Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Sondek, Sep 23, 2018.
Amazing - the magic is already there !
Because I'm weird.
A very rare pre-teaming short:
Anyone like Neil Brand's "Stan"? I thought it was pretty good.
I love L&H,and it's good to see a film that looks at the behind the scenes aspect of their careers.
The film will probably do well in England and Europe, where people still remember L&H.
Ollie looks pretty good, but his voice sounds nothing like the real Oliver Hardy's. But I think Stan Laurel is nailed down better.
Review: Stan and Ollie is "a fine bromance" (BBC)
By Nicholas Barber
22 October 2018
In 1953, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were no longer the box-office giants they had been, but they weren’t yet the legends they’d become. Almost as hapless as the half-witted bumblers they played in their classic films, they couldn’t find work in the US, and so they set off on a tour of British theatres – half-empty British theatres, at that. Hardy had heart problems and a bad knee, which made it painful for him to get through their routines. Their fans’ praise could be pretty painful, too. “I think it’s amazing that you two are still going strong,” chirps one woman in Stan & Ollie, a comedy drama about the 1953 tour, “still using the same old material!”
The film could easily have been depressing – a tragedy, even, in which a pair of 60-something has-beens face that final curtain. But the film-makers are too deeply in love with Laurel and Hardy to take them anywhere so dark. Directed by Jon S Baird (Filth) and written by Jeff Pope (Philomena), Stan & Ollie glows with respect and affection for its title characters, their long and loyal friendship and their immortal comic brilliance.
Stan & Ollie is a film you watch with a lump in your throat, but with a smile on your face
It’s also suffused with that nostalgia for mid-20th-Century Britain that is currently keeping the UK’s film industry afloat (see also: Breathe, Their Finest, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and many more). Everywhere, there are spotless steam trains, shiny vintage cars and well-cut suits. Even the supposedly shabby hotels where Laurel and Hardy stay at the start of the tour seem warm and cosy. In some scenes, their surroundings are no more believable than the back projection we see them using when they’re shooting Way Out West. But there is nothing fake about the fondness that Baird and his team have for their beleaguered, disappointed yet touchingly positive heroes. The mood is determinedly upbeat and the dialogue crackles with humour, even when the duo is in another fine mess, as the catchphrase goes. Stan & Ollie is a film you watch with a lump in your throat, but with a smile on your face.
Nowhere is its fondness for Laurel and Hardy more apparent than in the committed performances of its stars, Steve Coogan and John C Reilly. Coogan, of course, plays Laurel (who was from Lancashire in the north of England, as Coogan is). He may have been a whimpering man-child on film, but behind the scenes Laurel is the brains of the operation. A businessman and a workaholic, he resents Hardy’s failure to support him in his contract negotiations with their former boss Hal Roach (a cameo by Danny Huston), but he would rather resort to a joke or a pratfall than talk about his feelings. When Laurel and Hardy aren’t on stage together, he is alone in his room, polishing the script for the Robin Hood comedy he is planning.
Hardy, played by Reilly, goes along for the ride. Ollie was the one with the grand plans on screen, but off screen he is content with a drink, a cigarette and enough money to pay off his bookmakers and ex-wives: his two biggest vices are horses and divorces.
Coogan and Reilly do an extremely difficult job extremely well, in that their versions of Laurel and Hardy are recognisable as the iconic clowns from the duo’s own films, but also convincing as rounded human beings. Reilly has Hardy’s dainty finger-waggling wave and his bashful smile, and Coogan has Laurel’s adenoidal mewl and his fussily precise mannerisms. And having been Alan Partridge for so many years, he is a past master at playing a celebrity who can present a professional mask to the cameras, cracked as it is by insecurities.
The actors are so skilled, in fact, that you soon stop noticing the rubbery prosthetics. Reilly’s false jowls make him look as if he has a balloon wedged under his chin, while Coogan’s artificially elongated jaw gives him a strange resemblance to Rob Brydon, his own comedy partner in Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip. But the men are so comfortable in their roles, and with each other, that by the end of the opening scene – a slick six-minute tracking shot of “the boys” walking and talking through a Hollywood studio in 1937 – you’ll be willing to accept that them as close friends and colleagues, and you’ll relish the prospect of being in their company for the next hour and a half.
Not that Coogan and Reilly turn in the film’s only awards-worthy performances. Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson come close to stealing the show as Laurel’s wife Ida and Hardy’s wife Lucille, respectively, who join their husbands in England for the tour’s last dates. If Laurel and Hardy are fundamentally too nice to one another to supply the conflict that this sort of true-life drama demands, Mrs Laurel and Mrs Hardy make up the shortfall, and the sniping between the tough Russian and the sharp American provides some of the film’s funniest sequences. “Two double acts for the price of one,” cracks the tour’s slippery British promoter (Rufus Jones, who comes quite close to stealing the show, too) – and he’s right.
