.......... ..........

    Save The Ship    
    Directors:  George Jeske & Hal Roach
Producer:  Hal Roach
Cinematography:  Robert Doran
    Hal Roach Studios/Pathé Exchange
18 November 1923
  ....... This one-reeler opens with Stan looking visibly ill, holding a towel to his head.  A middle-aged woman, her husband (Mark Jones) and a young lady (Marie Mosquini) try a variety of measures to comfort him by offering medicines, alcohol and even water to cure him but he rejects them all.  Then the camera pulls pack to reveal that the group are actually afloat and living under a small tent whilst on a wooden square rig on the ocean.  It appears that Stan's problem is sea-sickness and in his efforts to go outside the tent for some fresh air, he ends up falling overboard.  The rest of the family hear the splash and come to investigate/help.  The father-in-law in his infinite wisdom narrowly avoids the wet by clinging onto the gate which (for some unknown reason) has been erected around the parameter.  Stan then proceeds to the rear of the tent where he digs through a patch of dirt to find worms so he can use them as bait for some fishing.  He sets up the rod at one of the corners of the rig and casts the line out, but the hook catches his trousers and causes them to be ripped down.  After enduring this for a seemingly long time eventually he is assisted by his wife, who takes over the fishing duties.
Her efforts are thwarted however by Stan's multi-tasking of trying to get her to hold the rod correctly whilst navigating his clothing to an appropriate and dignified position.  After a while the father-in-law comes to help out but he too falls victim to the sea as he tumbles over the side in comical fashion (twice).  After being fished out of the sea, his wife comes along and confines him to the tent to keep him out of trouble.  Meanwhile, Stan and his wife have an exchange of words before she storms off and leaves him to do the fishing.  He appears to be successful as he gleefully performs to the camera when he feels movement on the line, but in his excitement falls flat on his back.  He resumes his position as the father-in-law manages to sneak out of the tent undetected armed with his own fishing rod and sets up his place a yard or so away from Stan on the corner of the platform.
Unseen by Stan, he is nipped in the bottom by a well-directed barracuda, but it disappears from sight before he realises what has happened.  Assuming it was the father-in-law, he thinks no more of it until it happens a second time.  This time he reacts strongly by kicking away his leaning stick and sending his in-law into the water - now for a third soaking.  He gets out, furious and takes a swing at Stan but misses and it's soaking number four for the poor guy!  This time when he gets out of the sea, however he has the offending fish attached to his rear.
In his realisation/celebration he swings around and knocks both his wife and Stan to the ground.  Once again, he is escorted inside the tent (by the ear!) as Stan continues to try his luck with the fishing.  Soon he begins to have some luck and starts catching fish, but they are not ordinary fish; these have wings!  When Stan eventually realises he grabs a rifle and fires up at the flying creature which sinks the rig.  Coincidentally just at that moment a speeding lifeboat comes to the rescue and the group all climb on board.
The ladies climb in as Stan takes to the canoe which is being towed by the boat, soon to be followed by the father-in-law who emerges once more from the sea.  Unfortunately as the rescue boat starts to tow them to safety, the rope line connecting the two boats becomes unfastened and the boats become separated.  Soon after, the two men struggle to clear an excess amount of water which has formed in the base of their boat and after they rest for a while they start to realise how cold they are.  A not-too-clever idea to light a fire in the all-wooden boat is put into motion which results in the inevitable!  For the final scene the barracuda returns to inflict one last nip - this time it's the life preserver which is floating on the surface of the water (along with the playing cards Stan is using), popping it and sending Stan beneath the water.

Favourite bit    
      It's when Mark Jones (playing the father-in-law) first falls into the water.  He has come out to take over the fishing duties from Stan and his wife (Marie Mosquini), but as he takes charge of the rod, the fish on the other end of the line tugs him overboard, causing him to do perform a humourous flip.  What's good about the scene is how he manages to keep one foot firmly on the floor as he does the stunt.  Visually it is the best moment in a film otherwise devoid of anything remotely funny.  His final stunt where he sinks beneath the water on the burning boat is also quite impressive to watch too.
•This film was originally released in the UK on VHS tape in 1990 as part of "The Stan Laurel Centenary Collection" (which is how I first saw it).  This film has never been released on DVD (to the best of my knowledge).
Did you notice?
•Stan is wearing black underwear.
•There are four chickens on the floating platform.
•Some baracudas have a perfect sense of direction, don't they?
•The number of times the actors end up in the sea: Mark Jones 6, Stan Laurel 2.
•When Mark Jones falls into the sea after Stan kicks away his leaning stick, he still has his pipe in his mouth.

Stan Laurel
Marie Mosquini
Mark Jones
Sunshine Hart


Laurel Or Hardy by Rob Stone (book)
Steve Rydzewski (identification of Sunshine Hart)

This page was last updated on: 13 June 2020