Block-Heads (1938)

57-58 mins | Comedy | 19 August 1938

Director:

John Blystone

Cinematographer:

Art Lloyd

Editor:

Bert Jordan

Production Companies:

Hal Roach Studios, Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were Just a Jiffy and Meet the Missus , and it was also referred to in contemporary sources as Blockheads . After the onscreen credits, there is a written statement, signed by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, which reads: "The events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and not our fault!" Block-Heads was the last Laurel and Hardy film made for release by M-G-M/Loew's, Inc. It is also the last film producer Hal Roach made for M-G-M, and although the Var review, among other contemporary sources, speculated that it would be the last Laurel and Hardy picture for Roach, if not the last one altogether, the comedians made A Chump at Oxford and Saps at Sea for Roach in 1939 and 1940 (see below). According to HR news items, after production on Block-Heads was completed, Laurel was on vacation when the ending chase was re-shot, and his double was used during these scenes. HR also reported that in early Aug 1938, Roach terminated Laurel's contract, charging him with "wilful [sic] disregard of his obligations." Roach alleged that Laurel had left on vacation "instead of remaining on call for a remake of the film's ending," and that he had not reported to the studio for "writer conferences on another feature scheduled to get under way Aug 1." Roach then announced his intention to make a film starring Hardy and Harry Langdon. The picture, entitled Zenobia , was ... More Less

The film's working titles were Just a Jiffy and Meet the Missus , and it was also referred to in contemporary sources as Blockheads . After the onscreen credits, there is a written statement, signed by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, which reads: "The events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and not our fault!" Block-Heads was the last Laurel and Hardy film made for release by M-G-M/Loew's, Inc. It is also the last film producer Hal Roach made for M-G-M, and although the Var review, among other contemporary sources, speculated that it would be the last Laurel and Hardy picture for Roach, if not the last one altogether, the comedians made A Chump at Oxford and Saps at Sea for Roach in 1939 and 1940 (see below). According to HR news items, after production on Block-Heads was completed, Laurel was on vacation when the ending chase was re-shot, and his double was used during these scenes. HR also reported that in early Aug 1938, Roach terminated Laurel's contract, charging him with "wilful [sic] disregard of his obligations." Roach alleged that Laurel had left on vacation "instead of remaining on call for a remake of the film's ending," and that he had not reported to the studio for "writer conferences on another feature scheduled to get under way Aug 1." Roach then announced his intention to make a film starring Hardy and Harry Langdon. The picture, entitled Zenobia , was released in 1939. Modern sources note that Laurel sued Roach for unlawfully terminating his contract, and that the case was settled out of court in the spring of 1939. Block-Heads was the last film of director John G. Blystone, who died of a heart attack on 6 Aug 1938. The picture received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.
       Modern sources include Harry Stubbs in the cast and add the additional crew credits: Props Bob Saunders; Double for Stan Laurel Ham Kinsey; Double for Oliver Hardy Charles Phillips; Double for Billy Gilbert Ben Heidelman; and Bass voice-over Billy Bletcher. Modern sources also note that Zeffie Tilbury, who played a dowager, was cut from the finished film. Although George Sorel is listed by the Call Bureau Cast Service as playing the aviator, modern sources credit Jean Del Val. Modern sources also credit Harry Earles as playing the dwarf in the elevator, although Carl Cosisky is credited by the CBCS. For more information on Laurel and Hardy's career together, please See Entry for Pardon Us . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20-Aug-38
---
Daily Variety
1 Jul 38
p. 1.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Aug 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 38
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 38
p. 1, 10
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 38
p. 1, 3
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 38
p. 1, 4
Motion Picture Daily
22 Aug 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Jul 38
p. 50.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Aug 38
p. 47.
New York Times
30 Aug 38
p. 14.
Variety
31 Aug 38
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Pres
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story and scr
Orig story and scr
Orig story and scr
Orig story and scr
Orig story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Photog eff
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Meet the Missus
Just a Jiffy
Release Date:
19 August 1938
Production Date:
1 June--1 July 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 August 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8463
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
57-58
Length(in feet):
5,154
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4482
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In France during World War I, Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel say goodbye as Ollie leaves to fight and Stan stays behind to guard the trench. Twenty years later, Stan is still at his post, unaware that the war has ended, but he is taken back to civilization by an irritated pilot whose plane he shoots down. Meanwhile, back in their hometown, Ollie is having breakfast with his shrewish wife, who is upset that Ollie has forgotten their wedding anniversary. After borrowing her car, Ollie leaves their apartment, stopping to say hello to their neighbor, Mrs. Gilbert, who tells him that her husband will be returning home that day after two months of hunting in Africa. On his way to the elevator, Ollie greets James, the porter, who shows him a newspaper article about a soldier who did not know the war was over. Ollie is amazed that anyone could be so stupid until he recognizes the accompanying photograph of Stan. He then rushes to the National Soldiers Home, where Stan is sitting outside in a wheelchair. The pals are delighted to see each other, although due to the way Stan is sitting Ollie thinks that he has only one leg. Ollie resolves to take Stan with him for a home-cooked meal, and so he carries Stan to the car, where he is astonished to find that Stan does have two legs. After Stan accidentally covers Ollie and the car with a truck load of dirt, they reach the apartment building. Stan is intrigued by the automatic garage door opener, and when Ollie lets him try it, he wrecks the garage and ... +


