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Author Topic: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy  (Read 2391 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« on: June 14, 2015, 12:25:10 PM »
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  • http://www.lordheath.com/index.php?p=1_135_Big-Business
    http://www.laurelandhardycentral.com/bigbiz.html
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019688/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wkQuABG4FT8

    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.

    10/10




    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #1 on: June 14, 2015, 04:09:28 PM »
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  • This was absolutely phenomenal.  This ranks right up with the Stooge GOATs.

    Here we a fascinating little battle that results from Stan's insidious behavior, but in reality Ollie is just as much a piece of work.

    I must comment on the opening scene with the first two houses.  Stan and Ollie do a great job of insulting that first woman, and then Ollie takes a hammering with perfect expressions.

    Then Mr. Finlayson's house.  Oh, my, what a riot.  It starts small and ends in full song as Stan and Ollie go batsh~t crazy on Jim's house whilst Jim acts even more insane with Stan and Ollie's car.  Seriously, Jim looks like a true psycho especially the way he wrestles the tree.  What a bunch of maroons.

    I loved the batting scene with Stan pitching breakables for Ollie to baseball bat with the shovel.  They did a number.  I find these easier to enjoy with the sound off.  Now that I am used to it, I enjoy how Stan and Ollie act normal, mess up, get in trouble, and laugh at themselves.  The ending was very Stooge-like.

    10/10
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #2 on: June 14, 2015, 06:31:07 PM »
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  • This was absolutely phenomenal.  This ranks right up with the Stooge GOATs.

    Here we a fascinating little battle that results from Stan's insidious behavior, but in reality Ollie is just as much a piece of work.

    I must comment on the opening scene with the first two houses.  Stan and Ollie do a great job of insulting that first woman, and then Ollie takes a hammering with perfect expressions.

    Then Mr. Finlayson's house.  Oh, my, what a riot.  It starts small and ends in full song as Stan and Ollie go batsh~t crazy on Jim's house whilst Jim acts even more insane with Stan and Ollie's car.  Seriously, Jim looks like a true psycho especially the way he wrestles the tree.  What a bunch of maroons.

    I loved the batting scene with Stan pitching breakables for Ollie to baseball bat with the shovel.  They did a number.  I find these easier to enjoy with the sound off.  Now that I am used to it, I enjoy how Stan and Ollie act normal, mess up, get in trouble, and laugh at themselves.  The ending was very Stooge-like.

    10/10

    I'm really glad you enjoyed this!  Great to read your comments. You're right about the first two houses and Ollie's perfect expressions when getting hammered.  Stan makes a nice facial expression as well turning to the audience as a comment on the situation.  Oh, and I forgot to mention how I love the part where they get in the car, turn the corner,and go to the next residence - in the same housing complex. Nice bit of visual comedy.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #3 on: June 14, 2015, 10:59:40 PM »
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  • I was lucky enough to see this one in a real theater with a full house many years ago.  The audience was screaming.  I've never heard laughter like that in any theater.  It was a general audience, too, not a film society or anything like that, which was probably an advantage because most of the crowd didn't particularly know what they were in for, other than a Stan and Ollie flick.  They found out quick enough.  This is the one.  This is THE one.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 05:58:50 AM »
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  • I'm really glad you enjoyed this!  Great to read your comments. You're right about the first two houses and Ollie's perfect expressions when getting hammered.  Stan makes a nice facial expression as well turning to the audience as a comment on the situation.  Oh, and I forgot to mention how I love the part where they get in the car, turn the corner,and go to the next residence - in the same housing complex. Nice bit of visual comedy.

    And last, but not least, we can't forget Stan's neurosis with the gloves.  Not only was it the same complex, but it was the same front porch as the previous place!

    Now, my curiosity is piqued to go back through and watch others.
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 06:50:24 PM »
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  • And last, but not least, we can't forget Stan's neurosis with the gloves.  Not only was it the same complex, but it was the same front porch as the previous place!

    Now, my curiosity is piqued to go back through and watch others.

