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Big Business (1929)

 -  Short | Comedy | Family  -  20 April 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,834 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 7 critic

Ollie and Stanley are two Christmas Tree sales reps who get into one of their usual mutual destruction fights with a homeowner.


(as J. Wesley Horne) ,


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Complete credited cast:


Stan and Ollie 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 customers house and garden, whilst Finlayson reduces their car to scrap metal, all under the disbelieving gaze of a police officer and an assembled crowd. Written by Steve Smith

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Short | Comedy | Family


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Release Date:

20 April 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das große Geschäft  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Hal Roach bought a house and its contents from a man, and sent him on his way in his Model T. When it came time to film this short, Roach arrived on location late in the afternoon and found that the actors and crew had actually destroyed the house next door. See more »


[opening title board]
Narrator: The story of a man who turned the other cheek - and got punched in the nose.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

The smell of burning Model T in the morning
12 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As an avowed Laurel and Hardy fan, I must say that Big Business falls into a special category all its own. I find the simple, deliberate nature of it immensely appealing. There is something downright innocent about the long-lost freshness of those semi-developed streets of Culver City and environs on that sunny December morning in ‘28 and they add a quality of mise-en-scene which was surely never foreseen back then. The snowballing reciprocal destruction starts innocently enough: an errant branch of Christmas tree--that symbol of peace and goodwill to men--gets caught in Jimmy Finlayson's front door once too often…and ends up with extensive property damage on both sides. But each step in the progressively destructive game is almost reasonable…its just when one contrasts point A with point Z that the absurdity, and the comedy, of the situation is so apparent. Produced on the cusp of the talkies, Big Business is also a sort of frantic paean to a lost art. And, in a strange way, unlike so many of their other films, Stan and Ollie are triumphant as they run from officer Tiny Sanford into the fade out. For as Jimmy lights up his exploding cigar, they are the ones lucky enough to have gotten in their last licks. In spite of losing the battle, they have won the war. One can almost smell the fragrance of pine needles intermingling with the stench of burning Model T…

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