Lh saps at sea
Lh saps at sea poster

Saps at Sea is a Laurel & Hardy sound feature film released 3 May 1940.


Stan and Ollie work in a horn factory, where Ollie is already under stress from all the incessant noise. A worker is carted out after having gone insane, the latest casualty of the work environment and the "fourth one this week" according to a watching police officer. Ollie is sent home after developing "hornophobia", which results in his going crazy each time he hears horns or horn-based musical instruments. A physician, warning that he could develop a more serious condition, "hornomania," prescribes a relaxing boat trip and goat's milk. Ollie dismisses the idea because he is afraid to sail on the ocean, but Stan offers an alternative, renting a boat and keeping it attached to the dock, getting all the sea air they can while never actually going out to sea.

When one of the boys tries to turn on the taps and gas hobs, the one opposite goes on instead due to the janitor being cross-eyed, which results in Stan destroying half the kitchen area with a gas explosion and Ollie vowing to find the janitor and give him a very large piece of his mind. On the way down, Ollie is accosted by his Scottish neighbor who inquires as to whether he is having trouble with his apartment, then drags him into hers when he confirms it to be all "topsy-turvy". She shows him what happened when she turned on her radio that morning, causing her fridge to loudly blare music when opened, while the radio itself is covered in an indiscernible white substance, so Ollie will give the janitor a piece of her mind as well. When Stan's trombone teacher arrives and Ollie, returning from a fight with the janitor, hears the music, goes berserk and throws the teacher out, he knows he should take that advice. Phoning the hotel manager to complain that the teacher was allowed in, Ollie is accidentally knocked out the window and into the street.

Stan and Ollie rent an unseaworthy boat called Prickly Heat that is supposed to stay moored to the dock. Later that night an escaped murderer named Nick Grainger stows away on the boat to avoid being caught by the police. The goat they have brought to provide milk chews away at the docking line, and the boat drifts out to sea. The next day Nick confronts Stan and Ollie with a gun, which he affectionately names "Nick Jr." He renames Ollie and Stan "Dizzy and Dopey" and, taking command over the boat, tells them to make him breakfast. They have no food on board, so they decide to prepare Nick a "synthetic" breakfast made up of string, soap and whatever else they can find. Nick spies on them and realizes what they are up to, and forces them to eat the fake food. Upon noticing his trombone, Stan remembers Ollie's violent reaction to horns and starts to play it. Ollie goes into a berserker rage and overcomes the criminal. In fact, a few times Stan pauses to catch his breath, and the overheating trombone starts to emit smoke--and Ollie has to call to him to keep playing the horn, in order for him to become enraged enough to keep fighting Nick. Eventually he knocks Nick out cold.

When the police arrive in another boat to take Nick into custody, Stan demonstrates to them how he got Hardy powered up, by playing the mangled trombone. Ollie again flies into a blind horn-induced rage and mindlessly assaults one of the cops, the boys are arrested and thrown into jail in the same cell with unconscious Nick. Ollie says "another nice mess you've gotten me into" and Stan whimpers.


  • Stan Laurel as Stan
  • Oliver Hardy as Ollie
  • Richard Cramer as Nick Granger
  • James Finlayson as Dr. Finlayson
  • Ben Turpin as Cross-eyed plumber
  • Eddie Conrad as Prof. O'Brien
  • Charlie Hall as Desk clerk
  • Harry Bernard as Harbor Patrol captain
  • Patsy O'Byrne as Mother
  • Francesca Santoro as Little girl
  • Harry Hayden as Mr. Sharp
  • Robert McKenzie as Capt. McKenzie
  • Patsy Moran as Switchboard operator
  • Gene Morgan as First policeman
  • Mary Gordon as Mrs. O'Riley
  • Eddie Borden as Berserk employee