NOTHING BUT TROUBLE(1945)
Written July-September 1943. Filmed October 1943. Released by MGM March 1945. Produced by B.F. Zeldman. Directed by Sam Taylor.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mary Boland, Henry O' Neill, David Leland.
STORY: Stan and Ollie befriend a young boy, unaware that he is the King of Orlandia. When they find out the truth, they are hired as Chef and Butler by the King's Uncle Saul, who is secretly planning to dispose of the boy. But in the end all works out happily, as Uncle Saul accidentally poisons himself before any real damage can be done.
JB: No gangsters, no Nazis, no inventions. No laughs.
Why Stan and Ollie would even waste their time on the little panty-waist (hey, that's what somebody calls him in the script!) of a Boy King is beyond me. Ethyl the Gorilla I could see, that's quality time well spent, but they should have ditched this kid the first chance they got. Instead we have endless scenes of Stan hugging this Freddie Bartholomew wanna-be and saying things like "We think kids are nice!"
And we're back to the "Please kill us" territory of AIR RAID WARDENS when The Boys discover that their little wuss of a friend is actually a King. All of a sudden, even though nobody told them to leave, they are backing out of the room saying things like "You're a king and we're... just nobody".
Uncle Saul is cool, though. At the beginning, when King Panty-Waist says something like "I care for my people", Unc says "And I love you all the more because of it", yet the minute Junior steps out of the room, Unc starts planning his untimely demise. Gotta love it. It is a true loss at the end when Uncle Saul accidentally kills himself by eating a poisoned canape (hey, don't ask for explanations, see the film.) I would have liked for him to live long enough to kill at least one character in this movie. Perhaps several. Poisoned canapes for everybody, I say!
I can't say anything good about the "comedy" in NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. There is none. There is some business at a football game, which contains such sparkling moments as Ollie pushing kids to the ground, some distressing nonsense at a lion cage, a half-hearted attempt at seeing what From Soup to Nuts would have been like without gags, some Harold Lloydish moments with the Boys hanging out a window, and other assorted moments that add up to nothing, not even trouble.
To paraphrase Stan: "We think NOTHING BUT TROUBLE stinks!"
It almost seems as if they tried as hard as they could to make a bad
film. I don't know for sure, but I could swear the dialogue for King
Pantywaist has been looped. Amazing. They couldn't go out and find a
kid who was a decent actor with a good voice. Instead, they got the
most annoying milksop of a kid they could find and dubbed his lines
with a voice equally annoying. The kid sounds like Dame Edith Evans
with a sinus condition.
If you've never seen NOTHING BUT TROUBLE, allow me to save you the trouble by revealing the best gag in the film. Ollie and a dinner guest fail in trying to cut a tough horsemeat steak. That's about all there is to it, and it plays every bit as funny as it reads.