Silent Sunday: Big Business (1929)

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“The story of a man who turned the other cheek-and got punched in the nose.”

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are Christmas tree salesmen in California. Business is slow and a simple argument with one grumpy prospective customer (James Finlayson) escalates from a simple argument into full scale mutual destruction with Stan & Ollie destroying the customer’s house and garden, whilst Finlayson reduces their car to scrap metal, all under the disbelieving gaze of a police officer and an assembled crowd.

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A Christmas short with little in the way of Christmas spirit.  The film is mean-spirited, but outrageously funny.  Not only one of Laurel and Hardy’s final silents, but one of their best overall films.  The duo were nearing the peak of their creativity (1928-1940 being what I consider their unparalleled peak).  Starting with “We Faw Down” and ending with “Saps at Sea”.

The film features the under-rated and vastly under-appreciated James Finlayson, a regular Laurel and Hardy foil and sometime Charley Chase foil.

Big Business (1929) film

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