The Dancing Masters


1h 3m 1943

Brief Synopsis

The boys operate a ballet school (appearing in drag) and try to help a young inventor sell his idea, to get in the good graces of his girl's father. In their efforts, they get involved with a gang of insurance racketeers. All ends well.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Matter of Money
Release Date
Nov 19, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,611ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, proprietors of the Arthur Hurry School of Dancing, are in financial trouble despite the assistance of their friend and pupil, Trudy Harlan. One afternoon, the boys are intimidated by racketeers posing as insurance salesmen, and Ollie takes out a policy on Stan, unaware that it is worthless. The same day, Trudy goes to her father's munitions factory to visit her boyfriend, inventor Grant Lawrence. Harlan disapproves of Grant and wants Trudy to marry George Worthing, one of his executives. When the jealous Grant "accidentally" gives Worthing a minor burn, Harlan fires him. Trudy consoles Grant by inviting him, Stan and Ollie for dinner that evening after her parents and Worthing leave on a business trip. Their party is interrupted, however, when the Harlans and Worthing return unexpectedly. Stan and Ollie hide upstairs, but Harlan catches Grant in his study and orders him to stay away from Trudy. After Grant leaves, Worthing informs Harlan that the invisible, explosive ray invented by Grant looks promising, and that he may be able to obtain the plans after Grant runs out of money. After some tricky manuvering, Stan and Ollie escape from the Harlan home, but their troubles escalate the next day when their landlord threatens to evict them from the dancing academy unless they pay their rent by noon. Stan convinces Ollie to withdraw their nest egg from the bank, but through a series of misunderstandings, the boys use the money to buy a grandfather clock at an auction. The clock is destroyed by a truck as the boys attempt to carry it home, but they are soon distracted from their problems when Trudy asks them to help Grant. The friends concoct a plan whereby Stan and Ollie, posing as the foreign Professor Findash Gorp and his assistant, will demonstrate the ray to Harlan, who they hope will buy it. The demonstration is a disaster, as Stan and Ollie not only set the Harlan home on fire, but also destroy Grant's machine. Desperate to replace Grant's equipment, Ollie decides to engineer an accident that will break Stan's leg and allow them to collect $10,000 from the insurance policy, which they are still unaware is a fake. While Ollie roams the streets with Stan, who remains blissfully unaware of his partner's intentions, Worthing, hoping to ingratiate himself with Harlan, brings him the blueprints of Grant's invention. Horrified that Worthing would steal Grant's ideas, Harlan orders him to leave and promises Trudy that he will finance Grant's work. Ollie, meanwhile, hears a passerby say that he broke his leg while standing on a roller coaster, and takes Stan on a bus headed for the boardwalk. When a dog with white frosting on its mouth scares away the other passengers and the driver, the boys are left alone on the out-of-control bus. Stan falls out of the bus and is unharmed, but the bus bounces up onto the roller coaster track, and after a wild ride, Ollie is the one who suffers a broken leg. Later, Trudy and Grant visit the hospital where Ollie is in traction, and tell him and Stan the good news about Grant's partnership with Harlan.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Matter of Money
Release Date
Nov 19, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,611ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was A Matter of Money, which was also the title of George Bricker's original screen story. Although Trudy Marshall's character is referred to as "Mary Harlan" by reviews, she is called "Trudy Harlan" in the film. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, George Melford was to be in the cast, but his appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed.
       According to a July 20, 1943 studio press release, contained in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, after viewing the rushes, producer Lee Marcus ordered the film to be expanded from six reels to eight, and that for the extra two reels, Marcus "allowed them [Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy] a free hand in the type of gags to be used and allowed Stan and Ollie to prepare their own scripts." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, writer/actor Charles Rogers wrote "gags" for the picture near the end of production, suggesting that further shooting was intended, but the extent of Rogers' contribution to the completed screenplay has not been determined. A June 30, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item also announced that extra footage was to be added, but it has not been determined if the additional sequences were ever filmed. Many modern sources assert that the comedy team was not allowed to contribute to the screenplays of their Twentieth Century-Fox films, as they had done for their Hal Roach pictures in the 1930s.