Duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were among the few who successfully navigated the transition from silent to sound comedy, but their silent shorts remain their high-water mark. One of their best—at least available on streaming; Battle of the Century is a masterpiece but nowhere to be found—Big Business from 1929 finds the duo as door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen who call on a chap who really doesn’t want a Christmas tree. Things escalate slowly, and then very quickly, until Laurel and Hardy’s patented mayhem draws the attention of the neighborhood and a police officer. The two specialized in a brand of anarchy only The Muppets could mimic four decades later.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Big Business (1929)
Directed by James W. Horne, Leo McCarey
Produced by Hal Roach
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Charlie Hall, Retta Palmer, Tiny Sandford, Lyle Tayo
MGM, Not rated, Running time 19 minutes, Released April 20, 1929

The above blurb first appeared in Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 44, “Home Viewing: Silent Clowns.”