne. Two reels.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Marry Carr, James Finlayson, Billy Gilbert, Dorothy Granger, Snub Pollard.
STORY: Stan and Ollie are homeless victims of the Depression, and
are reduced to begging for food. A kindly old lady offers them a meal.
As they dine, they overhear a conversation in the next room: a
heartless landlord threatens to throw the old lady into the street.
Unaware that what they have just heard is dialogue from a play
rehearsal, The Boys set out to raise money to help the old lady. They
attempt to auction off their car, but Stan inadvertently winds up the
high bidder. A drunk accidently sticks his wallet into Stan's pocket;
Ollie finds it and thinks Stan has been stealing from the old lady.
When the truth is discovered, a vengeful Stan takes out his wrath on
underrated classic, made all the better by the inspired ending where
Stan finally turns the tables on Ollie. One of those rare shorts where
the Boys have absolutely zero social standing or prospect. Some people
say it is overplotted for a L&H film, but hell, they can't all be
JL: I like
it, though the beginning and ending scenes are my favorites. Unlike
Below Zero, the opening scene in which the campfire destroys their
"earthly posessions" shows how they could create a pathetic situation
and still be funny. Incidentally, I've noticed that this and Any Old
Port are the final two screen appearances of Stan's "scissors kick" (he
does it here just before he runs out of the house to attack Ollie). One
of his trademarks during his silent days, but I guess he was getting a
bit old for it around this time.
Copyright © 2012 John Larrabee, John V.