Putting Pants On Philip is a silent short film starring British/American comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. Made in 1927, it is their first “official” film together as a team. The plot involves Laurel as Philip, a young Scot newly arrived in the United States, in full kilted splendor, suffering mishaps involving the kilt. His uncle, played by Hardy, is shown trying to put trousers on him.
The duo appeared in a total of 107 films between 1921 and 1950. The idea for the film was Stan Laurel’s and was based on a story recounted by a friend while Laurel worked in music hall. The archivist William K. Everson described the film as “one of the real gems of comedy from the late 1920s, and perhaps the most individual of all the Laurel and Hardy comedies, though not necessarily the funniest.
Piedmont Mumblethunder (Hardy) is awaiting the arrival of his Scottish nephew Philip (Laurel) at a pier. Piedmont does not know what Philip looks like, but has a letter from his sister that says Philip is so shy around women that he breaks out in a rash at the mere sight of a female. Upon his first sight of Philip, Piedmont tells a bystander that he pities whomever has to collect this character—only to be upset when the man turns out to be Philip. Piedmont is embarrassed at the apparent effeminacy of the kilt-wearing Philip. The rumor of Philip being shy in the presence of women is completely inaccurate as Philip is an incorrigible skirt-chaser. At one point Philip loses his underwear and, pursuing a pretty girl, steps on a ventilator grate. This blows his kilt up which results in several women fainting.
Piedmont then takes Philip to a tailor to be fitted for trousers—an action that Philip resists greatly. Philip leaves the tailor to continue pursuing the young woman he saw earlier. Catching up to the woman, Philip takes off his kilt to cover a mud puddle. Rejecting this act of chivalry, the woman simply leaps over the puddle and leaves. Piedmont subsequently steps on the kilt and falls into a deep, mud-covered hole. The film ends on a close up of Oliver Hardy’s face showing “a soon to be classic look of chagrin”
Stan Laurel - Philip
Oliver Hardy - Piedmont J. Mumblethunder
Charles A. Bachman - Officer
Ed Brandenberg - Bus conductor
Harvey Clark - Tailor
Dorothy Coburn - Girl chased by Philip
Sam Lufkin - Ship’s doctor