Review: ‘A Chump at Oxford’

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's farce is mildly comical without offending. Time-worn gags clutter up the earlier footage and only when Laurel and Hardy, as new initiates into Oxford, actually move into the dean's home does the action speed up.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s farce is mildly comical without offending. Time-worn gags clutter up the earlier footage and only when Laurel and Hardy, as new initiates into Oxford, actually move into the dean’s home does the action speed up.

Early episodes have Laurel as a maid and Oliver Hardy as butler in a rich man’s home. It looks as though it had been tacked on in order to make up footage. James Finlayson is the wealthy host in this episode but not given any cast credit.

A dinner party brings in all the familiar dress-tearing, pastry-flinging, corkpopping and shot-gun gags. Even that venerable nifty where the cop says ‘you are liable to blow my brains out’ and then exhibits the bullet-marked seat of his trousers is left in.

But once the comedians land in England they fare better. Outside of the lost-in-the-woods stunt and ghost-at-midnight routine, the gagging and all-round material brightens up.

A Chump at Oxford

Production

Roach/United Artists. Director Alfred Goulding; Producer Hal Roach; Screenplay Charles Rogers, Felix Adler, Harry Langdon; Camera Art Lloyd; Editor Bert Jordan; Music Marvin Hatley;; Art Director Charles D. Hall

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1940. Running time: 63 MIN.

With

Stan Laurel Oliver Hardy James Finlayson Forrester Harvey Peter Cushing Sam Lufkin
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