Watch BIG BUSINESS in the link above
BIG BUSINESS is one of the all time film comedy masterpieces, and I hope at least one of you who hasn't seen this can gain an appreciation for this one. First off, this technically counts as a Christmas film by the mere fact Stan and Ollie are Christmas tree salesmen going door to door. Yeah, sunny California and palm trees don't exactly scream baby Jesus, Santa, or whatever your Christmas image is, but this was legitimately shot in mid December 1928 in California, so if you're a north easterner like me, Christmas actually does look sunny in other parts of the country.
The Christmas theme stops there, because there's no Yuletide cheer to be found here, just pure, unadulterated destruction of property. After a few humorous unsuccessful Christmas tree sales, Stan and Ollie land at the door of James Finlayson. After another failed sale, the tree repeatedly gets caught in the door after it's slammed, resulting in multiple ringed doorbells. After Stan finally gets the tree away, Stan has an idea to come back and try to take an order for next year. Fin is pissed off at this point, so he takes some hedge clippers and cuts away the tree. Then Stan and Ollie proceed to destroy a little of Fin's house, and they take turns destroying each other's property. Things start small and build and build into greater levels of destruction as the short progresses. At first each side takes turns with the destruction, watching the other side commit whatever act they can concoct, but eventually they quit taking turns and just continuously destroy stuff at a rapid pace. It literally plays like a symphony where a few instruments start in the intro but by the finale, the entire orchestra kicks in. Even the entire neighborhood looks on in fascination as well as a cop played by Tiny Sanford. Instead of doing his duty and preventing the destruction of property, all he can do is look on in amazement like the rest of us.
They're all favorite parts, but I'll give an extra shout out to Stan pitching glass objects from inside the house through a broken window only for Ollie to swat them like he's a hitter playing baseball. The sight of Fin inside the car putting a Christmas tree in what looks like Lex Luger's human torture rack, for you old school wrestling fans, is also a hysterical sight.
By the way, Jim Finlayson is equally as funny as Stan and Ollie in this one and would go on to be as important to Hal Roach as Bud and Vernon were to Columbia. Interestingly enough, his "doh" sound once the talkies came in is according to Matt Groening himself, the inspiration for Homer Simpson's famous catchphrase!
Please do yourself a favor and check this one out. Absolutely essential viewing. I admit the soundtracks on some of these YouTube clips aren't ideal (my DVD has more appropriate Hal Roach style music), but even so, the comedy here simply rules.