A LAUREL & HARDY Comedy Short. In lieu of salaries, a bankrupt circus gives its property away to its workers. Stan gets the flea circus - Ollie is given Ethel, THE CHIMP. The big simian takes an immediate dislike to Ollie, but becomes very fond of Stan. Deciding to sell Ethel to the zoo, the Boys look for a hotel to spend the night. Trying to do so with a great, hairy beast in tow is hard enough; an escaped lion and a volatile landlord only ensure that getting a good night's sleep will be almost impossible.A very funny little film, with genuine belly laughs. Watching Stan dance with Ethel is priceless. That's James Finlayson as the circus Ringmaster; Billy Gilbert plays the dyspeptic landlord.
I love Laurel and Hardy movies, so keep this in mind before you read this mediocre review. Don't just assume I can't stand their movies! Stan and Ollie are stuck with taking care of a guy in a cheap ape costume--though in the movie, the ape is SUPPOSED to be real. Okay. Well, to me it just looks like a guy in a cheap ape costume and I HATE when movies put people in crappy ape costumes. It never looks real and the plots, as in this film, are really corny and impossible to believe. In this case, it's a female ape (it really does NOT look like an orangutan, chimp OR gorilla) and it is in love with Stanley. Not only is this extremely contrived, but it's really nasty as well.The final verdict--stick with Laurel and Hardy, not "Laurel and Hardy and guy in crappy ape costume".
Sorry to see that Bob The Moo found this to be one of the weaker L&H shorts . By no means a classic compared to something like MURDER CASE it is very amusing . I guess if Bob saw this before watching THEIR FIRST MISTAKE we might have found this the superior short ? If THE CHIMP has a problem it's down to the internal logic and coincidence involved . For example if a circus went bust wouldn't the owner sell the animals to a zoo rather than give them away free to his now unemployed staff ? it's also strange that a lion can roam around an American city all day without someone calling the police , and what's the chances of a chimp arriving at a hotel where the landlord's wife has the same name as it ? Maybe you have to suspend disbelief a couple of times too often but I certainly found it very funny and well paced
I have a fondness for "The Chimp" as it was the first time I saw a Laurel and Hardy film. That was about 1983 and I haven't stopped laughing at Stan and Ollie's antics ever since. In the above film, they are members of the local circus. Due to their blundering incompetence, the circus has to close up. Regulars James Finlayson and Tiny Sandford make welcome appearances during the opening scene. Ollie doesn't particularly care for a comment made by Stan at the beginning of the film. The owner being flat broke, gives his employees a share of the circus in place of their salary. Each person draws a certain animal. In the case of Laurel and Hardy, the former picks the box of fleas and the latter a gorilla named Ethel. After being chased by the lion of the circus, the three of them need to find a room for the night. That is where the trouble begins! I laugh myself silly, every time I watch the bit where Ollie can't retrieve his own trousers and Ethel lends a hand! Her and Ollie don't get on too well but she likes Stan alright. The scene where Ollie is stalked by the same lion is very funny. Billy Gilbert is on top form as a somewhat perturbed landlord of the boarding house where Ollie attempts to procure a room. He has hardly rung the doorbell before he is yanked into the building and wonders what the hell is going on! To his credit, Billy Gilbert is sincere in his apologises. Gilbert was certainly blessed with a powerful voice and he puts it to good use (David Niven eat your heart out). The dancing scene was well done as Stan and Ollie struggle to get some sleep. "The Chimp" is a bit longer than the usual comedy short, clocking in at 25 minutes. It is a joy though.
After Laurel and Hardy blow up Jimmy Finlayson's circus, the troupe is paid off with parts of the show. Stan gets the flea circus and Ollie gets Ethel the gorilla, played of course by Charlie Gemora. The lion follows them. For the night they take a room in Billy Gilbert's hotel; Gilbert, of course, objects to having a gorilla in his hotel, but has no trouble with the Boys. At first.It's the third time Laurel and Hardy made a short about staying in a hotel with an animal; the earlier versions are ANGORA LOVE (with a goat) and LAUGHING GRAVY (a dog). This elaborate three-reel comedy spends most of its length dealing with the circus and getting into the hotel. Although some of the gags are repeated, there's plenty of new stuff to keep people laughing.