The Midnight Patrol is a short American pre-Code comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy released August 3, 1933.
Laurel and Hardy play two policemen on night patrol, hence the title. They are given instructions to investigate a reported break-in but in the process of gathering the details from HQ they stumble upon a would be thief who is attempting to crack the safe of a small store. Laurel mistakes him for the store owner, even going so far as to give assistance in the safe cracking, when Hardy enters to see what is keeping Laurel the boys manage to work out that the thief is not the store owner and rather than arrest him order him to appear in court at a date to suit the criminal. The boys head back to their car only to find the same thief attempting to steal it, angered Hardy insists that he must ‘appear Tuesday’ after all (a day the criminal is planning a bank robbery).
On arriving at the alleged crime scene the audience sees that the case is that the owner of the mansion got locked out and so there is no actual robber or robbery at the location. The boys however are unaware of this and attempt to break down the front door and eventually manage to succeed with great effort, having causing a great deal of damage to the property they proceed to arrest the owner of the property who they perceive to be the robber.
The boys bring the suspect in to great praise by their colleagues, however the real identity of the ‘robber’ soon becomes apparent as the other officers recognize him as the Chief of Police. Realizing their error Hardy explains that they are ‘new’, the Chief seemingly does not accept this excuse and as the boys flee off-screen he opens fire. The other officers then remove their hats indicating that deaths have occurred and the Chief says “send for the coroner”.
Stan Laurel as Officer Stanley Laurel
Oliver Hardy as Officer Oliver Hardy
Louise Beavers as Maid (scenes deleted)
Harry Bernard as Jail visitor
Billy Bletcher as the voice of the Radio dispatcher
Frank Brownlee as Police Chief Ramsbottom
Edgar Dearing as Policeman
Charlie Hall as Tire thief’s partner
Bob Kortman as Tire thief
James C. Morton as Policeman
Walter Plinge (real name Frank Terry) as Safecracker
Tiny Sandford as Policeman
This is one of only two Laurel & Hardy films where the boys end up deceased.
The Stoke-on-Trent Laurel & Hardy tent is named ‘The Midnight Patrol Tent’ in honour of this film as well as the San Jose, California tent.
The two cars featured in the movie are the 1927 Cadillac Standard Line for the police car and 1925 Chevrolet Superior for the street thugs.