GenreComedy, Short ScreenplayHal Roach, H. M. Walker CountryUnited States
English (Original intertitles) Release dateFebruary 12, 1928 (1928-02-12) WriterHal Roach (story), H.M. Walker (titles) CastStan Laurel (Little Twinkle Star), Oliver Hardy (Mighty Giant), James Finlayson (Saxophonus), Edna Marion (Cavewoman), Dorothy Coburn (Gorgeous Wrestler), Viola Richard (Blushing Rose) Similar moviesPacific Rim, Feast, Paperman, The Artist, Hic-cup Pup, Mickey and the Seal
Flying Elephants is a two-reel silent film from 1928 directed by Frank Butler and produced by Hal Roach. It stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as a pair of battling cavemen.
The film takes place in the Stone Age, where the King of the cave people declares that all the males between 13 and 99 years of age must find a female mate or face banishment. Hardy starts looking for a wife and in the scene it says "anyones will do" but is constantly clubbed on the head by the annoyed "husbands" Eventually Hardy finds an available girl but doesn't realize that Laurel, with whom he has become friends, is already intending to marry this girl.
As both Laurel and Hardy pursue the same girl, this eventually leads to several contests to win the affections of the young bride-to-be. In the end, Laurel leads Hardy to the top of a mountain with the intention of pushing his rival to his death. His plan ends up failing, until an angry goat rams Hardy over the cliff, allowing Laurel to go claim the girl.
Production and distribution
Although released in February 1928, Flying Elephants was actually filmed back in May 1927, before the duo were established as the world-famous comedy team. As a result, the film lacks the Laurel and Hardy trademarks and consists mostly of solo performances by the two comedians.
Taking place entirely outdoors, the rocky desert locations were photographed in Moapa, Nevada. Some of these locations would later be used in 1940 for Hal Roach's more serious prehistoric film One Million B.C..
The somewhat irrelevant title refers to a quick scene where Oliver Hardy's character points out three animated pachyderms flying up above in the sky. This animated sequence may be the work of Walter Lantz of future Woody Woodpecker fame or possibly Roy Seawright, who was head of the Hal Roach animation department.