Chickens Come Home
|Chickens Come Home|
UK title card
|Directed by||James W. Horne|
|Produced by||Hal Roach|
|Written by||Hal Roach (story)|
H.M. Walker (dialogue)
|Music by||Marvin Hatley|
|Editing by||Richard C. Currier|
|Release date(s)||February 21, 1931|
|Running time||30' 26" (English)|
56' 11" (Spanish)
PlotOllie is living a perfect life: a lovely wife, a beautiful mansion complete with a butler, even his own manure dealership—with a mayoral nomination not far behind. Ollie calls on Stan (who was in the sample room, holding a flyswatter) to transcribe an acceptance speech. Enter an old flame (Mae Busch), aiming to take advantage of Ollie's situation: blackmail Ollie into giving her hush money, or else present to the press a scandalous picture of her and Ollie, a picture taken during his "gilded youth...my primrose days...before I was married." Ollie's plans of reaching a final settlement with the woman are scuppered when his wife (Thelma Todd) enters: They are to have an important dinner party with a judge and his wife the same time Ollie is to meet the woman to discuss terms. Ollie then enlists Stan to go over to the woman's apartment and stall her until Ollie can get there.
Stan enters the old flame's house that night. The woman, displeased about being tricked, calls Ollie on
Meanwhile, Ollie is thinking of a way to get out of the house. In one instance, he feigns running out of cigars. As he is about to go to the store, the butler (Jimmy Finlayson) enters with a fresh box. This good deed is met with an ungrateful kick in the shin by Ollie, although the butler is paid off to keep mum. All of Ollie's attempts fail to work, and the old flame eventually arrives (with Stan on her trail). Ollie tries to pass her off as Mrs. Laurel to avoid suspicion by Mrs. Hardy. As soon as Stan, Ollie, and the woman are alone, Ollie produces a gun, threatening to kill the woman and then himself, causing her to faint.
The boys attempt to get her out before Mrs. Hardy returns. They strike upon a plan: Mrs. Hardy returns to see Stan take "Mrs. Laurel" home (actually, Ollie carrying the woman on his back while his head is concealed with her coat). Stan whimpers when he sees the real Mrs. Laurel ringing the doorbell, and the two of them race back to the den to switch positions. Mr. Hardy tries taking the woman out, but the wives are not fooled, and Mrs. Laurel, bearing a hatchet, chases after her husband.
Spanish versionA Spanish language version of this film was completely re-shot with the stars delivering their lines in phonetic Spanish. It was expanded to one hour by adding scenes of Abraham J. Cantu, a magician and of vaudeville regurgitator, Hadji Ali, performing at the Hardy dinner party. Titled Politiquerias, the film was released in Latin American and Spanish markets as a feature.
Joining headliners Laurel and Hardy was a supporting cast of native Spanish speakers: Linda Loredo played Mrs. Hardy, Carmen Granada was Mrs. Laurel and Rina De Liguro was the burr under everyone's saddle in the Mae Busch role. James Finlayson absorbed the abuse — and more — of the magician and the regurgitator in the added scenes, reprising his role as the Hardy butler.
CHICKENS COME HOME would be the last short subject Thelma Todd would make with Laurel and Hardy. She was about to begin her own series at the Roach studio with Zasu Pitts and would only make one other non-series two-reeler there after that, THE NICKEL NURSER with Charley Chase. But she would work again with Laurel and Hardy in the features THE DEVIL'S BROTHER and THE BOHEMIAN GIRL.
According to Randy Skretvedt, Thelma Todd was originally slated to play the "other woman"in this film, but the part eventually went to former silent movie vamp Mae Busch
and Thelma Todd played Hardy's wife instead. Thelma Todd wears an ear ring only in her left ear in this film, something I hadn't remembered that is remarked upon at the "Lord Heath" site.
The Spanish Language version has Hadji Ali, a "regurgitator", in it. A regurgitator swallows and regurgitates things as part of his act, or pretends to. Sometimes it's actually done by sleight-of-hand. Houdini was a regurgitator and there was a story that he regurgitated the picks he used to open locks after having been searched to make sure he didn't have anything of the kind on him.
Laurel and Hardy in another fine big business.
"They laughed when I sat down at the piano, or at least they did when we came to the next joke."
CHICKENS COME HOME:
Laurel And Hardy: