James Finlayson - Rotten Tomatoes

James Finlayson



Scottish comedian James Finlayson attended the University of Edinburgh with the intention of pursuing a business career. He was deflected by his best friend, stage actor Andy Clyde, who encouraged Finlayson to give theatre a try. After serving his apprenticeship in regional repertory, Finlayson was cast in the West End production of Bunty Pulls the Strings in 1912, a production which brought him to New York. He embarked on a vaudeville tour with Alec Lauder (brother of the more famous Sir Harry Lauder), then headed to Hollywood, working at the Ince and L-KO studios before settling at the Mack Sennett fun factory in 1919. While with Sennett, Finlayson developed his famous, apoplectic caricature of the old-fashioned "me proud beauty" Victorian villain.



In 1923, Finlayson moved to Hal Roach, where he would spend the next 17 years as both a star comic and (more successfully) a supporting player. During his Roach years, Finlayson perfected his comic signature, the "double take and fade away": a reaction of surprise, followed by several turns of the head and an upraised eyebrow, capped with the expletive "Doh!" Legend has it that one of Finlayson's double-takes was so energetic that it caused him to crack his skull against a wall and lose consciousness! Though he worked with everyone on the Roach lot, Finlayson became most closely associated with Laurel and Hardy, co-starring with the team on 33 occasions between 1927 and 1940. Fin's most memorable films with L&H include Big Business (1929), Another Fine Mess (1930), Chickens Come Home (1931), Our Wife (1931), The Devil's Brother (1933) and, best of all, Way Out West (1937), wherein as western saloon keeper Mickey Finn, Finlayson outdoes himself with his own hilarious brand of double-dyed villainy. He also appeared frequently with another team, Clark and McCullough, over at RKO.



While some of Finlayson's feature-film roles were sizeable, notably his assignments in Dawn Patrol (1930) and All Over Town (1937), he was most often seen in unbilled bits, sometimes (as in the 1938 Astaire-Rogers vehicle Carefree) minus his trademarked paintbrush moustache. Because of his long associations with Sennett and Roach, James Finlayson was frequently called upon to appear in nostalgic recreations of Hollywood's silent era, notably Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) and The Perils of Pauline (1947).

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Further Perils of Laurel and Hardy
  • Actor
1968
No Score Yet Laurel and Hardy's Laughing 20's
  • Actor
1965
No Score Yet Laurel & Hardy
  • Actor
1958
91% Royal Wedding
  • Cabby
1951
No Score Yet Grand Canyon Trail
  • Sheriff
1948
No Score Yet The Perils of Pauline
  • Chef Comic
1947
100% Till the Clouds Roll By
  • Candy Vendor
1947
98% To Be or Not to Be
  • Scottish Farmer
1942
94% Foreign Correspondent
  • Dutch Peasant
1940
No Score Yet Saps at Sea
  • Doctor
1940
No Score Yet A Chump at Oxford
  • Baldy Vandevere
1940
No Score Yet Raffles
  • Cabby
1939
No Score Yet Hollywood Cavalcade
  • Keystone Kop
1939
83% The Flying Deuces
  • Jailer
1939
No Score Yet Block-Heads
  • Mr. Finn
1938
50% Carefree
  • Man at Golf Course
1938
No Score Yet Wise Girl
  • Jailer
1937
No Score Yet All Over Town
  • MacDougal
1937
No Score Yet Angel
  • Footman
1937
No Score Yet The Toast of New York
  • Inventor
1937
100% Way Out West
  • Mickey Finn
1937
No Score Yet Pick a Star
  • Laurel and Hardy's Director
1937
No Score Yet Our Relations
  • Finn, the Chief Engineer
1936
No Score Yet The Bohemian Girl
  • Finn
1936
No Score Yet Bonnie Scotland (Heroes of the Regiment)
  • Sergeant Major
1935
No Score Yet The Devil's Brother
  • Lord Rocberg
1933
No Score Yet Pack Up Your Troubles
  • the General
1932
No Score Yet The Chimp
  • Ringmaster
1932
No Score Yet One Good Turn
  • A Community Player
1931
No Score Yet Pardon Us
  • Schoolteacher
1931
No Score Yet Our Wife
  • Father of the bride
1931
No Score Yet Chickens Come Home
  • Butler
1931
No Score Yet Another Fine Mess
  • Colonel Wilburforce Buckshot
1930
No Score Yet The Dawn Patrol (Flight Commander)
  • Field Sergeant
1930
No Score Yet For the Defense
  • Parrott
1930
No Score Yet Feet First
  • A Painter
1930
No Score Yet Night Owls
  • Meadows
1930
No Score Yet Liberty (Criminals at Large)
  • Store keeper
1929
No Score Yet Laurel and Hardy
  • Prison inspector
1929
No Score Yet Big Business
  • Man
1929
No Score Yet Laurel and Hardy
  • Soda jerk
1929
No Score Yet The Second Hundred Years
  • Warden
1927
No Score Yet Love 'Em and Weep
  • Businessman
1927
No Score Yet No Man's Land
  • Actor
1927
No Score Yet Sugar Daddies
  • Oil tycoon
1927
No Score Yet Do Detectives Think?
  • Judge Foozle
1927
No Score Yet Yes, Yes, Nanette
  • Hillory
1925
No Score Yet Where Do You Work-A John?
  • Actor
1921
No Score Yet The Second 100 Years
  • Actor

Quotes from James Finlayson's Characters

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