movie review for Laurel and Hardy’s short film, Another Fine Mess (1930)
Another Fine Mess is an early talking Laurel and Hardy short film, and is an extremely funny short film. The basic plot has Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy on the run from the police, not wanting to go to jail for vagrancy. They run into a mansion, in order to hide there, but it turns out that the owner Colonel Buckshot (played by Laurel and Hardy regular James Finlayson) is leaving the country for a safari, and has advertised his mansion as being for rent. Unfortunately for Stan and Ollie, potential renters arrive while the police are still looking for them outside, and so Ollie impersonates Lord Buckshot, and Stan takes the role of “Hives” the butler.
The mistaken identity becomes the linchpin of the comedy of this short film, as Stan and Ollie try to show off the features of this mansion that they’ve never been in before. In addition, poor Stan also has to impersonate “Hives”’ sister, “Agnes” the maid – often switching between the two, and often forgetting which role he is at any given time. While Stan is spending most of his time with Lady Plumtree (Thelma Todd), Ollie is spending his with Lord Plumtree, and consistently getting his name wrong, which becomes a running gag. Eventually, the entire scheme falls apart when the real Colonel Buckshot returns, having forgotten something, and quickly grabs his shotgun to run these strangers out of his house.
The comedy is very fast-paced and funny, and I strongly recommend watching Another Fine Mess as a very good, very funny example of Laurel and Hardy in their prime. I rate it 4 stars out of a possible 5 stars.
Funny movie quotes from the Laurel and Hardy short film Another Fine Mess
Officer: Say, Kelly, did a couple of guys come through here?
Other Officer: Yeah, a couple just ran in there, why?
Officer: Well, they was in the park and they had put a couple of benches together so they could have twin beds and when I asked them to move on, the little fella tips his hat and says “yes ma’am.” That’s what I’m sore about!
Colonel Wilburforce Buckshot (James Finlayson): Just a second! I forgot my bow and arrow!
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): [to Stan] Come on! Let’s reconnoiter.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Well, here’s a another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.
Stan (Stan Laurel): [posing as the butler] You wish to see Colonel Buckshot?
Lord Leopold Plumtree: Why, I’d LOVE to! Hauw-haw-haw-huh-huh-huh-huh!
Stan (Stan Laurel): [turning away and calling toward the stairway] Colonel Buckshot!
[a few seconds pass with no answer]
Stan (Stan Laurel): Oh, Ollie – – uh – – Colonel Buckshot!
Stan (Stan Laurel): [speaking to Lord Plumtree and his wife] Wait there.
[He walks several yards to the foot of the stairs, then cups his hand to his mouth and hollers up the stairs]
Stan (Stan Laurel): Colonel BUCKshot … [using his classic shrill whistle]
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): [posing as Colonel Buckshot] What is it, Hives?
Stan (Stan Laurel): [wincing at the derogatory name Hardy has chosen for him] Lord Appletree – – he wants to rent a room.
Lord Leopold Plumtree: No, no, my dear fellow – – “PLUMtree”. “PLUMtree”. Lord Leopold “Plumtree” – – my card. And I wish to rent the entire HOUSE.
[inspects the new card that Lord Plumtree has given him, then absently tosses the first card away]
Lord Leopold Plumtree: [shaking his hand in surprise and pain after the brace holding up the lid of the piano vibrates loose and the lid falls shut and pinches Lord Plumtree’s finger] Oh, I say! I SAY!
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Oh, I beg your pardon, Lord Figtree!
Lord Leopold Plumtree: “PLUMtree!” “PLUMtree”! Lord Leopold “Plumtree”!
[He hands Hardy another card]
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Ah, a thousand pardons – – my mistake!
Stan (Stan Laurel): [as Agnes the Maid] Bedrooms, let’s see, there’s mine and the master’s and the master’s and mine. That’s four.
Lady Plumtree: No no, there’s the master’s then yours. That’s two.
Stan (Stan Laurel): Oh, yeah. Then there’s the nursery.
Lady Plumtree: A nursery? I didn’t know the colonel was married.
Stan (Stan Laurel): Oh, he has that in case of accidents.
Lord Leopold Plumtree: By the way, Colonel, do you have any horses?
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): [posing as Colonel Buckshot] I’m sorry … I shipped all of my horses to my plantation in Kentucky.
Lord Leopold Plumtree: Kentucky? What part of Kentucky do you come from, Colonel?
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): [fondly and grandly] Omaha … dear old Omaha!
Stan (Stan Laurel): I thought Omaha was in Wisconsin.
Lady Plumtree: Agnes, how long have you been here?
Stan (Stan Laurel): [in drag as the maid] About half an hour.
[realizing what she has said]
Stan (Stan Laurel): Oh, heh!
Stan (Stan Laurel): How silly of me! I’m so nervous. Heh, I mean half a year – to be exact, three months!
Lord Leopold Plumtree: [to Stan who is dressed as the maid] Pardon me, are you of any relation to the butler?
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Oh, yes, yes, they’re twins. You see, one was born in Detroit, the other in Mee-a-mee.
Lord Leopold Plumtree: I don’t quite understand.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Oh, that’s all right. Neither do they.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Oh, Agnes – – meet your new master, Lord Flagpole Crabtree.
Lord Leopold Plumtree: PLUMtree … PLUMtree! Lord Leopold PLUMtree! My cahd.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): That’s RIGHT!
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Ahhh … at last I have found it, Lord Appletree!
Lady Plumtree: PLUMtree … PLUMtree! Lord Leopold PLUMtree! Accent on the “LUM”. My cahd.
[He reaches in his pocket for another card, but accidentally takes out three cards at once, which he hands to Hardy]
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): [leafing through the cards and reading them off one-by-one] “Plumtree” … “Plumtree” … “Plumtree” … I am terribly sorry.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Agnes, call me a cab.
Stan (Stan Laurel): Huh?
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Call me a cab.
Stan (Stan Laurel): You’re a cab.
Trivia for Laurel and Hardy’s Another Fine Mess
- Based on a 1908 sketch written by Stan Laurel’s father.
- The main titles for “Another Fine Mess,” one of the team’s earliest sound comedies, is spoken by two pretty girls in movie usher uniforms.
- Lady Plumtree refers to her husband variously as “Leopold,” “Ambrose,” and “Leopold Ambrose” due to two different versions of the script.