Oliver the Eighth

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Oliver The Eighth
Olivertheeighthtitlecard.jpg
Directed by Lloyd French
Produced by Hal Roach
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Mae Busch
Jack Barty
Music by LeRoy Shield
Ray Henderson
Marvin Hatley
Cinematography Art Lloyd
Edited by Bert Jordan
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • January 13, 1934 (1934-01-13)
Running time 27' 07"
Country United States
Language English

Oliver The Eighth is a 1934 short film comedy starring Laurel and Hardy. It was directed by Lloyd French, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by MGM.

Plot[edit]

Laurel and Hardy are partners in a barber shop. Stan reads a classified ad in the newspaper from a wealthy widow (Mae Busch) looking for a new husband. Initially, only Stan plans to respond to the ad but after explaining his plans to Ollie (leading to the third use of the team's trademark "Tell me that again" routine, used previously in Towed in a Hole, The Devil's Brother, and subsequently in The Fixer Uppers) they both decide to answer the ad, shaking hands with Ollie saying "May the best man win." However, Ollie cheats on this agreement by mailing only his own response, and hiding Stan's in his hat.

The widow invites Ollie to her mansion, and when Stan discovers his unmailed response, he also goes along and demands half of whatever Ollie gets. At the widow's mansion, Laurel and Hardy encounter a deranged butler (Jack Barty) who pantomimes card tricks with imaginary cards, and serves an imaginary meal. The same butler tips off Stan and Ollie that the widow is a mass murderess, who had previously slit the throats of seven prior fiancees, all named Oliver.

Laurel and Hardy are sent upstairs, as the widow tells her butler to make sure all the doors and windows are locked. She tells Ollie, "I hope you have a nice, long sleep", as the butler plays "Taps" on a trumpet.

Unable to escape their bedroom, Stan finds a Pump-action shotgun, leading to some slapstick mishaps including the complete destruction of a large chair from one gunshot, and Stan accidentally shooting Ollie in the foot (which he mistook for a man's hand). They plan to take turns sleeping, so that one of them can watch out for the knife-wielding widow.

Ollie sets up a Rube Goldberg-style contraption to make sure Stan stays awake, tying a brick to a string, suspended above Stan's head. He then puts a lit candle below the string and tells Stan he must periodically move the string in order to prevent the candle's flame from burning through, which would result in the brick falling on Stan's head.

As usual, things go awry with the brick falling on Ollie's head, knocking him unconscious. Moments later the widow is heard walking up the stairs, brandishing a pair of large knives. When Stan goes to get the shotgun, he gets locked in the closet. Just as the widow enters the room and is about to slit Ollie's throat, a loud offscreen crash is heard.

Suddenly, Stan and Ollie are back at their barber shop, and Ollie leaps out of his chair, screaming and runs to the mirror to examine his throat. He explains to Stan, "I just had a terrible dream."

Cast[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • This was Laurel and Hardy's last three-reel comedy.
  • It's British title was The Private Life of Oliver the Eighth, a pun on the film The Private Life of Henry VIII. The title and the plot of Laurel & Hardy's film are similar to this Alexander Korda movie.
  • Laurel tries to sell his barber shop for some nuts and a gold bar. He is advised to keep the gold "until the U.S returns to the Gold standard." This dated joke referenced the fact that the U.S. had left the Gold standard in 1933 due to The Great Depression.
  • This was one of five Laurel and Hardy short films novelized by Charles T. Clinton for a Laurel and Hardy Big Little Book titled "Laurel and Hardy", published in 1934.
  • This was the other Laurel and Hardy film that ended up being completely a dream, four years after The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case.

References[edit]

External links[edit]