    LIBERTY and TWO TARS are the ones to seek as far as physical comedy.  Some of the more domestic comedies that you'll see me give a 10 I obviously like, but more so than the average person.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 07:04:44 PM »
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  • I was lucky enough to see this one in a real theater with a full house many years ago.  The audience was screaming.  I've never heard laughter like that in any theater.  It was a general audience, too, not a film society or anything like that, which was probably an advantage because most of the crowd didn't particularly know what they were in for, other than a Stan and Ollie flick.  They found out quick enough.  This is the one.  This is THE one.

    I truly believe this film to be an almost perfect introduction for silent comedy. *  There's so much slapstick going on it will at least keep one's attention.  I can totally believe a crowd of regular Jane's and Joe's appreciated it.

    * My intro to silent comedy was some Chaplin Essanay shorts.  I'm glad to have them now, but as a beginner, not the best representation of silent comedy, as it's too early.  Later Chaplin works better, but for me, I got hooked watching SHERLOCK, JR. from Buster Keaton.  I was completely blown away.

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 04:53:37 PM »
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  •  Hey, guys! Sorry that I haven't posted in a while over here, but I've just been so busy.
     I really liked this movie, but the absolute best part is the 2nd half which can call for as comic legend. This is definitely a 10, in my book. ( BTW, did you guys hear they found reel 2 of Battle of The Century?)
     Also, can somebody please tell me what the heck this is? https://youtu.be/CPr9KSr9HdY I took one look at it, and I was extremely confused.
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 05:12:19 PM »
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  • Hey, guys! Sorry that I haven't posted in a while over here, but I've just been so busy.
     I really liked this movie, but the absolute best part is the 2nd half which can call for as comic legend. This is definitely a 10, in my book. ( BTW, did you guys hear they found reel 2 of Battle of The Century?)
     Also, can somebody please tell me what the heck this is? https://youtu.be/CPr9KSr9HdY I took one look at it, and I was extremely confused.

    It's Laurel and Hardy meets Biggie meets Yellow Submarine.

    As far as BATTLE OF THE CENTURY, the news is in that thread, and yes, I'm very excited!

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 10:42:51 PM »
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  • Everybody seems to be jumping on this news item, but reel 2 of BOTC ( the pie fight ) has never been missing.  Reel ONE is missing, presumed lost, and has been for over 60 years.  About 4 minutes of reel one is on YouTube, on a clip taken at a movie theater somewhere, perhaps Germany, because the audience laughs at the German subtitles.  And yes a gentleman may have discovered the last two minutes of reel two, which were indeed missing,and that would be great if true,  but it's almost all of reel one that is still missing.

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #10 on: June 19, 2015, 08:18:16 PM »
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  •  No, Big Chief, I believe that there is about 7 minutes of reel one that is able to watch ( the boxing fight, which is hilarious stuff) and they still need to find the insurance policy scene in order for the whole entire movie to be complete. Before a few days ago, only most of the pie fight (about 3 or 4 minutes worth) remained of reel 2. They found the rest of it which includes a cop getting a pie in the face, Stan and Ollie tumbling over things, and more. I think you just got the reels confused.
     But, it looks like once they are done editing what they have found of BOTC and what was previously found, it will in fact be released on DVD! I'm not sure if it's in the US, though..
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    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #11 on: June 19, 2015, 08:32:08 PM »
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  • No, Big Chief, I believe that there is about 7 minutes of reel one that is able to watch ( the boxing fight, which is hilarious stuff) and they still need to find the insurance policy scene in order for the whole entire movie to be complete. Before a few days ago, only most of the pie fight (about 3 or 4 minutes worth) remained of reel 2. They found the rest of it which includes a cop getting a pie in the face, Stan and Ollie tumbling over things, and more. I think you just got the reels confused.
     But, it looks like once they are done editing what they have found of BOTC and what was previously found, it will in fact be released on DVD! I'm not sure if it's in the US, though..

    Correct, I think.  The boxing scene definitely exists, and that is reel one.  Whether it's all of reel one, I'm not sure.  What has existed of reel two is the pie fight footage from the Robert Youngson compilation only.  The rest of the pie fight has been found and I would imagine a lot of, if not all of the stuff that bridges the boxing match and pie fight.

