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Saps at Sea (1940)

 -  Comedy  -  3 May 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,390 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 8 critic

Oliver suffers a nervous breakdown as a result of working in a horn factory, but when he follows doctor's orders about sea air, he finds an ex-con is aboard.



(original story and screen play by), (original story and screen play by), 3 more credits »
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Title: Saps at Sea (1940)

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Complete credited cast:


After working in the noisy horn factory, just the sound of one drives Oliver into a violent fit. Dr. Finlayson prescribes a long, restful sea voyage, so Stan and Oliver rent a boat and set sail, unaware that escaped killer Nick Grainger has stowed away onboard. To disable the crook, the boys prepare him a meal using string for spaghetti, sponges for meatballs and soap for cheese. But Grainger discovers their plan and decides to make them eat the stuff themselves. Written by Paul Penna <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They'll Scuttle Your Blues To the Bottom of the Sea! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Saps at Sea  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title was a pun on the 1937 film Souls at Sea (1937), starring Gary Cooper, but the two films otherwise have nothing in common. See more »


Mrs. O'Riley shows Hardy her refrigerator/radio, which plays a brassy tune. Hardy, who is suffering from "Hornophobia", doesn't react to the music however, as he does throughout the rest of the picture whenever he hears horns. See more »


Stanley Laurel: Hey! Which way is the alley?
Desk Clerk: Out in the street.
See more »


Edited into Dance of the Cookoos (1982) See more »


The Sailor's Hornpipe
Partially played in the score twice
See more »

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User Reviews

Saps at Sea (1940) ***
19 January 2013 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

*** out of ****

Laurel and Hardy's last film during their best golden era where they worked for Hal Roach Studios. It's not their best Roach movie, but it's still quite funny with a good dose of laughs and is completely worth seeing. (After this one they would move over to Fox and MGM Studios where they'd make what most fans agree are the least films of their career). The boys work in a horn manufacturing company where they have to test out all sorts of loud and honking horns... and Ollie eventually freaks out and goes berserk with a nervous breakdown! (this scene was so funny to me the first time I ever saw it that I had one of the most robust laughs I've ever had while watching a comedy). It is advised that Stan take Ollie home for some peace and quiet, but with Stan to nurse Ollie, you know THAT will never happen! Stan calls funnyman Dr. Finlayson who examines Hardy and diagnoses him with "Hornophobia" and a prescription to go on a sea voyage for some peace and quiet. Not long after they get onto the boat, an escaped convict sneaks aboard and terrorizes them.

Like some other L&H comedies, this one feels like it's two or three different shorts rolled into one feature and the best stuff is the first half. But don't let this deter you from checking it out if you have the chance. This is still some of the best comedy around.

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