The Bohemian Girl (1936 film)
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|The Bohemian Girl|
1946 theatrical re-release poster
|Directed by||James W. Horne
|Produced by||Stan Laurel
|Written by||Michael William Balfe
Alfred Bunn (libretto)
Frank Butler (screenplay)
|Music by||Michael William Balfe (original operetta)
|Edited by||Bert Jordan
|February 14, 1936|
The Bohemian Girl is a 1936 feature film version of the opera The Bohemian Girl by Michael William Balfe. It was produced at the Hal Roach Studios, and stars Laurel and Hardy and Thelma Todd in her last role before her death. This was also the only appearance of Darla Hood in a full-length feature produced by Hal Roach. Hood was best known as "Darla" from the Roach's Our Gang (Little Rascals) comedy shorts.
Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy are a hen-pecked pair of Gypsies in 18th-century Austria. When Oliver is out pickpocketing, fortune-telling or attending his zither lessons, his wife (Mae Busch), has an affair with Devilshoof (Antonio Moreno). A cruel nobleman, Count Arnheim, persecutes the Gypsies, who are forced to flee, but Mrs Hardy, in revenge for Devilshoof being lashed by the count's orders, kidnaps his daughter, Arline (Darla Hood), and Mrs. Hardy fools Hardy into thinking she is their daughter since he believes everything she tells him. She soon elopes with Devilshoof, and leaves Oliver and "Uncle" Stanley holding the toddler. Arline is too young to remember her old life.
Twelve years later, the Gypsies return to Arnheim's estate. When grown up Arline (Jacqueline Wells) accidentally trespasses in Arnheim's garden, she recognises the place and Arnhiem's voice, but is arrested by a constable (Jimmy Finlayson) and sentenced to a lashing. Stan and Oliver try to save her, but Stan is too drunk and both are arrested. Just as Arline is stripped in order to be lashed, she is rescued in time by Arnheim, who recognises a medallion she wears and a family birthmark, and both try to rescue Stan and Oliver. It is too late though: Laurel and Hardy had already been worked over in the torture chamber: Hardy emerges stretched to a height of eight feet, while Stan has been crushed to only a few feet tall and the constable just stands yelling and moaning.
Thelma Todd's role
Todd died on 16 December 1935 at age 29. She had been found in the garage of her home, poisoned by the fumes of her own car. Stan Laurel received a Christmas present from her soon afterwards. The jury brought out a verdict of accidental death because there was little or no evidence for suicide.
Three films starring Todd were released after her death. In The Bohemian Girl, Todd had played the Gypsy Queen, a very substantial role. All of her scenes were re-shot and her character was renamed as the Gypsy Queen's Daughter, and Zeffie Tilbury playing the Queen, and with a vampish Mae Busch character replacing her in the narrative. One scene of Todd's was kept in as a tribute to her: a musical number where she sings "Heart of a Gypsy".
Meta-reference: James Finlayson, well- known for his comical squinting, gets poked in the eye at one point and cries: "Oh! My good eye!"
Casting and production details
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer wanted to cast a talented newcomer as Arline. Hal Roach cast Darla Hood, who had just begun appearing in Roach's Our Gang comedies, as young Arline and Julie Bishop as adult Arline.
Rosina Lawrence dubs Jacqueline Wells' singing.
Paulette Goddard has a small uncredited role as a Gypsy.
The Count was played by W.P. Carleton, who had played the role on stage over a number of decades and who was a distant cousin of the British actor Sir Guy Standing.
The film was banned in Malaysia due to its depictions of Roma themes.
- Stan Laurel as Stan
- Oliver Hardy as Ollie
- Julie Bishop as Arline as an adult
- Darla Hood as Arline as a child
- Mae Busch as Mrs. Hardy
- Antonio Moreno as Devilshoof, Mrs. Hardy's lover
- William P. Carleton as Count of Arnheim
- James Finlayson as Finn, Captain of the Guard
- Zeffie Tilbury as old Gypsy Queen
- Mitchell Lewis as Salinas, Gypsy Queen's advisor
- Harry Bowen as Laurel and Hardy's first victim (the drunkard)
- Sam Lufkin as Laurel and Hardy's second victim (the innkeeper)
- Eddie Borden as Laurel and Hardy's third victim (the nobleman)
- James C. Morton as the officer who arrests the nobleman
- Harry Bernard as bell ringer
- Thelma Todd as singer of "Heart of a Gypsy"
- Felix Knight as singer of "Then You'll Remember Me"
- "Movies banned in Malaysia on Lists of Bests". Listsofbests.com. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
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