A Chump at Oxford (1940)

63 mins | Comedy | 16 February 1940

Cinematographer:

Art Lloyd

Production Designer:

Charles D. Hall

Production Company:

Hal Roach Studios, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to modern sources, the original version of this film, made for American release, was 4 reels long and had a running time of 42 minutes. long. After Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel completed their work in the picture, they left the Hal Roach Studios to make Flying Deuces (see below) at RKO. During their absence from the Roach lot, producer Roach decided to expand the film for the European market. When Laurel and Hardy returned to the studio in Sep, Roach filmed additional footage that was loosely based on the 1928 Laurel and Hardy two-reel short From Soup to Nuts , written by Leo McCarey and directed by E. Livingston Kennedy. While modern sources assert that the 42-minute version was released in the U.S. first, and the 63-minute version released later, contemporary sources only list the 63 minute version. Although Edgar Norton is credited with the role of "Professor Witherspoon" on an undated cast list contained in company records located at the USC Cinema-Television Library, modern sources state that Del Henderson was to play the role, but that the part was deleted either before shooting began or before the finished film was released. Modern sources complete the following character identifications: Vivien Oakland ( Receptionist ); Harry Bernard ( Police Officer ); George Magrill ( Tow truck driver ); Sam Lufkin ( Driver of street sweeper ); and Jean de Briac ( Pierre ). Modern sources also note that S. S. Van Keuren was the production manager for the picture. For additional information on Laurel and Hardy's career together, please see the entry below for Pardon Us ... More Less

According to modern sources, the original version of this film, made for American release, was 4 reels long and had a running time of 42 minutes. long. After Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel completed their work in the picture, they left the Hal Roach Studios to make Flying Deuces (see below) at RKO. During their absence from the Roach lot, producer Roach decided to expand the film for the European market. When Laurel and Hardy returned to the studio in Sep, Roach filmed additional footage that was loosely based on the 1928 Laurel and Hardy two-reel short From Soup to Nuts , written by Leo McCarey and directed by E. Livingston Kennedy. While modern sources assert that the 42-minute version was released in the U.S. first, and the 63-minute version released later, contemporary sources only list the 63 minute version. Although Edgar Norton is credited with the role of "Professor Witherspoon" on an undated cast list contained in company records located at the USC Cinema-Television Library, modern sources state that Del Henderson was to play the role, but that the part was deleted either before shooting began or before the finished film was released. Modern sources complete the following character identifications: Vivien Oakland ( Receptionist ); Harry Bernard ( Police Officer ); George Magrill ( Tow truck driver ); Sam Lufkin ( Driver of street sweeper ); and Jean de Briac ( Pierre ). Modern sources also note that S. S. Van Keuren was the production manager for the picture. For additional information on Laurel and Hardy's career together, please see the entry below for Pardon Us . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
20 Feb 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 39
p. 5.
Motion Picture Daily
23 Feb 40
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald
2 Mar 40
p. 31.
New York Times
20 Feb 40
p. 17.
Variety
21 Feb 40
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dir of addl scenes
2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Pres
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story and scr
Orig story and scr
Orig story and scr
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Wardrobe supv
MUSIC
Mus score
Vocal and mus arr
Musicians
Musicians
Musicians
Musicians
VISUAL EFFECTS
Photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr clerk
Scr clerk
Props
Casting dir
Best boy
Still photog
Still photog
STAND INS
Stunts
Stand-in for Stan Laurel
Stand-in for Stan Laurel
Stand-in for Oliver Hardy
Stand-in
Stand-in
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 February 1940
Production Date:
31 May--21 June 1939
addl scenes 5 September--9 September 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Hal Roach Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 January 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9377
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63
Length(in feet):
5,624
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5508
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Desperate for employment, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy masquerade as a maid and butler to work at the snooty Vandevere party. After they make a shambles of the evening and offend the distinguished guests, Baldy Vandevere chases the pair from his house at gunpoint. Deciding that their lack of education lies at the root of their problems, Stan and Ollie vow to attend night school. Their opportunity at higher education arrives sooner than expected when, as a reward for capturing a bank robber, the bank president sends the pair to Oxford. Upon their arrival, the "chumps" are treated to a hazing by their fellow students, and end up spending the night lost in a mazelike, "haunted" hedge. The next morning, they are played for chumps again when one of the students, masquerading as the dean, offers them the hospitality of his own quarters. When the real dean arrives to find Stan and Ollie in his bed, the pair snitch on their classmates, who vow revenge. While attempting to escape the wrath of his classmates, Stan suffers a blow on the head, which transforms him into the vile tempered Lord Paddington, the greatest athlete and scholar in the history of Oxford. Relegated to the position of valet, Ollie quits after "his lordship" regains his senses, and the two thankfully return ... +


Desperate for employment, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy masquerade as a maid and butler to work at the snooty Vandevere party. After they make a shambles of the evening and offend the distinguished guests, Baldy Vandevere chases the pair from his house at gunpoint. Deciding that their lack of education lies at the root of their problems, Stan and Ollie vow to attend night school. Their opportunity at higher education arrives sooner than expected when, as a reward for capturing a bank robber, the bank president sends the pair to Oxford. Upon their arrival, the "chumps" are treated to a hazing by their fellow students, and end up spending the night lost in a mazelike, "haunted" hedge. The next morning, they are played for chumps again when one of the students, masquerading as the dean, offers them the hospitality of his own quarters. When the real dean arrives to find Stan and Ollie in his bed, the pair snitch on their classmates, who vow revenge. While attempting to escape the wrath of his classmates, Stan suffers a blow on the head, which transforms him into the vile tempered Lord Paddington, the greatest athlete and scholar in the history of Oxford. Relegated to the position of valet, Ollie quits after "his lordship" regains his senses, and the two thankfully return home. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.