A Chump at Oxford

A Chump at Oxford

Infobox Film
name = A Chump at Oxford

caption = Original one-sheet for "A Chump at Oxford" (1940)
director = Alfred J. Goulding
producer = Hal Roach Jr.
Hal Roach
writer = Charley Rogers
Felix Adler
Harry Langdon
starring = Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Wilfred Lucas
Jimmy Finlayson
Anita Garvin
Forrester Harvey
Peter Cushing
Charlie Hall
music = Marvin Hatley
cinematography = Art Lloyd
editing = Bert Jordan
distributor = United Artists
released = February 16, 1940
runtime = 63 min.
language = English
budget =
preceded_by = "Saps at Sea"
followed_by = "Great Guns"
imdb_id = 0032339

"A Chump at Oxford", directed by Alfred J. Goulding and released in 1940 by United Artists, was the penultimate Laurel and Hardy film made at the Hal Roach studios. Originally released as a featurette at forty minutes long, twenty minutes were later added for the British and European distribution.


Stan and Ollie are down to their last 6 bucks and call a lift to a job agency to find a work. A City Water Dept. truck driver offers them a lift and drenches them with water as a joke and leaves them behind. They finally arrive in a badly damaged car that has been towed away. At the job agency a call comes from Mrs. Vandeveer looking for a maid and butler to help at a dinner party she is holding that night. Ollie tells the receptionist they can fill the post and to leave it to them. They arrive and Stan is dressed in drag. Stan curtsies to Mrs. Vandeveer and his underwear rips loudly. As he walks off they are around his ankles.

At the dinner party Stan eats the nibbles he's supposed to be giving to the guests and tips the rest into Mrs. Vandeveer's lap. Ollie calls the guests to the meal with a hand held xylophone. He says "there is everything From Soup To Nuts folks, come and get it". Stan is told to take the cocktails and instead of clearing them away he drinks them and becomes drunk. Mr. Vandeveer then tells Stan to "stir up the salad "without dressing" so Stan serves the salad in his underwear. Seeing this Mr. Vandeveer takes a rifle and chases Stan and Ollie out of the house. A single gunshot is heard and Mr. Vandeveer returns, followed by a policeman, who tells him, "why don't you be more careful, you almost blew my brains out". When the cop turns to leave, the seat of his pants have a large jagged hole ripped in them, revealing smouldering undershorts.

Stan and Ollie then become road sweepers and wonder why they are always in the gutter. They decide to get an education because in Stan's words "we're not illiterative enough". They are sitting outside the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Commerce building eating a packed lunch, while a robbery was taking place inside. They inadvertently catch the robber when he slips on a banana peel tossed on the street by Stan. A grateful bank manager offers them a reward by suggesting that they could have a job in his bank. When Oliver mentions they wouldn't be much use since he and Stan don't have an education, the bank president expands on their goal to attend night school by saying, "If it's an education you want, you shall have the finest education money can buy." He enrolls Stan and Ollie at Oxford University in England, and they depart the U.S. towards Oxford by steamship.

When Stan and Ollie arrive at the University, the snobby undergraduate students, led by the mischievous Johnson (Peter Cushing) decide to give them the "royal initiation," which involves a number of pranks. They are sent off into a maze in order to get a pass to see the dean and quickly became lost. One of the students (Henry Borden) dresses as a ghost in order to frighten Stan and Ollie, and while they sit on a bench to sleep, the ghost's hand comes through the hedge to help Stan smoke his pipe and cigar (substituting for Stan's actual hand).

They spend all night in the maze and exit the next morning. Johnson poses as the dean and gives Stan and Ollie the "real" dean's quarters to live in. They make themselves at home only to be confronted by the dean. The prank is uncovered and Johnson is due to expelled. Before this happens the students decide to run Stan and Ollie out so they can't give evidence against Johnson. The boys are taken to their real quarters where Meredith the valet recognises Stan as Lord Paddington, the "greatest athlete and scholar the University ever had". He says that Lord Paddington had lost his memory when the window fell on his head and wandered from campus. Stan and Ollie dismiss his story as a "dizzy spell"

The students arrive and decide to throw Stan and Ollie out of the window. stan and Ollie decide to escape through the window and in doing so the window falls on Stan's head, which transforms him back into Lord Paddington. When the students accuse him of "squealing", he becomes angry and his ears "wiggle" - something that occurs whenever Lord Paddington becomes angry, according to Meredith's story - after which he throws all of the "students" out of the window. However, Stan doesn't remember Ollie any longer so he becomes furious when Ollie tells him of his former life and throws Ollie out the window as well.

Lord Paddington takes pity on Ollie and employs him to be his personal valet. He calls Ollie by the nickname "fatty" and criticises him which makes Ollie so angry he quits his job. Stan hears students come to cheer him outside and as he looks out of the window it falls on him once again of which he returns back to his usual self. Stan and Ollie make up. The film has a happy ending rather than the more usual unfortunate ending.

Film production details

* The dinner party scenes are those omitted from the original American release and are a partial remake of their 1928 silent film "From Soup to Nuts".
* The dinner party ends in the same way as in their 1927 film "Slipping Wives".
* This is supposedly the only Laurel and Hardy film in which Laurel plays someone other than his bumbling "Stanley" character. He is extremely convincing as Lord Paddington, a proper British gentleman and college professor who is actually Stanley with amnesia.


* Stan Laurel as Stan Laurel
* Oliver Hardy as Oliver Hardy
* James Finlayson as Mr. Vanderveer
* Anita Garvin as Mrs. Vanderveer. This was her last film with Laurel and Hardy.
* Forbes Murray as Banker
* Wilfred Lucas as Dean Williams
* Forrester Harvey as Meredith
* Peter Cushing as Student Johnson. He would later star in Hammer Films and "Star Wars".
* Gerald Rogers as Student
* Charlie Hall as Student
* Victor Kendall as Student
* Gerald Fielding as Student
* Eddie Borden as Student Ghost
* Frank Baker as Dean's Servant
* Herbert Evans
* Evelyn Barlow
* Louise Bates
* Harry Bernard
* Stanley Blystone
* Tom Costello
* Richard Cramer

* Jean De Briac
* Mildred Gaye
* Alec Harford
* Jack Heasley
* Jewel Jordan
* Robert Kent
* Rex Lease
* Lois Lindsay
* Sam Lufkin
* George Magrill
* James Millican
* Edmund Mortimer
* Doris Morton
* Edgar Norton
* Vivien Oakland
* Jack Richardson
* Ronald R. Rondell
* Elmer Serrano
* Al Thompson
* Bobby Tracy

See also

* 1940 in film
* Laurel and Hardy films

External links

*imdb title|id=0032339|title=A Chump at Oxford

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