Anyone who saw Laurel & Hardy’s Big Business in 1929 wouldn’t have been surprised at how adeptly L&H could denude a house. In The Finishing Touch (1928), they try to build a house and can hardly even get it started.
This short subject is not counted as one of their greatest, but it’s full of delightful little touches. The byplay between Stan, Ollie, the local hospital nurse (Dorothy Coburn) who demands quiet, and the poor cop on the beat (Edgar Kennedy) who is forced to make Stan and Ollie acquiesce to the nurse’s wishes. The expert pantomime of Stan Laurel just about every time the camera is on only him. Ollie, trying to carry a load of nails in his mouth and of course swallowing them every time. And the first appearance of the L&H paradoxical proverb, “If you must make a noise, make it quietly.”
The film’s ending was initially to have shown L&H’s truck driving straight through the house, leaving a huge hole through it. But the house collapsed inward before the truck had a chance to plow all the way through. But it’s quite appropriate the way it is, considering that most of Stan and Ollie’s plans collapse upon themselves.