Swiss Miss (1938): Comedy Produced by Hal Roach, Starring Laurel and Hardy, Piano, Gorilla, and Tempermental Opera Star

In this comedy, produced by Hal Roach, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are mousetrap salesmen go to Switzerland for business reasons. The move is based on Stan’s simple theory that, because there is more cheese there, there will also be more mice.

While visiting one village, the villagers are indifferent, and a cheese shop owner cons them out of their wares with a bogus banknote.  They are forced to work as dishwashers in a hotel after ordering a slap-up meal they are unable to pay for.  The insulted chef Luigi (Ludovico Tomarchio) tells them that for each broken dish, they will work another day.

A Viennese composer at the hotel is disrupted by his wife Delia (Anna Albert), an opera singer who upstages him on every and any occasion. In due time, Ollie falls in love with her.

Other funny (mis)adventures: Laurel gets drunk on a St. Bernard’s keg of brandy.  Then there’s confrontation with street musician’s gorilla (played by Charles Gemora) on a perilously-perched rope bridge, while carting a piano to an isolated house so the composer can work in peace. This struggle ends with the bridge breaking and the portable piano and gorilla plunging into the abyss.

The smashing of the piano forces the composer to use an organ near the staircase, until a replacement is delivered.

Assigned to wash the stairs, the couple inadvertently dump soap water into the organ pipes, causing the music to be accompanied by bubbles.

In love with the opera singer, the chef sees Hardy as a rival, after he is awakened by Stan playing the tuba outside his window. The guys think it was the singer’s window, so Hardy sings to serenade her. The angry chef douses Hardy with a pitcher of water.

The rivalry leads to a wild chase. The boys overpower the hotel’s chef and visit the singer, only to discover she is married to the composer. Leaving the hotel, they are confronted by the vengeful gorilla that hurls his crutch at them before they escape.

Gemora, who plays the gorilla, had appeared in the title role of Laurel and Hardy’s short, The Chimp.  The team made several shorts which were released theatrically.


Shot in black and white by Norbert Nordine

Running time: 73 minutes

Release date: May 20, 1938


TCM tribute to Laurel and Hardy, January 7, 2019.