Nothing but Trouble (1944 film)

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

Nothing But Trouble
Theatrical poster
Directed bySam Taylor
Produced byB. F. Zeidman
Written byRussell Rouse
Ray Golden
StarringStan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Mary Boland
Philip Merivale
Henry O'Neill
David Leland
John Warburton
Matthew Boulton
Connie Gilchrist
Music byNathaniel Shilkret
CinematographyCharles Salerno Jr.
Edited byConrad A. Nervig
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 6, 1944 (1944-12-06)
Running time
69' 05"
CountryUnited States


Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy return to America after ten years of voluntary exile to find jobs. Oliver has worked as a mediocre cook and Stan has served as a butler for many years. Upon their return they find that there are plenty of positions to apply to, unlike when they left ten years earlier.

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 honor 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. It is decided that the young king will disguise himself as an ordinary man and bring his assistant, Ronetz. Christopher is unaware that Saul is planning to murder him and take over the throne.

As Christopher and Ronetz are out walking in a 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 when he goes there finds out that one of the players has been sent home by his mother. Christopher offers to take the missing player's place, but it turns out the game referee has also quit. Oliver and Stan happen to pass by the game with groceries they have bought for the evening dinner, and Christopher persuades them into being 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 Oliver and Stan, who are constantly running in the way of the players, Christopher picks up his game and actually manage to score a touchdown that wins the game. Christopher is overjoyed with his own performance and thankful again to the very helpful referees.

Oliver and Stan discover that they have forgot to buy the dinner steak, although they have spent all the money they got from Elvira. They see a lion at the nearby zoo being fed a big steak, and decide to try and steal the steak for the dinner. Christopher is not aware of who Oliver and Stan is working for and offers to help out. While Oliver and Stan argue about who will actually take the steak from the lion, equally afraid of being eaten themselves, Christopher steps in and snatches the steak from the lion.

The three men soon arrive to Elvira's building, and Christopher persuades the two men to let him stay with them for the night since he has nowhere else to go. Christopher soon discovers the incompetence of the two servants and tries to teach Stan the proper etiquette at a formal dinner. He fails in his mission, and instead offers to help by hiding under the dinner table and giving commands to Stan from there during the dinner, by using his hand to tap on Stan's foot.

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 Oliver and Stan on the spot because of their poor performance. She discovers Christopher in the kitchen, but doesn't identify him as the king. She throws all three men out of there, and they take their refuge at a mission. A dodgy woman recognizes Christopher from a picture in the papers, and alerts the police that he is being kidnapped by Oliver and Stan.

The police arrive and arrest Oliver and Stan, but 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 supposed to be delivered to Christopher at a banquet. But the incompetent Stan manages to mix up the plates so that there is no telling who got the poisoned salad.

An argument ensues between Saul and Ronetz because of the mixup and Christopher overhears them, finding out about the attempt to kill him. When Christopher goes to tell Oliver and Stan, Saul intercepts him and pulls a gun, holding the three men at gunpoint. Saul forces them out on a ledge outside the skyscraper's window, trying to make them jump and take their own lives.

Christopher discovers a hanging board below the window, left there by the painters, and jumps down from the ledge. Before Oliver and Stan dare jump after him, the board is moved away from the window, and they are left hanging, dangling high up above the street. Christopher manages to get down to the street and fetch the police, who arrive just in time to rescue Oliver and Stan.

It turns out Saul was the person who got the poisoned salad after all, and he is carried out on a stretcher from the apartment. The story ends with Christopher, Oliver and Stan singing the Notre Dame victory march together with the policemen.[1]


Production notes

Buster Keaton, a close friend of Stan Laurel, worked as a gagman on Nothing but Trouble. At Laurel's funeral in 1965, Keaton said that he felt Laurel was a greater comedian than Charlie Chaplin.[2]


  2. Mitchell, Glenn (1995). The Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN 0-7134-7711-3., p.150
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