Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, June 30, 2008


A CHUMP AT OXFORD (1940). Director: Alfred J. Goulding.

Like Bonnie Scotland, A Chump at Oxford covers a lot of ground both in terms of story and geography. Apparently the earliest section of the film was added to increase the very short running time of the original film, bringing it to just over an hour from 3/4s of an hour. The first section, which is quite amusing, has Laurel and Hardy working as butler and maid (Stan in drag is the maid) and really putting the kibosh on a supposedly elegant dinner party hosted by who else but frequent foil James Finlayson. After this the scene switches to Oxford where a grateful bank president (they foiled some robbers) has decided to give them an education. It turns out that Stan is actually the amnesiac Lord Paddington, a stuffy, nose-in-the-air, stiff-upper-lip type who treats Oliver like a servant. A Chump at Oxford gives Laurel a great chance to show off his versatility and while it may not be on the level of Our Relations, it's often very funny. Peter Cushing has a small role as one of the students at Oxford.

Verdict: You're not a chump it you watch it. ***.

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