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Big Business (1929 film)

Big Business
L&H Big Business 1929.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames W. Horne
Leo McCarey
Written byH.M. Walker (titles)
Produced byHal Roach
StarringStan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Jimmy Finlayson
Tiny Sandford
Charlie Hall
Lyle Tayo
Edited byRichard C. Currier (as Richard Currier)
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 20, 1929 (1929-04-20)
Running time
19 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguagesSilent film
English (Original intertitles)

Big Business is a 1929 silent Laurel and Hardy comedy short subject directed by James W. Horne and supervised by Leo McCarey from a McCarey (uncredited) and H. M. Walker script. The film, largely about tit-for-tat vandalism between Laurel and Hardy as Christmas tree salesmen and the man who rejects them, was deemed culturally significant and entered into the National Film Registry in 1992.[1]


Stan and Ollie play door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen in California. They end up getting into an escalating feud with grumpy would-be customer James Finlayson. Goaded by their repeated attempts to sell him a Christmas tree, he destroys it with hedge-clippers. Laurel and Hardy retaliate by damaging the man's doorframe with a knife. Finlayson then goes to work on their clothes, and this escalates, with his home and their car being destroyed in the melee (after Finlayson has run out of Christmas trees to mangle). A police officer (Tiny Sandford) steps in to stop the fight (after vases are thrown out and smashed, and one hits him on the foot) and negotiates a peaceful resolution. Stan and Ollie give the homeowner a cigar as a peace offering. However, as the pair make their escape and the homeowner happily lights the gratis smoking-device, it is revealed to be a "trick" cigar rigged with a hidden powder-charge, which promptly explodes in his face.


Producer Hal Roach bought a vacant house at 10281 Dunleer Drive, Cheviot Hills, Los Angeles from a studio worker so he could destroy it in the film.[2] According to Roach, a mistake was made regarding the address, and the cast and crew demolished the wrong house. The owners of that home happened to be away on vacation and returned just as filming was being completed. Stan Laurel later said that Roach's story was a fabrication.[3] However, Roach, at age 100, repeated the story as factual in a 1992 televised interview conducted by guest host Jay Leno on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[4]


See also


Salesmen Stan and Ollie with Christmas trees in the back of their Model T Ford
Salesmen Stan and Ollie with Christmas trees in the back of their Model T Ford
  1. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  2. ^ Fleming, E. J. (2010). The Movieland Directory: Nearly 30,000 Addresses of Celebrity Homes, Film Locations and Historical Sites in the Los Angeles Area, 1900-Present. McFarland. p. 131. ISBN 9780786443376. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Skretvedt, Randy (1987). Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies. Moonstone Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-940410-78-8.
  4. ^ "Jay Leno chats to 100 year old Laurel & Hardy Producer Hal Roach—1992", video, full interview of Hal Roach by guest host Jay Leno on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, originally aired January 28, 1992; uploaded by Laurel and Hardy Forum, June 24, 1914 on YouTube, San Bruno, California. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
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Big Business (1929 film)
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