Hello everyone! 🙂
Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!
I’ve seen the movie ‘Stan & Ollie’ at the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it a heartfelt biographical account of my favourite comedy duo, Laurel & Hardy. The film remained true to the spirit of the comedic atmosphere the duo had whilst also depicting what they seemed to be like in real-life.
I must admit I was weary about seeing this film beforehand since I wasn’t sure how Stan and Ollie were going to be depicted in real-life and whether it would be too bleak to see their relationship together. But after the good reviews and praise on it, I needn’t have worried too much about the film.
‘Stan & Ollie’ stars Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy. I must say, Steven Coogan and John C. Reilly were very good in this film as they did convince me that they were Stan and Ollie. They clearly put a lot of thought and effort into their performances in playing the well-loved duo.
The film begins in 1937 where we get to see a glimpse of Stan and Ollie working together on the set of ‘Way Out West’. We eventually move to 1953 where the duo embark on a gruelling music hall tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. They also struggle getting their own version of ‘Robin Hood’ made.
What struck me about this film is how the friendship between Stan and Ollie shines throughout. They clearly work well in a professional capacity but they also share a close bond on a personal level. The film makes it clear that the two are inseparable from each other and can’t work well without the other.
I knew a few behind-the-scenes facts about the duo beforehand such as Stan being a creative workaholic on the scriptwriting compared to the character he plays in the movies with Ollie. I also knew the two had marriages and divorces over time and we get to see their wives by this stage in this.
I vaguely knew about Laurel and Hardy touring the UK for a bit during the 1950s, but I didn’t know much about how that tour went and what places they went to. I also didn’t know that Stan Laurel had clashed with the producer Hal Roach back in the day, which was interesting to see depicted in the film.
I was anxiously waiting for any conflict to occur between Stan and Ollie in their working relationship together whilst on the tour and there is that scene where two argued about splitting up and Ollie working without Stan on a film. But the two thankfully made up and it again felt so heartfelt in the end.
Most of the time though, we see Stan and Ollie really behaving like good life-long friends towards each other. Even in the time between they spilt up from filmmaking in the 1930s and going on tour in 1953, the two have a creative working relationship together and it was lovely to see it depicted on the big screen.
I had no idea that there was a comedic version of ‘Robin Hood’ being made by Stan and Ollie during the time they did the UK tour and they were working on the screenplay together. It’s such a shame the film never materialised in the making, since the film producer didn’t respond to Stan’s phone calls.
Another thing that surprised me about this film is how the comedy routines between Stan and Ollie get played in the film. I genuinely found myself laughing during the scenes where the two performed comedic routines on stage and when they were doing it unintentionally in real-life which was amusing.
I loved watching the recreation of the ‘Way Out West’ musical numbers between Stan and Ollie in the film. I also loved it when Stan and Ollie did the hospital sketch from ‘County Hospital’ that included the ‘hard boiled eggs and nuts’ lines which I didn’t expect to come and are some of my favourites lines.
It was also funny to see Stan and Ollie pull a luggage case up a staircase at a train station and recreating the moment from ‘The Music Box’ where it goes back down the stairs again. It was also lovely to watch the duo getting welcomed in Ireland and how they did their last performance together.
The film also featured Shirley Henderson (who was in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode, ‘Love & Monsters’) as Lucille Hardy, Ollie’s wife and Nina Arianda as Ida Kitaeva Laurel, Stan’s wife. It was intriguing how the two wives of Stan and Ollie were depicted and how they supported their husbands in the film.
‘Stan & Ollie’ is a brilliant biographical account of Laurel & Hardy doing their UK tour in 1953. I found it a touching, heartfelt depiction of the comedy duo that made the world ‘never stop laughing’. The film made me appreciate Laurel & Hardy more and I’m so glad their real-life relationship was depicted well here.
When am I going to do more ‘Laurel & Hardy’ film reviews?
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!