Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Laurel and Hardy comedy Nothing But Trouble (1944), directed by Sam Taylor. This movie is probably my favorite of the team’s post-Roach output (faint praise), but this one at least has its moments.
They play a chef and a butler in the mansion of a dowager played by Mary Boland. (They are terrible at their jobs but she hires them because there is a shortage of experienced help, due to WW II). She is planning a big ceremonial dinner in honor of a young king in exile. The king is a boy of about 12. He loves America and the common people and wants to go among them. Walking by some kids playing football, he joins in. Laurel and Hardy pass by on their way to shop for the soiree. They are drafted by the kids to be refs. There is an extended game sequence. The king makes an interception and touchdown. Laurel and Hardy and the king start to return to the house and realize they’ve forgotten to do the shopping. They steal some horsemeat from the lion cage at the zoo (the kid helps). The dinner is of course a disaster and Laurel and Hardy are fired.
The king returns home and arranges to hire L & H. The boy’s uncle has a plot to poison the boy so he can take the throne. He puts a capsule in the kid’s salad. But the salads get all mixed up, so he makes our heroes walk the plank out the window of their upper story hotel suite. But luck intervenes…
For more on silent and slapstick comedy, including the films of Laurel and Hardy, please see my book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube,