Big Business (1929 film)

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Big Business
L&H Big Business 1929.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames W. Horne
Leo McCarey
Produced byHal Roach
Written byH.M. Walker (titles)
StarringStan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Jimmy Finlayson
Tiny Sandford
Charlie Hall
Lyle Tayo
Edited byRichard C. Currier (as Richard Currier)
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 20, 1929 (1929-04-20)
Running time
19 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English (Original intertitles)

Big Business is a 1929 silent Laurel and Hardy comedy short subject directed by James W. Horne and supervised by Leo McCarey from a McCarey (uncredited) and H. M. Walker script. The film, largely about tit-for-tat vandalism between Laurel and Hardy as Christmas tree salesmen and the man who rejects them, was deemed culturally significant and entered into the National Film Registry in 1992.


Stan and Ollie play door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen in California – in the summer. They end up getting into an escalating feud with grumpy would-be customer James Finlayson. He, goaded by their repeated attempts to sell him a Christmas tree, destroys it with hedge-clippers. Laurel & Hardy retaliate by damaging the man's doorframe with a knife. Finlayson then goes to work on their clothes, and this escalates, with his home and their car being destroyed in the melee (after Finlayson has run out of Christmas trees to mangle). A police officer (Tiny Sandford) steps in to stop the fight (after vases are thrown out and smashed, and one hits him on the foot) and negotiates a peaceful resolution. Stan and Ollie give the homeowner a cigar as a peace offering. However, as the pair make their escape, the trick cigar promptly explodes in his face.


Producer Hal Roach bought a vacant house at 10281 Dunleer Drive, Cheviot Hills, Los Angeles from a studio worker so he could destroy it in the film[1]. According to Roach, a mistake was made regarding the address--and the cast and crew demolished the house next door instead. The owners of that home happened to be away on vacation and returned just as filming was wrapping up. Stan Laurel later said that Roach's story was a fabrication. However, Roach, at age 100, repeated the story as factual during a 1992 guest appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.



  1. ^ Fleming, E. J. (2010). The Movieland Directory: Nearly 30,000 Addresses of Celebrity Homes, Film Locations and Historical Sites in the Los Angeles Area, 1900-Present. McFarland. p. 131. ISBN 9780786443376. Retrieved 29 December 2017.

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