Now I'll Tell One (1927)


Produced by Hal Roach
Directed by James Parrott

Featuring Charley Chase, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Edna Marion, Lincoln Plummer, May Wallace,
Wilson Benge, Will R. Walling


NOW I'LL TELL ONE (1927) is a silent Hal Roach Studios two-reel comedy starring Charley Chase, directed by his brother, James Parrott. Distribution was handled through Pathe Exchange. No one knew until 1990 that both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy had supporting roles in this film, at the time making it a newly-discovered L&H title, number 106 in their filmography. The pair has no scenes together, however. The larger supporting role is turned in by Laurel. I do have some of the production documents, including a detailed seven page, tissue-carbon shooting script (which had been assigned to story editor and title writer H.M. Walker) in which the role of Chase's lawyer, the fourth of four key roles described at the script's outset, had been tentatively cast with a short actor Chase often liked to use named Jerry Mandy (he is the convict who can't add in PARDON US). But at some point Mandy's typed name had been crossed out on the script, and the name of Stan Laurel was penciled in. Laurel's role as another energetic attorney with slicked-down hair in SUGAR DADDIES only a few months later probably arose out of his performance in NOW I'LL TELL ONE. Hardy has the smaller role, playing an inconsequential policeman. Most of the surviving action takes place in a divorce court. That's the story: Chase is getting a divorce. The only physical film material in the world on this subject (a worn, incomplete 35mm exhibition print consisting of only the second of the two reels) was located at the National Film Archive in London in 1990. Also in the cast are Edna Marion (as quarrelsome Mrs. Chase), Lincoln Plummer, May Wallace, Wilson Benge, and Will R. Walling. There was subsequently a Chase sound two-reeler made at Hal Roach Studios with the similar title of NOW WE'LL TELL ONE, distributed by M-G-M, but which is a science fiction story and not a remake, plus neither Laurel nor Hardy appears.

Here is a positive review for NOW I'LL TELL ONE which ran in the October 29, 1927 issue of the Hollywood trade paper MOVING PICTURE WORLD: "Charlie (sic) and Edna are happily married. One quarrel leads to a divorce court where, egged on by a vamping judge, Edna makes up a wild series of yarns as to how he was cruel, got drunk, abused her, etc. Each of these is pictured and cleverly travestied and in addition there are some original comedy bits introduced in the courtroom procedure and the absurd antics of Charlie's lawyer, portrayed by Stan Laurel."

--Richard W. Bann--