A Chump at Oxford (1940)

An Education in Slapstick

With no money Stan and Oliver attempt to find some temp work as a maid & butler for a well to do dinner party which unsurprisingly ends up in a complete disaster. It is how the best friends come to be working as a pair of road sweeps where they inadvertently capture a bank robber whilst sitting on the steps of a bank having their lunch. Out of gratitude to Stan and Oliver the president of the bank pay for them to attend Oxford so they can get a proper education. Of course things don't go smoothly for the duo when they arrive in England to attend Oxford as they end up the butt of plenty of student pranks. One prank leads to Stan getting a bump on the head which causes him to think he is the famous scholar, Lord Paddington.

"A Chump at Oxford" is the perfect example of what I love and dislike about Laurel & Hardy movies, I can't bring myself to say hate because how can you hate a Laurel & Hardy movie. What I love is that you get the variety when it comes to the humour from the simple dustbin being moved when Ollie is about to empty a dustpan in to it, to the fun prank of a third hand on a bench scene as Stan doesn't realise thanks to a student hiding in the dark behind the seat he has a third hand. I could go on because jokes involving mazes, being dressed for Eton and of course Stand dressed up as a maid there is a lot of great gags with few failing to make you smile at the least.

But of course with "A Chump at Oxford" there is very little storyline, in fact the whole opening sequence which sees Stan and Oliver is just filler and as such whilst the jokes are great there gets a point where for me I need some thing more. Sadly that never comes and as such I will admit that the second time I watched "A Chump at Oxford" I watched it in two parts, half hour in the morning and half an hour the next morning and it worked a lot better.

What this all boils down to is that "A Chump at Oxford" is an extremely typical version of what you got from Laurel & Hardy with little in the way of storyline but plenty of humour from the simplistic slapstick to some clever word play and even exploding cigars.