When Stan and Ollie arrive at the University, the snobby Undergraduate students, led by the mischievous Johnson (Peter Cushing) decide to give them the "royal initiation," which involves a number of pranks. They are sent off into a maze in order to get a pass to see the dean and quickly became lost. One of the students (Henry Borden) dresses as a ghost in order to frighten Stan and Ollie, and while they sit on a bench to sleep, the ghost's hand comes through the hedge to help Stan smoke his pipe and cigar (substituting for Stan's actual hand).
They spend all night in the maze and exit the next morning. Johnson poses as the Dean and gives Stan and Ollie the real Dean's quarters to live in. They make themselves at home only to be confronted by the Dean. The prank is uncovered and Johnson is due to expelled. Before this happens the students decide to run Stan and Ollie out so they can't give evidence against Johnson. The boys are taken to their real quarters where Meredith the Valet recognises Stan as Lord Paddington, the "greatest athlete and scholar the University ever had". He says that Lord Paddington had lost his memory when the window fell on his head and wandered from campus. Stan and Ollie dismiss his story as a "dizzy spell".
The students arrive and decide to throw Stan and Ollie out of the window. Stan and Ollie decide to escape through the window and in doing so the window falls on Stan's head, which transforms him back into Lord Paddington. When the students accuse him of "squealing", he becomes angry and his ears wiggle - something that occurs whenever Lord Paddington becomes angry, according to Meredith's story - after which he throws all of the students out of the window. However, Stan doesn't remember Ollie any longer so he becomes furious when Ollie tells him of his former life and throws Ollie out the window as well.
Lord Paddington takes pity on Ollie and employs him to be his personal valet. He calls Ollie by the nickname "fatty" and criticises him which makes Ollie so angry he quits his job. Stan hears students come to cheer him outside and as he looks out of the window it falls on him once again, returning him back to his usual self. Stan and Ollie make up. The film has a happy ending rather than the more usual unfortunate ending.
|A Chump at Oxford|
|Directed by||Alfred J. Goulding|
|Produced by||Hal Roach Jr. |
|Written by||Charlie Rogers|
|Music by||Marvin Hatley|
|Editing by||Bert Jordan|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release date(s)||February 16, 1940|
|Running time||42 minutes (stream lined version)|