    Either way, I'm glad BATTLE OF THE CENTURY is mostly complete.  Now if only HATS OFF (and Harry Langdon's HEART TROUBLE, while I'm greedy), can show up in pristine condition in someone's attic.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #12 on: June 19, 2015, 08:39:47 PM »
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  • I do not have the reels confused.  The missing reel ( some fragments have been found ) is reel one, buying insurance for Stan, all appearances by Eugene Pallette, and the prize fight.  At least half of this reel is missing, mainly the first half, with Pallette.  They have found about four minutes of this reel, reel one.  The found footage is of the prize fight, which is a good thing, but not really news, it's been available for a while, albeit in somewhat less than optimum condition.  Almost all of reel two, the pie fight, exists and always has, and was restored by Robert Youngson in 1958 for his compilation film When Comedy was King.  You are not correct in thinking that reel two, the piefight reel, is fragmentary.  It is for all intents and purposes complete. The pie fight was all Youngson needed, so that's all he restored, so the rest of the film was left to die.  Someone now has ( maybe ) discovered what little was missing from reel two, so reel two is now complete, pending independent verification.  Reel one is still fragmentary at best.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #13 on: June 19, 2015, 09:22:16 PM »
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  • I do not have the reels confused.  The missing reel ( some fragments have been found ) is reel one, buying insurance for Stan, all appearances by Eugene Pallette, and the prize fight.  At least half of this reel is missing, mainly the first half, with Pallette.  They have found about four minutes of this reel, reel one.  The found footage is of the prize fight, which is a good thing, but not really news, it's been available for a while, albeit in somewhat less than optimum condition.  Almost all of reel two, the pie fight, exists and always has, and was restored by Robert Youngson in 1958 for his compilation film When Comedy was King.  You are not correct in thinking that reel two, the piefight reel, is fragmentary.  It is for all intents and purposes complete. The pie fight was all Youngson needed, so that's all he restored, so the rest of the film was left to die.  Someone now has ( maybe ) discovered what little was missing from reel two, so reel two is now complete, pending independent verification.  Reel one is still fragmentary at best.

    Well, either way, I'll find out soon enough, I hope.  All I know is there are plot holes in my current print and it seems way too short.  I didn't even bother giving it a rating.   Whatever new footage is welcome and I'm happy as Hell about this.

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #14 on: June 20, 2015, 07:21:05 AM »
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  •  Yeah, it says they're releasing it on European DVD... I hope that soon after this they release DVDS of this comedy gem ( from what it seems) in the US, because I would really like to see this! From what I've heard, it's taking a few months for them to restore the movie ( probably restoring the 1st reel, because the 2nd reel seems like it's in good shape) and also for them to edit the two reels. I always thought that even in its 11-minute form that it would be one of the best if more of it was found. Let's see if my hopes are correct!
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    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
    « Reply #15 on: October 14, 2017, 05:01:17 PM »
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  • This is one interesting Christmas film. The beginning with them going door-to-door allows for some funny visual gags, such as the anti-peddler hitting Hardy with the hammer. There are also some dialogue routines at first that lead me to wonder if this was maybe practice for their talkie debut. Also, the “I don’t think he wants a tree” line feels like something Stan would have said instead of Ollie.

    The big selling point of this short, though, is when James Finlayson appears. Laurel, Hardy, and Finlayson’s destruction continues to build as the short goes along and because the amount of destruction is getting bigger, it doesn’t get repetitive at all. They find so many different ways to cause destruction. Chopping down trees, throwing rocks at the chimney, playing baseball with objects. Finlayson literally blows up their car! Also, got to love the officer who, rather than do his job, instead writes down the amount of destruction that the three are causing.

    BIG BUSINESS is hilarious. This is Laurel and Hardy’s only silent film that’s in the National Film Registry and you can easily see why. It takes advantage of its idea perfectly, doing it better than its sound remake, TIT FOR TAT (which is also good, but not nearly as entertaining as this short). So what if there’s no Christmas message in this? This really should be an annual airing on TV.

    10 out of 10