Filmsite Movie Review
Way Out West (1937)
Pages: (1) (2)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

In a woodsy area, they set up camp, stringing up a clothesline so Ollie can dry his clothes. To light Ollie's pipe, Stan ignites his thumb because their matches are wet. Having lost an idle bet when he boasted about getting the deed back, Ollie decides to teach Stan that he mustn't make "rash promises." Stan has to eat Ollie's derby hat in another memorable scene:

Ollie: You said that if we didn't get the deed that you'd eat my hat.
Stan: Oh, now you're taking me illiterally.
Ollie: Nevertheless, I'm going to teach you not to make rash promises. Eat the hat!
Stan: (crying) I've never eaten a hat before.

He starts crying initially, and then apprehensively eats a very crunchy piece. Unbelievably after a few bites, chews, and gulps, he realizes that he likes its taste immensely. He tucks a napkin/kerchief into his collar, salts the derby, and takes great gusto in consuming it. Bewildered by what he has witnessed and to stop him from finishing his hat, Ollie snatches it back. While Stan is getting Ollie's clothes off the line, Ollie takes one furtive nibble, but the taste makes him grimace and spit it out immediately.

In one of the funniest slapstick sequences in cinematic history - the major set piece of the film, they attempt, by cover of night, to break into Finn's safe on the second floor of the saloon where the deed is located. Their first effort is to break into the Mickey Finn Palace through the front door. Stan successfully opens the lock of the iron guard gate, but Ollie struggles with the front door. Stan helps by getting behind him and pushing. Ollie crashes through the door, setting off an alarm, and sending them scurrying off in terror. Mickey Finn is awakened and comes down to investigate, but he is puzzled because he doesn't see anyone. Ollie reprimands Stan: "What did you want to go and push me in there like that for? You were the dumbest thing I ever saw."

They plan their next attack behind the saloon. Stan suggests that Ollie climb up on a shed to get to the balcony where the upper floor window is located. To provide help, Stan hoists Ollie's huge body up onto the shed, but his pal's tremendous weight causes him to crash through almost immediately. The noise and clatter startles and alerts Mickey Finn again, and he sits up in bed and races out the front door with a shotgun in hand.

With inspired stupidity and a block and tackle apparatus attached to the building, Stan hoists Ollie up with a rope trussed up around his large middle to the second floor's upstairs window. Ollie crosses his fingers on both hands, for good luck, and looks straight at the camera with a knowing glance. Of course, this idea fails when Stan pauses for a final pull and lets go to spit on his fingers: "Wait a minute until I spit on me hands!" Ollie's body is sent plummeting to the ground. They make up a game of seeing who can upend the other by pulling on the rope. After a few falls, Ollie decides to chastise Stan by slapping him on the palm of his extended hand with one end of the rope. Ollie hits him solidly - on the head, yet Stan reacts as if he has been hit painfully on the hand. He shakes, rubs and blows on his hand to lessen the pain.

In another attempt, they devise a rope-pulley system by tying one end of the rope to their mule Dinah, using the animal as a counterweight to get Ollie to the second floor. Stan mounts the mule and rides forward, causing Ollie to move upward. But when Stan obligingly gets off the mule to hand Ollie the break-in tools from the saddlebag, Ollie's weight sends the mule whooshing up in the air to the second floor balcony instead. Ollie is sent crashing down through the saloon's storm-cellar door. Stan gestures to Dinah: "Wait there. We'll be right up!" The mule noisily brays at them from the balcony. Lola chokes Mickey, thinking the strange noises are from his "laughing" in his sleep.

After finally succeeding in getting into the house by entering through the smashed door of the storm-cellar, they emerge through a trap-door opening. With a finger to his lips and a "shhh," Ollie warns Stan to keep quiet, but Stan accidentally drops the trapdoor on Ollie's head when Mary Roberts sees them and screams. Ollie's round head is the only part of his body that protrudes through the wooden trap-door. To hide Ollie's noggin when Finn races down the stairs with his gun, Stan covers Ollie's head with a bucket. The solidly-positioned bucket is kicked by Finn as he leaves, causing Ollie to have a bruised, swollen red nose. Stan's explanation of their presence to Mary is brilliantly pantomimed behind a closed door. Stan alerts her to flee with them from town as soon as they find the deed. And then to extricate his pal, he pulls, pushes, and twists Ollie's head, stretching his neck a few feet and snapping it back through the hole. After emerging through the trap door, Ollie exclaims hurtfully: "Oh me apple!"

The two sneak through the saloon, trying to keep as quiet as possible. But Stan foolishly inserts a coin into one of the slot machines - he hits the jackpot and the machine noisily rings and pays off. Coins spill all over the place as Stan looks on in dismay. Ollie is upset at him and doesn't allow him to pick up his winnings: "What did you want to go and do that for?" When their candle flames goes out, Stan magically ignites his thumb and lights their lamp. Up until this point, Ollie has vainly attempted to duplicate the trick, but has failed every time. He now tries one more time and to his astonished fear, his thumb lights up. He is terrified and jumps around, not knowing how to put the flame out.

Again, the disturbances alert Mickey Finn who makes another excursion downstairs to discover the source of the noises. The two hide in the body of a piano to escape notice but their movements on the piano wires give them away. When Finn lifts the lid and sees them there, he tortures them by sitting down and playing a raucous tune, causing the felt hammers of the sounding board of the instrument to pummel the boys' noses. The crescendos of his thunderous piece force them to emerge from the piano. When he pushes the lid down on them to crush them, the bottom of the piano falls out from their weight.

In the confusion, Ollie seizes Finn's shotgun and orders him upstairs to the safe to give them the deed. They force Lola to remain in her bedroom, and then tie Finn up in his bedroom to the ceiling light fixture in a diaper-like sling, strait-jacketing him in the bedsheets they have wrapped around him. The boys crash down the stairs with Dinah in tow, just as the fixture pulls out of the ceiling, sending plaster and Finn to the floor. Hot in pursuit after them, Finn's head is caught and stuck in his own anti-burglar guard gate, imprisoning him in the front of his own saloon.

They successfully manage to save the day and get the deed to Mary. As they head out of town toward the gold mine with Mary, they reach the town's outskirts.

Ollie: Well, now that our troubles are over, where do we go from here?
Mary: Well, I'd like to go back to the town where I was born.
Ollie: Where is that?
Mary: Way down South.
Ollie: Are you from the South?
Mary: I sure am.
Ollie (proudly): Well, fan mah brow, I'm from the South.
Mary: You are?
Stan: Well, shut mah mouth, I's from the South too!
Ollie (imperiously): The south of what, suh?
Stan: The south of London.
Ollie (scornfully): London! (patting Mary on the shoulder) Well honey, we'll all go down to Dixie. Oh, for a slice of possum and yam.
Stan: Yes sir, and some good ol' fish and chips. I can smell 'em.
Ollie (in disgust): Fish and chips!

As they proceed on their way, the three begin singing "We're Going to Go Way Down to Dixie." Ollie nearly drowns again in the creek's pothole in the closing moments. Stan, Mary, and the mule hardly notice and continue along.

Previous Page