Zenobia (also known as Elephants Never Forget (UK) and It's Spring Again) is a 1939 comedy film starring Oliver Hardy, Harry Langdon, Billie Burke, Alice Brady, James Ellison, Jean Parker, June Lang, Stepin Fetchit and Hattie McDaniel. The source of the film was the 1891 short story Zenobia's Infidelity by H.C. Bunner and was originally purchased by producer Hal Roach as a vehicle for Roland Young
|Directed by||Gordon Douglas|
|Produced by||Hal Roach|
|Written by||Corey Ford|
|Music by||Marvin Hatley|
|Edited by||Bert Jordan|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
65 min (colour cut edition)
It is one of the few films after the teaming of Laurel and Hardy that features Hardy without Stan Laurel, the result of a contract dispute between Laurel and producer Hal Roach, who maintained separate contracts for each performer, rather than a team contract, which would have offered them more control over their careers. Zenobia was Roach's attempt to create a new comedic pair without Laurel, and a series of films with Hardy and Langdon was planned. The dispute was short-lived, however, and Laurel and Hardy were reunited shortly thereafter.
Set in 1870, Hardy plays Dr. Henry Tibbett, a Mississippi country doctor who is called on by a travelling circus trainer to cure his sick elephant. After the doctor heals the grateful beast, the elephant becomes so attached to him that it starts to follow him everywhere. This leads to the trainer suing Dr. Tibbett for alienation of affection.
- Oliver Hardy as Dr. Tibbett
- Harry Langdon as Prof. McCrackle
- Billie Burke as Mrs. Tibbett
- Alice Brady as Mrs. Carter
- James Ellison as Jeff Carter
- Jean Parker as Mary Tibbett
- June Lang as Virginia
- Olin Howland as Attorney Culpepper
- J. Farrell MacDonald as the Judge
- Stepin Fetchit as Zero
- Hattie McDaniel as Dehlia (credited as "Hattie McDaniels")
- Philip Hurlic as Zeke (Declaration of Independence)
- Hobart Cavanaugh as Mr. Dover
- Clem Bevans as the Sheriff
- Tommy Mack as the Butcher
- Robert Dudley as the Court Clerk
- The Hall Johnson Choir
- Zenobia as 'Miss Zenobia' - the Elephant
- Chester Conklin as Farmer (uncredited)
- Nigel De Brulier as Townsman (uncredited)
The film was a box-office disaster. United Artists even had trouble booking the film into theatres.
The New York Times wrote on May 15, 1939, that the film:
- "...[was] a rough idea of what would happen to Gone With the Wind if Hal Roach had produced it ... an antebellum, costume romance in slapstick, in which an elephant adopts Oliver Hardy and, it appears, Harry Langdon has adopted the partnership perquisites formerly reserved for Stan Laurel."
Then—playing on the potential for a new comedy team of Hardy and Langdon—the reviewer said:
- "Harry Langdon's pale and beautifully blank countenance ... has probably already excited the professional jealousy of Mr. Laurel."
- The music was by Marvin Hatley, the composer of "The Cuckoo Song," Laurel and Hardy's famous theme song.
- The film is mentioned quite frequently (referred to as "the elephant movie") during the Stan and Ollie biopic, something that (in the 2018 film) Stan begrudged Ollie for doing.
- The name of Hattie McDaniel is misspelled in opening credits as "Hattie McDaniels".
- The film is supposed to be set in Antebellum South, yet the opening title says "1870" which would be postbellum period.
- For Oliver Hardy's films without Stan Laurel, see: Oliver Hardy filmography.
- For details on this dispute, see the main article on Laurel and Hardy.
- Ward, Richard Lewis (2005). A History of Hal Roach Studios. Southern Illinois University. p. 112. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "THE SCREEN; Hardy and Langdon, With Billie Burke and Alice Brady, Are Featured in 'Zenobia' at the Globe". The New York Times. New York. 15 May 1939. Retrieved 13 January 2019.