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Love Em' and Weep 1927

Filmed 26th November 1926 to 13th January 1927, Released 12th June 1927, 2 Reels

Produced Hal Roach, Directed Fred Guiol, Photographed by Floyd Jackman

Main Cast: Mae Busch, James Finlayson, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall, Charlotte Mineau, Vivien Oakland

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In keeping with the All-Star series formula, a notable actress from the silver screen was brought in to headline Love ‘Em and Weep. However, unlike Madeline Hurlock and Priscilla Dean, who had gone before, this latest acquisition would become a firm favourite with Laurel and Hardy fans. The actress in question was Mae Busch. She became a much-valued member of the Laurel and Hardy Stock Company, appearing with the boys in over a dozen pictures during her career. This was Busch’s first picture for the Hal Roach studio, and she gives a typically excellent performance playing the role of a devious diva, a real no-nonsense dame. 

Despite Stan and Babe not taking the lead roles again, there is still something satisfyingly familiar about Love ‘Em and Weep for Laurel and Hardy fans. Joining Mae Busch in the film’s second lead role was the unmistakable, larger-than-life presence of Scottish-born James Finlayson. Another element that adds to the familiar feel of the picture is the first appearance with the boys of Birmingham-born Charlie Hall. Hall appeared in forty-seven comedies with Laurel and Hardy, more than any other supporting actor.

As Glenn Mitchell points out, the main point of interest for fans today, offered by Love ‘Em and Weep, is not only its status as the blueprint for the 1931 talkie short Chickens Come Home but also as the prototype for an “entire Laurel & Hardy sub-genre”. Mitchell suggests that nearly all the “ingredients for their depiction of women can be traced to this film, be they wives, gossips or less respectable types”. 

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In Love ‘Em and Weep, Finlayson plays the part of the wealthy (and married) businessman Titus Tillsbury. Tillsbury enrols the somewhat reluctant help of employee Romaine Ricketts (Stan) to deal with an old flame (Busch), who has suddenly reappeared at Tillsbury’s office with an incriminating photo of them taken years ago. 

Using the photo to blackmail Finlayson, Mae Busch agrees to sell the image that evening over dinner at a nightclub called The Pink Pup. All is set until Finlayson’s wife unexpectedly appears at the office. Busch is forced to hide in Finlayson’s en-suite bathroom, which his wife, played by Charlotte Mineau, needs to use. It becomes very stressful for Tillsbury as his wife stands washing her hands, with his old flame turned blackmailer, standing just inches away, hidden behind a towel.

Fortunately for Finlayson, his wife is none-the-wiser, and she departs, but not before informing her husband that they are to host a dinner party that same evening for some very distinguished guests. Aware that he would be unable to get out of this engagement, Stan is instructed to take Finlayson’s place at dinner, with firm instructions to keep Busch away at all costs.

Upon arriving at The Pink Pup, Stan is naturally very nervous. He is, after all, out on the town with a formidable and conniving woman who does not appear to suffer fools gladly. To make matters worse, this is all happening behind his own wife’s back! 

Whilst attempting to appease his boss’s blackmailer, Stan is spotted by none other than the neighbourhood gossip. He immediately realises that word will soon reach his wife. Busch’s patience wears thin, and Stan is powerless to prevent her from storming over to the dinner party at the Tillsbury residence.


Naturally, chaos ensues on her arrival at the party, at which a thickly moustachioed Babe Hardy, playing the part of dinner guest Judge Chigger is in attendance. 

Babe’s part is restricted merely to being an amused witness to the scenes of mayhem, and sadly, there is no sign of the familiar Ollie character in this film. Stan, on the other hand, seems to be starting to hone his character, building on the previous two films. His main characteristics are his slow-witted innocence, and he displays what would become his trademark cry on several occasions.

The finale sees Finlayson introduce Mae as Mrs Ricketts (i.e. Stan’s wife). Whilst his wife is in another room, desperate Finlayson pulls a gun on Busch, causing her to faint. Then, to smuggle her out of the house, Stan sits the unconscious Mae on Finlayson’s back. He covers the doubled-over Scot with a long coat, attempting to leave the house casually. However, nobody is fooled, and the game is up when the tottering Finlayson/Busch tower collapses in a heap, in full view of Finlayson’s wife, just as Stan’s wife arrives in a taxi. The film fades as the wives start to wreak all kinds of havoc on their husbands.   

Love ‘Em and Weep is a reasonably entertaining picture, with Laurel and Finlayson working well together, and Mae Busch is characteristically brilliant and highly effective as the treacherous gold-digger. Today the film gets pretty overlooked due to being overshadowed by the later remake. 


Following its domestic release on 12th June 1927, Love ‘Em and Weep was received relatively warmly.


This article has been extracted and adapted for the website from the future book ‘Laurel & Hardy: Silents’.

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