Helpmates Director: James Parrot (1932)
Helpmates is an amusing early Laurel and Hardy film lasting just over 21 minutes. It was released by MGM and tells the story of Ollie, a chubby married man, who throws a large house party while his wife is away on vacation. He receives a telegram from his wife stating she will return home early and he calls his friend Stan over to help cleanup.
The plot is simple and the efforts to clean the house are ruined when Stan stains Ollie’s only suit with soot right before he picks his wife up from the train station. While Ollie leaves for the train station, Stan returns the entire house to its former cleanliness. He then lights a fire in the fireplace that accidentally ignites the whole house and burns it down. Ollie returns home without his wife and with a black eye to find his house ruined. The film ends as it starts raining.
Helpmates is a decent film, however it could easily be removed from a list of great films. It is often considered one of Laurel and Hardy’s best movies, even if the comedy has not lasted to the extent that a film by Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin has.