When the time comes for the lead characters to vent their frustrations in an inevitable argument, it’s a short, forced exchange which suggests that nobody’s heart is really in it. While most biopics of showbiz double acts revel in the participants’ mutual loathing, Stan and Ollie prefers to get past the disagreements as quickly as possible, so that its heroes can get back to crooning The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from Way Out West, or recreating the hospital visit from County Hospital.
Nothing much is at stake. It’s not exactly a spoiler to say that Laurel and Hardy didn’t become Hollywood superstars again in the 1950s, so you know all along where the tour is heading: there is less tension in this film than there is in most of the duo’s comedies. But Stan & Ollie is a homage – a tip of the bowler hat – that is too heartfelt to resist. It’s not another fine mess, but a fine bromance.
The release date for this movie is in this Friday and the theater is supposed to be at knows nothing about it plus it seems release date is gone from their site: Stan And Ollie at an AMC Theatre near you Did it get pushed back?
In North America, this film is in extremely limited release in New York and L.A. to qualify for Oscar consideration; wider release is sometime in January, depending on your city.
Why does Europe remember them more fondly ?
Thank you very much!
Looks good I must say.
In England, a national broadcaster like the BBC reportedly still runs Laurel & Hardy shorts now and then . Good luck having something like that in North America, where CBS even colors old I Love Lucy reruns for their annual Lucy Christmas special. Has anyone ever seen L & H on regular tv in the last 25 years or so, with the exception of TCM ?
The Laurel and Hardy shorts were also available in a box set in England and other European countries for something like 10 years before they ever made it to dvd here. And when they did, the format was slowing down from the golden years of physical discs and reportedly some of the bonus features were cut back because of this.
People can't remember Laurel and Hardy if they never see them...
Although this may not be the case, I wonder if the reason that Laurel & Hardy remain popular in the U. K. is that they humor carries there in a way that it doesn't with other comedy teams. Although it may seem odd, it could be related to The Pink Panther, where among the reasons he works internationally is that his humor is visual and he (usually) doesn't speak (eliminating the language barrier). Just an observation, please correct me if I'm wrong.
Agree 100% that L & H's visual style translates all language barriers . (Americans probably wonder why Rowan Atkinson has made three Johnny English movies that virtually nobody in the U.S. sees, but Atkinson is tremendously popular almost everywhere else in the world for much the same reason).
Also doesn't hurt that Stan was born in England.
What Johnny English doesn't translate in America ?
Thanks for updates in the Thread, look forward to seeing it on big screen.
Been binge watching L&H lately and I love love love them!!! Can't get enough. Bought the 10 disc set. What a joy they are. Truly hilarious. James Finlayson deserves a mention! He cracks me up.
L&H deserve a resurgence/appreciation like the Stooges have had.
It doesn't translate with me. About as funny as a dose of the clap.
I miss Giffen’s JLA. It’s such a dull book now. Same old same old. Yawn...
John C. Reilly was on Colbert a little while back. They actually showed a clip and chatted about this movie, instead of Holmes and Watson, which was presumably aimed at a bigger audience and was coming out sooner. (That kind of shows how little faith they had in that one.)
Anyway, I thought it looked really good. Reilly and Coogan are two of my favorites.
To me, the problem with the Giffen Era "JLA" is the same problem that often occurs in other media: Something is a hit, then they try to duplicate it until it is driven into the ground. Justice League led to Justice League International which was good, which lead to Justice League Europe which wasn't as good (often the humor just did not work), to JLA Quarterly which was okay. A problem was, they tried to duplicate the humor of the original but it just didn't work.
The subsequent Creative Teams were able to do some great stories. The Justice League vs. Despero* is one of the best stories I'd read in a long time and showed that Justice League as truly heroic despite their reputation as jokes and facing a foe who completely outclasses them.
In a way, I think that Justice League came about due to a unique set of circumstances at that time that could not be duplicated. Had they been able to go with their original concept (the return to greatness with "Big Seven", Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and The Martian Manhunter), it is unlikely that it would have resulted in the Justice League we got.
For me now, the problem is that the DC Universe has become so confusing that I just can't generate much interest in their comics anymore. It seems like any character I get into will soon be changed once again.
*Despero at that time was like a combination of The Incredible Hulk and Professor X.
(How did this thread suddenly become about comic books??)
The Beatles were busy.
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