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Laughing Gravy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Laughing Gravy
Directed byJames W. Horne
Produced byHal Roach
Written byH. M. Walker
Stan Laurel (uncredited)
StarringStan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Music byLeroy Shield
CinematographyArt Lloyd
Edited byRichard C. Currier
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
November 1931
Running time
20 min. (original release)
31:38 (English)
62:29 (Spanish)
64:45 (French)
CountryUnited States

Laughing Gravy is a 1931 short film comedy starring Laurel and Hardy. It was directed by James W. Horne, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


On a snowy winter's night, Laurel and Hardy try to keep their pet dog 'Laughing Gravy' hidden from their landlord, mostly without success. The landlord eventually orders them to leave, but fate takes a hand.

Stan and Ollie are in bed, when Stan’s hiccups wake up Ollie. Oliver, after suffering in silence for a few moments, wakes up Stan. Stan, in a very clownish way, drinks a glass of water and tries to go back to sleep, only to wake up the dog, whose barking rouses their landlord. The landlord throws the dog out, and Stan decides that he’s going to rescue his dog. Ollie insists on doing it, however, since Stan will wake up the landlord. Ollie succeeds in finding Laughing Gravy, only to be locked out of the building. This basic scenario is repeated several times, resulting in Ollie falling into a frozen barrel of rainwater, locking himself out of the apartment window, climbing down (and destroying) the brick chimney, etc. Eventually, the boys are going to be thrown out of the apartment (after having driven their poor landlord to the point of distraction), when the movie takes a very unexpected turn. Stan receives a letter, informing him that he’s inherited his uncle's fortune on the condition that he breaks off all contact with Oliver Hardy. Stan receives a check for $1000 to seal the deal. At first, Stan doesn’t show Ollie the letter, until Oliver, in a very funny extended scene “guilts” Stan into sharing the letter. With Oliver’s blessing, Stan prepares to leave forever. At the last moment, however, Stan tears up the letter and returns to Oliver. Puffed up, Oliver thinks that Stan gave up the money for him, but Stan tells him that he did it for his dog.

The short film ends with Stan and Ollie about to be thrown out by their landlord, only to get a reprieve. The entire house has been quarantined for two months, and nobody can leave for that time. The suffering landlord, unable to take that, picks up a rifle and walks away. Stan, Ollie and the policeman hear a shot, and the sound of the landlord's body hitting on the floor. The three remove their hats and walk away; the policeman closes the door.


Production notes

Laughing Gravy is a remake of the Laurel and Hardy 1929 silent film Angora Love. Charlie Hall played a tenant in the original; he plays the landlord in the remake. Harry Bernard also played the policeman in Angora Love as he does here. Laughing Gravy was partially remade in 1932 as The Chimp.

The eponymous dog's name is a topical slang reference to liquor, as Prohibition was still in effect in the U.S. when the film was made.

Alternative versions

Laughing Gravy has three versions. A two-reel black-and-white version lasting approximately 20 minutes, a three-reel black-and-white version lasting approximately 30 minutes, and a three-reel colourised version.

There is also a "feature" version joining this film and Be Big!, by a title card stating that Laurel and Hardy were divorced by their wives for what happened and wind up in the dingy rooming house.

The three-reel version was the original one, as Hal Roach had tried to switch to the three-reel format for Laurel & Hardy shorts, starting with The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case. Just after it was completed, MGM asked Roach to limit short films to two reels, and an alternative ending was shot instead. The three-reel version had already been previewed, and a work print was rediscovered in 1985.

The two-reel version and the first two reels of the three-reel version are identical except that the two-reel version ends with the landlord committing suicide when, due to his residence being quarantined, he finds he is unable to evict Stanley and Ollie. In the three-reel version, Stanley receives a telegram just before they are evicted that says he is to inherit a vast fortune, but only if he leaves Ollie behind forever.

Foreign versions

Laughing Gravy was filmed in two extended foreign language versions immediately upon completion of its English incarnation. These foreign versions combined the story of the English original with that of Be Big!, another short from the same year.

Les Carottiers was the extended French version; it replaced Isabelle Keith with Germaine de Neel as Mrs. Hardy and Jean De Briac in Baldwin Cooke's role of "Cookie." The Spanish version, Los Calaveras, featured Linda Loredo as Mrs. Hardy.

Laurel and Hardy delivered their French and Spanish lines phonetically from cue cards in both foreign versions. In the preceding Be Big! Anita Garvin played Mrs. Laurel in all three films; she mouthed her foreign lines phonetically, on-camera but off-mic, while a voice actress just off-camera spoke into a "hot" mic.[1]


  1. ^ Skretvedt, Randy (1996). Laurel & Hardy: Magic Behind the Movies. Beverly Hills, CA: Past Times Publishing. ISBN 0-940410-29-X, p. 211.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 May 2021, at 14:21
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