Nothing but Trouble (1944 film)

Last updated
Nothing But Trouble
L&H Nothing but Trouble 1944b.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Sam Taylor
Written by Russell Rouse
Ray Golden
Produced by B. F. Zeidman
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Mary Boland
Philip Merivale
Henry O'Neill
Cinematography Charles Salerno Jr.
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Music by Nathaniel Shilkret
Distributed by Loew's Inc.
Release date
  • December 6, 1944 (1944-12-06)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States

Nothing But Trouble is a 1944 Laurel and Hardy feature film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by Sam Taylor



Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy return to America after fourteen years of voluntary exile to find jobs. Ollie has worked as a mediocre cook and Stan has served as a butler for many years. Upon their return they find that there are just as many people looking for servants now, because of the war's workforce shortage, as there were unemployed in 1932, because of the Depression.

Both men get hired by a wealthy woman named Elvira Hawkley, who is in desperate need of help to prepare for a big formal dinner she is hosting in the evening. The guest of honour at the dinner is none other than the young exiled King Christopher of Orlandia.

Before the dinner, Christopher tells his guardian, Prince Saul, that he wants to know more about the life of the common man in America. His biggest dream is to play American football for Notre Dame. Saul arranges for Ronetz, his Assistant, to take the young King for a walk, so that an 'accident' can happen to him. Christopher is unaware that Saul is planning to murder him and take over the throne.

When Christopher and Ronetz reach the park, Ronetz excuses himself to make way for the two assassins he has hired to kill the king. Christopher happens to hear a football game nearby, and whilst there sees one of the players sent home by his mother. Christopher offers to take the missing player's place, but it turns out the game's referee has also quit. Stan and Ollie happen to pass by the game with groceries they have bought for the evening dinner, and Christopher persuades them to be referees in the game.

Christopher has never played football before, and his first contact with the ball is not so successful, as he fumbles and drops the ball. With the help of the incompetent referees, Christopher picks up his game and actually manage to score a touchdown that wins the match, partly because the other team's boys bounce off Ollie's body as he runs alongside, refereeing. Christopher is overjoyed with his own performance, and thankful again to the very helpful referees.

Ollie and Stan discover that they have forgotten to buy the dinner's steak, and can't buy one now, as they have spent all the money they were given by Elvira; they blame each other. They see a lion at the nearby zoo being fed a big steak, and decide to try and steal it for the dinner. Christopher is not aware that Stan and Ollie are working where Saul is to be the guest. While Stan and Ollie argue about who will actually take the steak from the lion, equally afraid of being eaten themselves, Christopher steps in and snatches the steak away from the lion, which has been distracted by Stans being so afraid that he's jumped up on top of a wall.

The three soon arrive at Elvira's building, and although Christopher asks to stay, because he says his Uncle beats him, Stan and Ollie are reluctantly forced to say no because they have to attend to the function; but Christopher sneaks in. Discovering him, they allow him to stay. Soon, Christopher discovers the incompetence of the two servants and tries to teach Stan the proper etiquette in a rehearsal for the formal dinner. He fails in his mission, and instead offers to help by hiding under the dinner table and to give instructions to Stan from there during the dinner, by using his hand to tap on Stan's foot.

But it turns out that the steak is made of horse meat, and however they try to cut it, they can't; not even with a two-man saw!

Saul explains that Christopher is missing at the dinner because of illness, but is soon made aware by Ronetz that he is in fact not dead, but missing. Saul excuses himself and leaves the practically inedible dinner. Elvira goes into the kitchen and fires Stan and Ollie on the spot because of their poor performance. She discovers Christopher in the kitchen, but doesn't know he's the king. She throws all three out, and they take their refuge at a mission. A tramp there recognizes Christopher from a picture in the papers, and alerts the police, thinking that he's been kidnapped by Stan and Ollie.

