Friday, January 20, 2006
Big Business 1929
The house still exists and where " Big Business " was filmed I am sure it is in Los Angeles, and it is probably my favorite Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy Movie done in 1929.
There is even an anecdote I like to listen from the Owner of the house taking a trip with his Family and returning home checking their house in total wreck, seems the story was a fake because Laurel said never happened but I like the story even if it is a phony.
Enjoy an extract about the Movie I saw sometime ago.
"Laurel and Hardy are selling Christmas trees door-to-door in southern California with little success, not even to getting advance orders for the next year. They decide to use all their salesmanship skills with James Finlayson, who proves to be adamant in his refusal. A few simple mistakes quickly develop into a ritual of mutual destruction that ruins their business, Fin's home and the boys' car.
William K. Everson calls Big Business "The apotheosis of all Laurel and Hardy films," and goes on to call it "one of the comedy classics from any star, any country and any period." It is certainly one of the tightest edited films of Laurel and Hardy.
According to Barr, the ending to the story is appropriate. However, it would have been more fitting if the canister of film contained the silent Laurel and Hardy classic, Big Business. What better source in learning about man than sitting for 20 minutes, observing in Barr's own words, "pain and joy, authority and subversion, aspiration and disaster, generosity and ill will, with the directness of allegory." I am in total agreement with Mr. Barr, feeling that Laurel and Hardy were the most universal of all comedians. Every walk of life can relate to these two innocents as they struggle with humanity, trying vainly to sell their considerable stock of Christmas trees to a most uncooperative public. As soon as they ring the doorbell of their third prospective customer, James Finlayson, we know that all of their efforts are foredoomed to failure, resulting in the quintessential battle of "reciprocal destruction."
Studio publicity for the Hal Roach Studio at the time claimed that they would use the home of a studio employee with the express purpose of wrecking it for the movie. The employee would also be awarded a vacation with his family while the picture's filming was in progress. Supplied with a house key and a photograph of the dwelling, the studio technicians located it (or thought they did), trying vainly to open the front door with the said key. The director, James Horne ordered, "Break the door down! We're going to tear the place apart anyway." After a few days filming, things were running smoothly, until a man and wife came driving up the road with two kids in the car. The woman fainted and the man started yelling at the film crew, causing the studio people to realize that they had destroyed the wrong house!
This was a story that Hal Roach loved to tell interviewers in his later years. In the early 1960's, when he appeared on the Today Show, Roach again regaled television audiences throughout the country with this wonderful anecdote. Unfortunately, Stan Laurel would later comment that the story was a mere fabrication concocted by studio publicists. As it is through, Big Business must certainly rank as one of the boy's best films, along with Helpmates and The Music Box. As soon as the first title, which reads, "the story of a man who turned the other cheek and got punched in the nose" flashes onto the screen, it soon becomes evident that this is an unforgettable classic for the holidays!"
Have a great day!!