Sunday, 29 November 2015

One Good Turn (1931)

One Good Turn sees Stan and Olly down on their luck, jobless, penniless, with no more possessions than the shirts on their backs and the car they live in. They are, as they put it, “victims of the Depression”, but when a kindly lady offers them a meal, a misunderstanding leads to the pair trying to repay her kindness. However, this being a Laurel and Hardy film, things do not go to plan, and once again we see the truth of the old adage that “no good deed goes unpunished”.

One Good Turn has all of the elements of a solid Laurel and Hardy talkie film. We get Stan's well-meaning stupidity (setting fire to their tent and put it out one cup of water at a time), Olly turning on the Southern charm to get them fed, bickering and friendship between the two, their arch nemesis James Finlayson, escalating tit for tat slapstick (this time at the dinner table) and damage of other people's property.

It is this final element that gives One Good Turn a destructive and slightly jarring (albeit memorable) climax, as mild mannered Stan turns on Olly, after a barrage of wrong accusations as to his integrity. The red mist descends to the extent that Stan takes an axe to the woodshed of their hosts, while Olly cowers inside.

One Good Turn(B&W) 1931 - Laurel & Hardy by herbert-hueller