|ZENOBIA (ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET) (director: Gordon Douglas; screenwriter: Corey Ford/story by Walter De Leon & Arnold Belgard; cinematographer: Karl Struss; editor: Bert Jordan; music: Marvin Hatley; cast: Oliver Hardy (Dr. Henry Tibbett), Billie Burke (Bessie Tibbett), Stepin Fetchitt (Zero), Hattie McDaniel (Dehlia), Harry Langdon (Professor McCrackle), Jean Parker (Mary Tibbett), Alice Brady (Mrs. Carter), James Ellison (Jeffrey Carter), June Lang (Virginia), J. Farrell MacDonald (Judge), Olin Howland (Lawyer), Phillip Hurlic (Zeke); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: A.E. Sutherland; United Artists; 1939)|
|"A very funny comedy and Hardy
by Dennis Schwartz
only film Oliver Hardy performed without Stan Laurel.
It came about due to a festering dispute
between Stan Laurel and Hal Roach. The b/w film
titled after an elephant, is a very funny comedy and
Hardy excels. Though it bombed at the box office.
Gordon Douglas ("In Like Flint"/"Them!"/"Rio
Conchos") directs with a flare for zany comedy. Corey
Ford bases the screenplay from a story by
Walter De Leon & Arnold Belgard.
set in 1870, in the small-town of Carterville,
Mississippi, where Dr. Henry Tibbett (Oliver Hardy) is
a big-hearted struggling country doctor, who turns
away patients who are hypochondriacs even
if they are rich like Mrs. Carter (Alice Brady).
She's a snobbish dowager. The town is named after her
renown political family. When her gentle son Jeff (James
Ellison) wants to marry the
doctor's sweet daughter Mary (Jean Parker), mom
objects as she wants her son to marry someone wealthy
from the upper-class.
carnival barker Professor
McCrackle (Harry Langdon)
comes to town and his pampered elephant named Zenobia
gets sick, and Dr. Tibbett treats her. The elephant
shows the doctor she's grateful and embarrasses him by
following him everywhere. The snarky Mrs. Carter
convinces the carny to sue Tibbett over his treatment
and the case goes to court. When Jeff shows he's a man
and tells mom off, she relents. The couple marry and
the elephant gives birth.
Love it or hate it for stereotyping blacks, nevertheless Stepin Fetchitt steals the pic with his usual slow-witted antics. Also a riot is Billie Burke, doing her usual zany bit as Hardy's daffy wife.
REVIEWED ON 6/18/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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