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A Chump at Oxford (1939)

Approved | | Comedy | 16 February 1940 (USA)
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As a reward for capturing a bank robber, Stan and Ollie get scholarship to Oxford, but are met with resentment by other students.

Director:

Alfred J. Goulding (as Alfred Goulding)

Writers:

Charley Rogers (original story) (as Charles Rogers), Felix Adler (original story) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Stan Laurel ... Stan Laurel / Lord Paddington
Oliver Hardy ... Oliver Hardy
Forrester Harvey ... Meredith
Wilfred Lucas ... Dean Williams
Forbes Murray ... Banker
Frank Baker ... Jenkins - the Dean's Servant
Eddie Borden ... Student Ghost
Gerald Rogers Gerald Rogers ... Student Johnson
Victor Kendall Victor Kendall ... Student Cecil
Gerald Fielding Gerald Fielding ... Student Brown
Charlie Hall ... Student Hector (as Charles Hall)
Peter Cushing ... Student Jones
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Storyline

With Stan in drag, the boys get jobs as a butler and maid for a dinner party at the Vandevere's. After that ends in disaster, they're reduced to sweeping streets, and accidentally capture a bank robber. The grateful bank president sends them to Oxford for a proper education. There they become victims of student pranks, getting lost in the Maze and taking over the Dean's quarters as their own. But then a knock on the head gets Stan to believing he's the famed Lord Paddington, scholar and athlete extraordinaire. Suddenly erudite and supercilious, he retains Oliver as his valet, "Fatty." Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Those Philosophers of Phun in a new screamlined comedy! (Newspaper ad). See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les as d'Oxford See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (European)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First completed in June 1939, with the final cut of the 42 minute version completed by the end of August 1939; the additional sequences and the extended version were completed in October 1939. The film also bears a 1939 (MCMXXXIX) copyright statement on the opening credits and the United Artists 20th Anniversary (1919-1939) logo on the end credits. See more »

Goofs

While doing their street-sweeping job, Stan and Ollie are working in front of a building marked 'Finlayson National Bank' (an obvious nod to their frequent co-star James Finlayson, who plays Mr Vandevere in the 'extended' version of this film) and they go to a side doorway to eat their lunch. When the scene changes to the robbery inside the bank, a sign is shown that says 'Farmers & Merchants Bank of Commerce'. The bank robber tries escaping through the doorway where Stan and Ollie are sitting, slips on a banana peel, and they catch him. In a wide shot of the doorway and street, now there are two signs identifying the bank as 'Finlayson National'. (This goof is seen only in the 'extended' version. In the shorter 'streamliner' version the transition to the bank robbery scene is done with a sign that says, 'James Finlayson, President'. This had to be replaced when James Finlayson's role, and the dinner party scene, was added to the shorter 'streamliner' version for distribution overseas.) See more »

Quotes

Ollie: Wiggling your ears ain't gonna stop me!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Shortenedand reedited as "Alter Ego" for TV consumption in the 59m See more »

Connections

Referenced in Guest House Paradiso (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung a cappella by Oxford students
See more »

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User Reviews

Gentle, slow comedy from the famous duo
24 January 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Oliver and Stan are yet again down on their luck. A temporary job as a butler and a maid ends in disaster leaving them sweeping the streets. When they foil a bank robbery they get sent to Oxford as a reward to get an education. At Oxford they are targeted for pranks by the other students until a bump on the head reveals Stan's family background.

The story isn't very important - the various episodes aren't always very well linked and are really only excuses for a series of set pieces. However it doesn't mean it's bad. Each bit stands up in it's own right and you don't really notice the tenuous links. Each contains some very funny moments and it's typical of the duo's slow gentle comedy. The only concern I would have is that film comedy now is of the type that must move very quickly, be very crude and be very simple - I don't think audiences raised on "something about mary" style films would all appreciate this film at all.

All the performances are good (with only a few dodgy accents). Laurel and Hardy are good in their well practised roles. James Finlayson is good at his usual squinty, double taking stuff and there's an interesting early role for Peter Cushing.

Overall a little comedy that is slow and gentle - just don't expect the world in terms of plot or belly laughs.


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