The police arrive, and arrest them; but later, Christopher demands they be hired as his help, and the charges are dropped. Saul sees an opportunity to use the two dimwits as pawns in order to kill Christopher. Ronetz puts poison in the salad Ollie tells him is reserved for Christopher, as it's the largest. But Stan and Ollie disagree about which one the largest is, and the plates are then mixed-up on the tray, so there's then no telling who's got the poisoned one.

An argument ensues between Saul and Ronetz because of the mixup and Christopher overhears them, finding out about the attempt to kill him. Christopher goes to tell Ollie and Stan, Saul follows, and pulls a gun on the three in the kitchen, and forces them out onto the skyscraper's ledge, trying to make them jump and take their own lives.

Ollie notices the hanging boards being used by the painters below, which Christopher uses. Before Ollie and Stan dare to jump after him, the boards are pulled back, but Stan and Ollie are left hanging after falling, with Stan dangling high up above the street, hanging onto Ollie's trousers. Christopher manages to get down to the street and fetch the police, who arrive just in time to rescue them.

Before Saul had managed to count to ten, at which time the Stan and Ollie were to jump, or to be shot, he'd eaten the poison Ollie had innocently removed from the poisoned salad, had placed on a titbit, and had stopped counting: at number 9; he's carried out on a stretcher from the apartment.

The story ends happily with Christopher, Oliver and Stan singing the Notre Dame victory march, together with the two policemen. [1]

Trailer Discrepancies

Interestingly, the Trailer shows either different moments of Stan dancing at the end, or, a different take. Further, a different take in the Trailer appears at the zoo, where Stan is heard asking Ollie if the Lion has read " 'That' book'" they're discussing; but in the film the question was " 'The' "Book".


Production notes

During the late 1930s and 1940s, great silent screen comedian Buster Keaton, and a close friend of Stan Laurel, worked as a gagman at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and helped supply gags for Nothing but Trouble. At Stan Laurel's funeral in 1965, Keaton said that he believed Laurel to a greater comedian than Charlie Chaplin. [2]

Nothing but Trouble was completed in August 1944 but stayed on the shelf for seven months; the studio was rushing all of its military-themed productions into release first. When Nothing but Trouble was finally released in March 1945, it became a surprise hit internationally as moviegoers, waiting anxiously for the war to end, flocked to the Laurel & Hardy show as an escapist comedy. It was Laurel & Hardy's all-time biggest boxoffice success, earning $1,500,000 in ticket sales. [3]

Jack Lindquist, as 'The Kid', eventually became President of Disneyland, between 1990-'93.

Related Research Articles

<i>Sons of the Desert</i> 1933 film by William A. Seiter

Sons of the Desert is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy. Directed by William A. Seiter, it was released in the United States on December 29, 1933. In the United Kingdom, the film was originally released under the title Fraternally Yours.

<i>Mickeys Polo Team</i> 1936 Mickey Mouse cartoon

Mickey's Polo Team is a 1936 American animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. The cartoon features a game of polo played between four Disney characters, led by Mickey Mouse, and four cartoon versions of real-life movie stars. It was directed by David Hand and was first released on January 4, 1936. The film was inspired by Walt Disney's personal love of polo. It was the 80th Mickey Mouse short film to be released, and the first of that year.

<i>A Chump at Oxford</i> 1940 film by Alfred J. Goulding

A Chump at Oxford is a Hal Roach comedy film produced in 1939 and released in 1940 by United Artists. It was directed by Alfred J. Goulding and was the penultimate Laurel and Hardy film made at the Roach studio. The title echoes the film A Yank at Oxford (1938), of which it is a partial parody.

<i>A-Haunting We Will Go</i> (1942 film) 1942 film

A-Haunting We Will Go is a 1942 Laurel and Hardy feature film released by 20th Century Fox and directed by Alfred L. Werker. The story is credited to Lou Breslow and Stanley Rauh. The title is a play on the song "A-Hunting We Will Go".

<i>Pack Up Your Troubles</i> (1932 film) 1932 film

Pack Up Your Troubles is a 1932 pre-Code Laurel and Hardy film directed by George Marshall and Raymond McCarey, named after the World War I song "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile". It is the team's second feature-length picture.

