Zenobia (film)

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This article is about the film. For the Agatha Christie book, see Elephants Can Remember.
Zenobia
Zenobia1939.jpg
VHS cover
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Produced by Hal Roach
Written by Corey Ford
Starring Oliver Hardy
Harry Langdon
Billie Burke
Alice Brady
Hattie McDaniel
Music by Marvin Hatley
Cinematography Karl Struss
Norbert Brodine
Edited by Bert Jordan
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • 1939 (1939)
Running time 73 min.
Country United States
Language English

Zenobia (also known as Elephants Never Forget (UK) and It's Spring Again) is a 1939 comedy film starring Oliver Hardy, Harry Langdon, Billie Burke, Alice Brady, James Ellison, Jean Parker, June Lang, Stepin Fetchit, and Hattie McDaniel. It is one of the few films after the teaming of Laurel and Hardy that features Hardy without Stan Laurel,[1] the result of a contract dispute between Laurel and producer Hal Roach, who maintained separate contracts for each performer, rather than a team contract, which would have offered them more control over their careers. Zenobia was Roach's attempt to create a new comedic pair without Laurel, and a series of films with Hardy and Langdon was planned. The dispute was short-lived, however, and Laurel and Hardy were reunited shortly thereafter.[2]

Oliver Hardy enacted his role in straight comedic leading man fashion, eschewing most of his trademark "Ollie" mannerisms.

The film, itself, enjoyed some success. The reviewer for The New York Times wrote on May 15, 1939, that the film:

"...[was] a rough idea of what would happen to Gone With the Wind if Hal Roach had produced it...[it was] an antebellum, costume romance in slapstick...".

Then—playing on the potential for a new comedy team of Hardy and Langdon—the reviewer said:

"...Harry Langdon has adopted the partnership prerequistes formerly reserved for Stan Laurel...Harry Langdon's pale and beautifuly [sic?] blank countenance...has probably already excited the professional jealousy of Mr. Laurel..."

When seen today, though, Langdon's role is not so much that of a teammate to Hardy, as simply a comic costar.

The source of the film was the novel Zenobia's Infidelity by H.C. Bunner and was originally purchased by Roach as a vehicle for Roland Young. Other points of interest about Zenobia include the fact that the music was by Marvin Hatley, the composer of "The Cuckoo Song," Laurel and Hardy's famous theme song.

Plot[edit]

Hardy plays Dr. Henry Tibbett, a country doctor who is called on by a travelling circus trainer to cure his sick elephant. After the doctor heals the grateful beast, the elephant becomes so attached to him that it starts to follow him everywhere. This leads to the trainer suing Dr. Tibbett for alienation of affection.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For Oliver Hardy's films without Stan Laurel, see: Filmography of Oliver Hardy.
  2. ^ For details on this dispute, see the main article on Laurel and Hardy.

External links[edit]