The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case is more of a spoof of the haunted house movie, rather than an actual murder mystery, but the interplay between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy make it all worthwhile. The movie begins with Laurel and Hardy fishing off the end of a pier, when they discover that Stanley’s rich uncle Ebenezer had died, leaving a fortune. However, once Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrive at the mansion for the reading of the will, they learn that Uncle Ebenezer was murdered, and the police detective investigating the murder is keeping Stan and all of the other relatives at the mansion, until the murderer is found.
At this point the movie turns into more of a spoof on the haunted house, complete with fake bat, a skull moving around due to a parrot inside the skull walking, etc. If this sounds like a Three Stooges movie, that’s because it is — or became one. The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case was made in 1930, and the Three Stooges remade it as If a Body Meets a Body in 1945.
Quotes from The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Where were you born?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): I don’t know.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Fancy not knowing where you were born!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Well, I was too young to remember.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Didn’t you once tell me that you had an uncle?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Sure, I’ve got an uncle. Why?
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Now we’re getting somewhere. Is he living?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): No. He fell through a trap door and broke his neck.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Was he building a house?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): No, they were hanging him.
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Three million dollars! Is that as much as a thousand?
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Why, man alive! It’s TWICE as much!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Gee whiz!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): September … October … No wonder.
Trivia about The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case
- This is the first short film in which Oliver Hardy says to Stan Laurel, “Well, here”s another nice mess you”ve gotten me into!”
- Like other early talkies, this film was re-shot in other languages, with casts who spoke the language and Stan & Ollie learning their lines phonetically. In one of the foreign-language versions, but not the English version, the butler is played by Boris Karloff.
The elaborate interior sets built for this short were kept and used for future productions up through some of Hal Roach’s television productions in the 1950s.