A southern country doctor is called on by a visiting circus man to cure his sick elephant. After the doctor heals the grateful beast, the elephant becomes so attached to him that it starts to follow him everywhere. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film was originally developed as a Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy vehicle, but was re-scripted after Stan Laurel, whose contract with Hal Roach had run out, declined to re-sign with the producer. Hardy's contract was still in force, and the team believed that if they waited until it expired, they could re-sign as a team and be in a stronger bargaining position. Ultimately that is what happened. See more »
Zenobia is a mostly entertaining Oliver Hardy vehicle with Harry Langdon in fine support
Since this is Black History Month and I'm reviewing African-Americans on film in mostly chronological order, let's start my review of Zenobia by mentioning three of the players: Stepin Fetchit, Hattie McDaniel, and Philip Hurlic. Stepin (spelled Step'n in the credits) is Zero-the butler. He's quite funny with his talking under his breath about his thoughts every time he gets ordered. Having seen quite a few of his performances now, I have tolerated his presence a bit more because of some of the subtle brightness he brings to his parts. Hattie (whose last name has an 's' added in the credits) brings the same commanding presence that I last saw in Show Boat, which I just watched this morning. And Philip, the kid here that I just saw in The Green Pastures, as Zeke proves to be the most intelligent one in the movie when he recites The Declaration of Independence with the reward being a quarter from Oliver Hardy's character of Dr. Tibbett. They all were fine performances here despite some of the stereotypes they're forced to play. Now, with Hardy briefly split from Stan Laurel (because of the latter's dispute with Hal Roach), he's the carrier of this movie and he does just fine especially in his scenes with Harry Langdon and an elephant, Zenobia, that Langdon-as Professor McCrackle-owns. Those scenes are the most "Laurel and Hardy"-like in the film. Also in fine form were Billie Burke as Hardy's wife, Bessie Tibbett, Olin Howard as Attorney Culpepper, and J. Farrell McDonald, another supporting player from my favorite movie-It's a Wonderful Life (he played the old man whose tree was hit by George Bailey's car), as the Judge. One other note: Jean Parker who plays Hardy's daughter Mary Tibbett here, would later in the year play his potential fiancée in The Flying Deuces which marked Laurel and Hardy's re-teaming. So on that note, I highly recommend Zenobia. Oh, and having just seen the Hall Johnson Choir in The Green Pastures, it's nice hearing them here too.
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