Bonnie Scotland (1935) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson
Bonnie Scotland involves Laurel and Hardy heading to Scotland, where they hope to inherit “Stan MacLaurel’s” inheritance. We see the pair walking into town as a blacksmith’s anvil hammers out their signature tune. They check in at a local hotel, where the proprietor, Mrs. Bickerdike (Mary Gordon) tells the story of how Stan’s recently-deceased grandfather had his heart broken by Stan’s father, who had run away to America. Meanwhile, at the reading of the will, the romantic love interest of the movie is revealed, as Stan’s cousin (played by the beautiful June Lang) is going to inherit the bulk of the estate, and is forced to travel to India to be near her “guardian”. The lawyer’s clerk is in love with her, and is dismayed by the turn of events.
When Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy show up, (a hilarious scene in itself) they find out that Stan’s inheritance consists of a set of bagpipes and an antique snuff box. The snuff box leads to a very funny scene on a bridge, where Ollie tries to show Stanley how to use snuff – ending with Ollie falling off the bridge and sneezing uncontrollably – a very funny scene, indeed.
This leads, indirectly, to the bulk of the movie. Since Oliver’s clothes are now soaking wet, they retreat to their hotel room – which they now realize that they can’t pay for – and Oliver orders Stanley to dry his clothes out over the fireplace. In typical Stan Laurel fashion, Stan unintentionally destroys Ollie’s only pair of pants, stranding him in the room. Eventually, the landlady becomes tired of their repeated promises to make good on their bill “once the inheritance comes through” and, after Ollie nearly destroys the room (thanks to Stan frying a fish under the bed – a classic scene) throws them both out onto the street, but holding onto their luggage until they pay their bill.
Luck appears to be on their side, as they see an advertisement for a free suit of clothes. They enter the shop, and think that they are filling out the paperwork for Ollie’s new suit, but in actuality, they are enlisting in the Scottish army! They are soon decked out in kilts, and their regiment is deployed to India – and the lawyer’s bank clerk joins the regiment, in order to be near his “true love.”
Once in India, they become the scourge of their suffering sergeant, played by Laurel and Hardy regular James Finlayson. There’s quite a bit of comedy whenever Laurel and Hardy are on the screen, but the romantic subplot seems to drag the movie down at points. All in all, Bonnie Scotland is reminiscent of their short film Beau Hunks at this point, complete with the boys inadvertently rescuing their fort – this time with the help of bees nests. Bonnie Scotland is perhaps not their finest film, but it shines whenever Laurel and Hardy are on the screen, and I rate it 4 clowns out of 5.
Funny movie quotes for Bonnie Scotland, starring Laurel and Hardy
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): We would like for you to give us a room and a bath.
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): I can give you the room, but you’ll have to take the bath yourself.
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): You see, he had a no-good son by name of Sandy, who ran away to America and married a Queen.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Royalty?
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): Royalty! No, a burlesque queen! One of those play actors, and the old man never forgive him.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Well, what became of Sandy?
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): They had a wee baby boy, and when Sandy saw the baby for the first time, he committed suicide.
Stanley MacLaurel (Stan Laurel): Can you beat that? What a face that kid must have had.
Ollie (Oliver Hardy): Sandy was your father, and I don’t blame him.
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): Where is Mr. Hardy? I haven’t seen him in the past three weeks.
Stanley MacLaurel (Stan Laurel): Oh, he’s awful sick.
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): Is that a fact?
Stanley MacLaurel (Stan Laurel): Hoot, ma’am. You know the day he fell in the water he got an awful cold, and it turned into pneumatics.
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): Is he very sick?
Stanley MacLaurel (Stan Laurel): You’re darn hootin’ he’s sick! You know the only thing he can keep on his stomach is a hot water bottle.
Mrs Bickerdike (Mary Gordon): My, my, what a predicament!
Stanley MacLaurel (Stan Laurel): Yeah! I think he’s got that too.
Trivia for Laurel and Hardy’s Bonnie Scotland
- The sets from The Little Minister (1934) were used for the Scottish scenes.
- Barry Norton was originally cast in the role of the romantic juvenile, but he was deemed inappropriate for the role and was replaced by William Janney.
- The date on the office calendar in Bonnie Scotland is June 16, the same day as Stan Laurel’s birthday.
- Although June Lang played the romantic ingenue, she never worked with Laurel and Hardy on this picture and, in fact, never met them.