Film seriesLaurel and Hardy Series WriterH.M. Walker (titles)
CastStan Laurel (Stan), Oliver Hardy (Ollie), James Finlayson (Homeowner), Tiny Sandford (Policeman) LanguageSilent film
English (Original intertitles) DirectorJames W. Horne
Leo McCarey Release dateApril 20, 1929 (1929-04-20) DirectorsLeo McCarey, James W. Horne Similar moviesPacific Rim, The Artist, Boundin', Presto, Feast, Tugboat Mickey
TaglineThe story of a man who turned the other cheek-and got punched in the nose.
Big Business is a 1929 silent Laurel and Hardy comedy short subject directed by James W. Horne and supervised by Leo McCarey from a McCarey (uncredited) and H. M. Walker script. The film, largely about tit-for-tat vandalism between Laurel and Hardy as Christmas tree salesmen and the man who rejects them, was deemed culturally significant and entered into the National Film Registry in 1992.
Stan and Ollie play door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen in California. They end up getting into an escalating feud with grumpy would-be customer James Finlayson. He, goaded by their repeated attempts to sell him a Christmas tree, destroys it with hedge-clippers. Laurel & Hardy retaliate by damaging the man's doorframe. He then goes to work on their clothes and this escalates with his home and their car being destroyed in the melee (after Finlayson has run out of Christmas trees to mangle). A police officer (Tiny Sandford) steps in to stop the fight (after vases are thrown out & smashed, and one hits him on the foot) and negotiates a peaceful resolution. Stan and Ollie give the homeowner a cigar as a peace offering. However, as the pair make their escape, the trick cigar promptly explodes in his face.
Producer Hal Roach bought a house at 10281 Dunleer Drive, Cheviot Hills, Los Angeles from a studio worker so he could destroy it in the film. According to Roach, the cast and crew demolished the house next door instead by accident during filming, but Stan Laurel said this was a fabrication.