In France during World War I, Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel say goodbye as Ollie leaves to fight and Stan stays behind to guard the trench. Twenty years later, Stan is still at his post, unaware that the war has ended, but he is taken back to civilization by an irritated pilot whose plane he shoots down. Meanwhile, back in their hometown, Ollie is having breakfast with his shrewish wife, who is upset that Ollie has forgotten their wedding anniversary. After borrowing her car, Ollie leaves their apartment, stopping to say hello to their neighbor, Mrs. Gilbert, who tells him that her husband will be returning home that day after two months of hunting in Africa. On his way to the elevator, Ollie greets James, the porter, who shows him a newspaper article about a soldier who did not know the war was over. Ollie is amazed that anyone could be so stupid until he recognizes the accompanying photograph of Stan. He then rushes to the National Soldiers Home, where Stan is sitting outside in a wheelchair. The pals are delighted to see each other, although due to the way Stan is sitting Ollie thinks that he has only one leg. Ollie resolves to take Stan with him for a home-cooked meal, and so he carries Stan to the car, where he is astonished to find that Stan does have two legs. After Stan accidentally covers Ollie and the car with a truck load of dirt, they reach the apartment building. Stan is intrigued by the automatic garage door opener, and when Ollie lets him try it, he wrecks the garage and the car. Once inside, they discover that the elevator is broken and begin the trudge up to the thirteenth floor. As they are resting, a visiting stranger, Mr. Finn, insults Ollie for blocking his way, and when they go outside to settle the argument, Finn trounces Ollie. Back in the lobby once again, they meet Ollie's old flame Lulu, who tells him that she just sent an intimate note to his apartment. Terrified that Mrs. Hardy will read it, Ollie and Stan run up the stairs and retrieve the note, after which Mrs. Hardy returns from shopping and refuses to cook. She throws a temper tantrum, packs her bags and leaves, after which Ollie and Stan decide to cook for themselves, but they only succeed in blowing up the kitchen. Mrs. Gilbert runs in and says she will help clean up, but Ollie spills a bowl of punch on her and ruins her dress. Because she is locked out of her apartment and Mrs. Hardy did not leave any extra dresses, Mrs. Gilbert wears Ollie's pajamas while her dress dries. Just then, Ollie sees his wife getting off the elevator and panics, ordering Mrs. Gilbert to disguise herself as an armchair in the bedroom. After a shouting match with Mrs. Hardy, Stan and Ollie hide Mrs. Gilbert in a trunk, which they then carry into the living room after announcing that Ollie is leaving home. Mr. Gilbert returns home after buying an elephant gun, is alarmed by the fighting and comes to investigate. When Stan tells Mr. Gilbert that the trouble is over a girl hidden in the trunk, Mr. Gilbert laughs and begins relating his own romantic escapades, unaware that his wife is listening. She jumps out of the trunk, after which Mr. Gilbert assumes the worst, gets his gun and begins chasing the boys. He chases them out of the building, and as he shoots at them on the lawn between the buildings, men jump out of the windows, thinking they, too, are being pursued by jealous husbands. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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