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The Big Noise (1944)

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During World War II Stan and Ollie find themselves as improbable bodyguards to an eccentric inventor and his strategically important new bomb.


(as Mal St. Clair)


(screen play by)
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Title: The Big Noise (1944)

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the hospital with a broken leg Ollie is visited by Stan, who brings him hard-boiled eggs, nuts, and total mayhem.

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Stan and Ollie give evidence which convicts vicious gangster Butch. They plan to leave town and advertise for a traveling companion to share expenses. Butch's girl replies to the advert and... See full summary »

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Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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Stan fakes receiving a telegram so he can go to a club with Ollie and a bottle of his unsuspecting wife's liquor, but she overhears his plans.

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Pursued by forest rangers who want to press them into fire-fighting duty, Stanley and Oliver hide in the home of a big-game hunter who has just left town. When they find out that the ... See full summary »

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Complete credited cast:
Doris Merrick ...
Arthur Space ...
Veda Ann Borg ...
Mayme Charlton
Egbert Hartley (as Bobby Blake)
Frank Fenton ...
James Bush ...


Although they are only janitors at a detective agency, the boys pass themselves off as sleuths and are engaged to guard an inventor delivering a new bomb. They outwit enemy agents after the bomb and wind up sinking a Japanese submarine. Written by Herman Seifer <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


DANGER! YOU'LL LAUGH YOURSELF TO DEATH! (original poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

October 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Bomba  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Working title was "Good Neighbors." See more »


When the duo are in the hi-tech bedroom, and Ollie rides the bed back out of the wall, the following sequences show that the rotating table is first clear, then has the pipe and magnifying glass back on it, then is clear again, and then has the chairs re-arranged. See more »


Oliver: What a beautiful picture.
Alva P. Hartley: Yes, that cost a lot of money. It's a Vandyke.
Stanley: A what?
Alva P. Hartley: A Vandyke. You know what a Vandyke is.
Stanley: Oh, yeah. My uncle had one, but he had to have it shaved off.
Oliver: Shh!
Stanley: What?
Oliver: Vandyke was a painter, not a beard.
See more »


References Berth Marks (1929) See more »


The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze
(1868) (uncredited)
Music by Gaston Lyle
In the score when Stanley and Oliver parachute
See more »

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User Reviews

Maisie - Doats
11 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the Medved Brothers' usually on target book, THE 50 WORST FILMS OF ALL TIME, THE BIG NOISE is given a degree of prominence as the worst of Laurel & Hardy's films. John McCabe dismissed it in his MR. LAUREL AND MR. HARDY by saying the plot of the film can be described in one sentence - the boys are assigned to deliver a bomb and do so. Yet a number of people have also supported it as one of their cutest, if not funniest movies.

When L & H left Roach in 1941, they had planned to do a production of the Victor Herbert's THE RED MILL as their next movie after SAPS AT SEA. They probably were picking up on their success in operetta films (BABES IN TOYLAND, THE BOHEMIAN GIRL, THE DEVIL'S BROTHER, even SWISS MISS) as a sure fire way of showcasing their humor. I have often thought about this project. No doubt the roles of Kid Connor and Con Kidder that David Montgomery and Fred Stone had originated would have been redone by the screenplay writer (with advise from Stan) to fit the person-as of Stan and Ollie. But by 1941 the cycle of films in Hollywood which were based on operettas had slowly collapsed (the last major ones were Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald's BITTERSWEET, as well as Eddy and Rise Stevens' THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER). Shows based on current stage hits were more likely to be made into films (the next and last Eddy and MacDonald film would I MARRIED AN ANGEL, based on the Rodgers and Hart stage musical). It seems doubtful that any of the studios would have been willing to finance a production of a 1905 operetta hit, whose major big-time number was "In Old New York".

Yet that was what Stan was proposing (and Ollie would have supported him on that). William Everson has suggested that actually, by 1941, the boys were tired, and needed more time to rejuvenate their material. I end up feeling that this is true. The best of the later films, JITTERBUGS, has some nice moments (Hardy romancing Lee Patrick, and shepherding around Stan in drag as an old lady), and includes some rejuvenated material at the conclusion of the film from Alice Faye's movie, SALLY, IRENE AND MARY, but (as John McCabe suggested) it's plot does not make any sense (particularly as Bob Bailey's character, a major one in the plot, seems good natured one moment and opportunistic and crooked the next).

THE BIG NOISE does have a straightforward plot, tied in with the current war effort. Arthur Space is one of those screwy scientist/inventors who crop up in many comedies of the 1920s to 1930s. He has invented food pills that replaced full course meals, and has an impossible push button modern house (after the 1939 - 40 New York Worlds Fair "push button" future space saving homes become a perennial joke in comedies - and a weak one at that - see the Marx Brothers contemporary film THE BIG STORE and the ethnic children in the disappearing beds scene).

Space has, however, designed a new secret weapon - a highly powerful bomb. This is the "Big Noise" of the title. The government is testing it with the intention of using it against the Axis, but their agents are planning to steal it to use against us (shades of Lionel Atwill as Moriarty in SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON). In need of guards for his weapons, Space hires L & H thinking they are detectives (they are janitors in a detective school).

In reality the interplay of L & H with Space, Robert Blake (then Bobbie Blake), Esther Howard (who shows a sexual interest in Hardy - quite unusual for him, and very unsettling to him), and the cast is actually quite good. The result is that the material, even if reused from earlier films (the bit from BERTH MARKS about changing in the upper berth of a train) is quite well done. And since the film is actually keeping a coherent story for a change (as opposed to JITTERBUGS) the film is more than just tolerable.

It is also nice to see that it did introduce one popular tune to movies: the tongue-twister tune, "Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivory", which is called "Maisey Doats" or "Maizy Doats" for short. Stan supposedly plays it on his accordion in the film.

A nice movie, possibly the boys' last good comedy.

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