NOTHING BUT TROUBLE (1944). Director: Sam Taylor.
As the film starts in 1932, Laurel and Hardy have so much trouble finding work as chef and butler (they come from a long line of same) that they go to Europe. Returning in 1944, the find that their skills are now much in demand. An anxious Mary Boland hires them for her household and to prepare a special dinner party for visiting royalty. (Frankly, much more could have been made of their escaping with Boland from the other anxious wannabee employers at the employment office.) Going shopping, the boys encounter the young King Chris (David Leland), who would rather play football than rule his country. This leads to a protracted football sequence that is completely devoid of laughs. However things pick up with the disastrous dinner party itself -- featuring a rubber steak that resists all efforts to cut it -- as well as a genuinely suspenseful and hilarious ending with the boys and the king forced out on a ledge by a usurper. Stan and Ollie are great, young Leland gives an appealing performance, and Mary Boland is delightful as Mrs. Elvira Hawkley. Good supporting performances as well. Although Leland looks around 14 years of age, he was actually 23 at the time!
Verdict: Despite flaws, a charming and entertaining movie. ***.