<i>The Flying Deuces</i> 1939 film by A. Edward Sutherland

The Flying Deuces, also known as Flying Aces, is a 1939 buddy comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy, in which the duo join the French Foreign Legion. It is a partial remake of their short film Beau Hunks (1931).

<i>Unaccustomed As We Are</i> 1929 film

Unaccustomed As We Are is the first sound film comedy starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, released on May 4, 1929.

<i>Chickens Come Home</i> 1931 film

Chickens Come Home is a 1931 American pre-Code short film starring Laurel and Hardy, directed by James W. Horne and produced by Hal Roach. It was shot in January 1931 and released on February 21, 1931. It is a remake of the 1927 silent film Love 'em and Weep in which Jimmy Finlayson plays Hardy's role and Hardy plays a party guest.

<i>Block-Heads</i> 1938 film by John G. Blystone

Block-Heads is a 1938 comedy film directed by John G. Blystone and starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It was produced by Hal Roach Studios for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, a reworking of elements from the Laurel and Hardy shorts We Faw Down (1928) and Unaccustomed As We Are (1929), was Roach's final film for MGM.

<i>Our Relations</i> 1936 film by Harry Lachman

Our Relations is a 1936 feature film starring Laurel and Hardy, produced by Stan Laurel for Hal Roach Studios. This is the third of three films in which they play a dual role: the first was Brats and the second was Twice Two. The story is based on the short story "The Money Box" by W.W. Jacobs, author of "The Monkey's Paw".

<i>Saps at Sea</i> 1940 film by Gordon Douglas

Saps at Sea is a 1940 American comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas, distributed by United Artists. It was Laurel and Hardy's last film produced by the Hal Roach Studios, as well as the last film to feature Ben Turpin and Harry Bernard.

<i>Habeas Corpus</i> (1928 film) 1928 film

Habeas Corpus is a silent short subject co-directed by Leo McCarey and James Parrott starring comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. It was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on December 1, 1928

<i>From Soup to Nuts</i> 1928 film

From Soup to Nuts is a silent short subject directed by E. Livingston Kennedy starring comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. It was released on March 24, 1928, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

<i>Thats My Wife</i> (1929 film) 1929 film

That's My Wife is a 1929 short comedy silent film produced by the Hal Roach Studios and starring Laurel and Hardy. It was shot in December 1928 and released March 23, 1929, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with a synchronized music and sound effects track in theaters equipped for sound.

<i>They Go Boom</i> 1929 film

They Go Boom is a 1929 short comedy film directed by James Parrott and starring Laurel and Hardy.

<i>Slipping Wives</i> 1927 film

Slipping Wives is a silent comedy short film starring Priscilla Dean, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy prior to their official billing as the duo Laurel and Hardy. The team appeared in a total of 107 films between 1921 and 1951. Priscilla Dean was a popular silent film star.

<i>The Bullfighters</i> 1945 film by Malcolm St. Clair, Stan Laurel

The Bullfighters is the penultimate feature film starring Laurel and Hardy, the sixth and final film the duo made under 20th Century Fox as well as the last released in the United States.

<i>Great Guns</i> 1941 film

Great Guns is a 1941 film directed by Monty Banks, and produced by Sol M. Wurtzel for 20th Century Fox starring Laurel and Hardy. It is also known as Forward March.

<i>The Fixer Uppers</i> 1935 American film

The Fixer Uppers is a 1935 short film starring Laurel and Hardy, directed by Charles Rogers and produced by Hal Roach.

<i>County Hospital</i> (film) 1932 film

County Hospital is a Laurel and Hardy short film made in 1932. It was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ollie is in hospital with a broken leg, Stan comes to visit and ends up getting Ollie kicked out; on the way home Stan crashes the car.


  1. "Nothing but Trouble".
  2. Mitchell, Glenn (1995). The Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN   0-7134-7711-3., p.150
  3. MacGillivray, Scott (2009). Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward. Second edition. New York: iUniverse ISBN   978-1440172397, p. 155-158.