“I’d rather do something for somebody that needs a doctor — even if they can’t pay their bills!”
A kind country doctor (Oliver Hardy) successfully treats the depressed pet elephant (Zenobia) of a traveling medicine man (Harry Langdon), only to find that the grateful Zenobia won’t leave him alone afterwards. Meanwhile, his daughter (Jean Parker) hopes to marry a young man (James Ellison) whose snobby mother (Alice Brady) wants nothing to do with the “lowly” doctor and his family.
Originally developed as a feature for comedic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Zenobia ultimately teamed Hardy with silent screen legend Harry Langdon when Laurel had a falling out with Hal Roach studios. The result is a well-meaning but decidedly tepid comedy, one which admirably shows Hardy’s talents as a “leading man” yet fails to deliver many genuine laughs. The title character — a testy female elephant named Zenobia — is the film’s primary claim to uniqueness, yet Zenobia’s relentless attachment to Hardy unfortunately takes a back seat to the rather dull primary drama about cross-class romance and Southern snobbery. With that said, film fanatics will likely appreciate seeing Alice Brady in one of her final roles before she succumbed to cancer later that year; she looks frail but still manages to invest her character with gumption and energy.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Oliver Hardy in a rare role without Stan Laurel by his side
- Alice Brady in one of her final screen roles
No, though fans of either Laurel and Hardy or Langdon will likely be curious to check it out.