Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Chump at Oxford


“Chumps,” actually, since both Stan and Ollie go to Jolly Olde England. In their usual bumbling, accidental way, the boys foil a bank robbery. The grateful manager asks them what they would like as a reward, and they say they’d like an education, so they can be “illiterate.” Off they go to Oxford, where as Yanks they are mercilessly hazed by the students there. They spend almost a whole day trying to get out of a maze, then are shown to their quarters, which actually belongs to the Dean. They wreck the place in short order, but the Dean discovers they were hoodwinked by the students, and they get off. The five perpetrators are expelled. This enrages the students, who call them “squealers,” which makes no sense as they had no idea what was going on. But the whole student body marches on their rooms … where they are in for a big surprise. It turns out that Stan is actually “Lord Paddington,” the best scholar and athlete Oxford has ever seen. He was hit on the head and lost his memory, and had been living as poor stupid Stan for years. He is hit on the head again, recovers his memory, and demolishes the mob. Back in his rightful place, Lord Paddington is a proper little twit, the Dean calling on him to see if he has room in his busy schedule to see Dr. Einstein from Princeton, because he has some questions about his theory. Paddington asks his new valet, “Fatty” (guess who?) to hand him his agenda, which is right there on the desk. Ollie is finally fed up with this treatment, and is walking out when Stan is hit on the head again and loses his memory. So it all works out, for everyone but Lord Paddington and Oxford, who had it coming, anyway. This is not Laurel and Hardy’s best, but there are some good bits, including a “ghost” in the hedge maze. It is cobbled together to stretch two stories into one hour, with the first twenty minutes dealing with their attempts to find work, including some nice silly business with Ollie as a butler and Stan as a maid.