Zenobia (1939)
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Zenobia (1939)

Regular price $9.99
With comedian Stan Laurel temporarily off his payroll due to a contract dispute, Hal Roach put together a solo starring vehicle for Laurel's longtime partner Oliver Hardy. Digging into his files, Roach pulled out Zenobia's Infidelity, an H.C. Bunner story originally purchased as a vehicle for Roland Young. Hardy was cast in the semi-serious role of John Tibbitt, a 19th century Mississippi doctor whose heart is bigger than his bank account. At the insistence of travelling carnival man Professor McCrackle (played by Harry Langdon) Tibbitt tends to the Professor's ailing elephant, Miss Zenobia. Once cured, the precious pachyderm refuses to leave Dr. Tibbitt's side-whereupon McCrackle sues the doctor for alienation of Zenobia's affections! The ensuing scandal plays right into the hands of Mrs. Carter (Alice Brady), the town's richest and snobbiest woman, who has long opposed the romance between her son John (James Ellison) and Tibbitt's daughter Mary (Jean Parker). All problems are resolved during the climactic courtroom trial, despite occasional interruptions by Miss Zenobia and the dizzy interpolations of Tibbitt's wife (Billie Burke). The film's intended highlight, the recitation of the Declaration of Independence by black child Philip Hurlic, was obviously inspired by Charles Laughton's "Gettysburg Address" scene in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935). the quietly subdued performance by Oliver Hardy is very good indeed.

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