7.8/10
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Helpmates (1932)

Approved | | Short, Comedy | 23 January 1932 (USA)
Oliver's house is in a shambles after a wild party, and his wife is due home at noon. He calls Stanley to help him fix the place up, and the typical catastrophies ensue. Somehow, however, ... See full summary »

Director:

James Parrott

Writer:

H.M. Walker (dialogue) (as H. M. Walker)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Stan Laurel ... Stan
Oliver Hardy ... Ollie
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Storyline

Oliver's house is in a shambles after a wild party, and his wife is due home at noon. He calls Stanley to help him fix the place up, and the typical catastrophies ensue. Somehow, however, Stanley manages to complete the job by the time Oliver leaves to pick up his wife at the train station. As a finishing touch, Stan decides to start a nice fire in the fireplace, using a can of gasoline to hurry the process along. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s | party | gasoline | fire | rain | See All (38) »

Taglines:

When the cats are away, the mice start looking up telephone numbers

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Helpmates See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)| Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point Stan Laurel gives out a phone number, and it was his own personal number at the time. See more »

Goofs

Ollie throws a flowerpot through the window. It goes sailing through the house, out the opposite window and hits a gardener on the back of the head. However, right before it hits, a hand can be seen throwing the pot directly at him. See more »

Quotes

Ollie: Do you realise that this is the only suit that I've got left? It's enough to make a man burst out crying.
Stan: [Stan starts to cry] Well, I couldn't help it. I was doing the best I could...
Ollie: Shut up and get this mess cleaned up! Do you know that my wife will be home at noon?
Stan: Say, what do you think I am? Cinderella? If I had any sense I'd walk out on you.
Ollie: Well it's a good thing you haven't any sense!
Stan: It certainly is!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: When the cat's away - The mice start looking up telephone numbers - See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1986 Hal Roach released a colorized Version of Helpmates, with 2 scenes deleted. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Endeavour: Cartouche (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The Moon and You
(1930) (uncredited)
Written by Leroy Shield
Played often as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

Good routines with good finish
1 July 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When the cat's away the mice will play. This is true when Mrs Hardy goes out of town and Ollie has a huge party that sees his house a mess and his cash lost on poker games. When a telegram arrives telling Ollie that his wife is due back at noon that day, Ollie turns to Stanley for help tidying the house – that was his first mistake.

Similar in style to many of their other shorts, this film sees the duo's attempts to fix/tidy the house actually results in more damage than existed in the first place. The set up with Ollie addressing himself (but seems like it's the audience) is a little strange but once the film moves into the whole cleaning up business it does get a lot better. Ollie goes flying over a hoover on several occasions and his suit frequent changes grow increasingly amusing. It goes without saying that the degree of mishap that Laurel causes increases throughout the film and the punchline, although not hilarious, is a good conclusion.

In terms of cast Laurel and Hardy pretty much carry this themselves. Payson makes a brief appearance as Mrs Hardy but her role is to be plain and aggressive rather than funny. That said, the film doesn't really need anyone else as the pair do good work. Hardy bears the brunt of the physical work but also does good `to camera' looks. Laurel does his usual shtick but I always think he does a lot of work `off the ball' to use a football term. Because Hardy more often is the focus of the punchline (ie the look or the fall) I always tend to notice him and forget the involvement of Laurel in the set up or enabling the film to move on – that was the case here.

Overall this is an enjoyable short that sees the tried and tested formula of `chores go wrong' used to good effect.


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