Their Purple Moment (1928)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Short  |  19 May 1928 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 444 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 2 critic

Stan and Ollie hold out money from their paychecks from their shrewish wives so they can enjoy a night out on the town... with predictable results.


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Complete credited cast:
Mr. Pincher
Anita Garvin ...
Oliver's girlfriend
Kay Deslys ...
Mr. Pincher's girlfriend
Fay Holderness ...
Mrs. Pincher
Tiny Sandford ...
Waiter (as S.J. Sandford)
Lyle Tayo ...
Leo Willis ...
Cab driver


Stanley and Oliver sneak out for a night on the town, unaware that Mrs. Laurel has substituted her grocery coupons for Stanley's secret stash of mad money. Of course, this results in dire consequences when the boys run up a huge tab treating a couple of girls to dinner at a snazzy nightclub. Written by Paul Penna <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 May 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harhateillä  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The troupe of midgets hired for a deleted scene in the film came from the Al G. Barnes Circus, which was wintering in Los Angeles, at the time. They were paid $50 a day. See more »


  • She found my hideout! - She's a bloodhound!...

Mr. Pincher:
  • My wife'll never find mine! - I'm a weasel!...

See more »


Featured in Silent Clowns: Laurel and Hardy (2006) See more »


Ain't She Sweet
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Instrumental version in restoration background music
See more »

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User Reviews

A great build-up . . . to a big let-down
17 March 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

For about three-fourths of the way, Their Purple Moment is a sharp, funny Laurel & Hardy comedy, albeit one with a distinctly sour take on married life. This is the first of the L&H domestic comedies, and sets the tone for much of what would follow: Stan and Ollie are each at the mercy of their domineering wives, a pair of hard-bitten shrews who treat them like children, promptly appropriate their paychecks, and deny them any pleasures. (Later on the wives would usually be more nuanced, sometimes even sympathetic, but in this early film they're quite mean.) In what would become a standard plot for the team, this film tells the sad story of what happens when the boys attempt to fool their spouses. Of course, the only question is just how disastrously the situation is going to backfire.

Here, Stan and Ollie tell the wives they're going bowling, then defiantly set out on a spree, under the delusion they've got lots of cash on hand. So when they encounter two attractive young ladies in distress, stuck with a bill they can't pay, naturally, they step in and gallantly offer to treat them to dinner. And it's all downhill from there!

The situation the boys blunder into is a well-constructed comic nightmare that steadily builds in intensity, and the sequence is genuinely suspenseful -- right up to the food-fight finale, which is such a fizzle it practically ruins the whole show. This is surprising, considering that, according to the various books on the team, a much more offbeat and imaginative ending was planned and filmed, but then jettisoned. The original finale utilized the midget troupe of entertainers who perform a floor show in the restaurant. In the earlier version, when the boys discover they have no money to pay their bill, they were to escape by disguising themselves as midgets -- midget women, at that -- and slip away with the troupe. The idea flirts with tastelessness, but it sure seems funnier and more memorable than the finale as it stands now.

Oh well. There are good reasons to watch and enjoy Their Purple Moment nonetheless, among them the famous gag of the uncle's portrait with the hidden pocket, the spirited performance of Patsy O'Byrne as the town gossip, and the always welcome presence of Anita Garvin, here playing a good-time gal who packs a knife. There's also a priceless close-up of Stan, when it dawns on him that he has no money to cover the ever-growing tab: in an extended shot he displays a remarkable range of expressions, from horror to befuddlement, to hope and despair and back again. He was the greatest!

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