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Stan and Ollie (2018) Movie Review

Updated on July 28, 2020
ethel smith profile image

Eileen enjoys a variety of movies and likes to share reviews of those that impress her. She also loves British television comedy series.


About This Movie

It is 1937 and Laurel and Hardy are big name stars in the U.S.A. and across the world. It is Hollywood in its heyday but Stan Laurel thinks they are being underpaid and undervalued.

The comedy duo want a better deal from their studio boss Hal Roach; a financial deal that is on a par with other comedy stars of the day such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Stan Laurel’s studio contract has ended and he thinks the time is right to push for more money but Oliver Hardy is still under contract and not prepared to break that deal.

Ollie has an eye for the ladies and likes to gamble on the horses. Stan is in a similar position with the ladies but his other financial drain is the bottle.

Laurel and Hardy briefly go their separate ways and that leaves unsettled business between the two men.That hurt resurfaces later but ultimately leads to new beginning to their friendship.

Fast forward to 1953 and Stan and Ollie are about to undergo a grueling tour of the U.K. while shooting a new movie along the way.

They need money but are now unfashionable performers. The tour kicks off at provincial theatres with poor audience numbers but that will change.

The tour climaxes with Stan and Ollie’s final stage performance as an act and they go out with a bang.

The journey the movie follows has laughter and tears, sadness and more.

This is a gentle, warm and poignant movie with Steve Coogan cast as Stan Laurel and John C Reilly as Oliver Hardy and playing the characters to perfection.

Occasionally this writer could hear Steve Coogan’s voice come through but not enough to spoil the performance; Coogan is a well known established British comedian and actor which may be one reason for that familiarity.

Overall, however, Coogan and Reilly ARE Laurel and Hardy with well crafted mannerisms, movements and personae that fits to a T.

Great way to spend a wintery afternoon
Great way to spend a wintery afternoon

Who Were Stan and Ollie?

Stan Laurel was a British man. Aged 22, in 1912, Stan Laurel visited the U.S.A. to tour with a troupe but he never returned home. His career on the stage continue. American Oliver Hardy was also getting some stage success and the pair eventually teamed up as Laurel and Hardy in the 1920s.

Ollie was rotund, Stan skinny. That physical combination proved comical to audiences but it was their sharp wit, often hidden inside slapstick comedy, that took them to another level.

Laurel and Hardy were truly The Kings of Comedy.

Oliver Hardy died August 7, 1957, and Stan Laurel died February 23, 1965.

Stan Laurel never worked again after Oliver Hardy died but he did continue to create new scripts for Laurel and Hardy.

Theirs was more than a business partnership. It was in many ways true love.

Main Cast and Characters

John C. Reilly ... Oliver Hardy

Steve Coogan ... Stan Laurel

Shirley Henderson ... Lucille Hardy

Nina Arianda ... Ida Kitaeva Laurel

Danny Huston ... Hal Roach

Rufus Jones ... Bernard Delfont

Richard Cant ... Harry Langdon


Directed by .......Jon S. Baird

Writing Credits ......Jeff Pope

Produced by

Kate Fasulo ... executive producer

Christine Langan ... executive producer

Xavier Marchand ... executive producer

Joe Oppenheimer ... executive producer

Eugenio Pérez ... executive producer

Jim Spencer ... co-producer

Gabrielle Tana ... executive producer

Faye Ward ... producer

This is a British movie filmed at various locations and studios

It was made by BBC Films

Recommended Viewing

This movie has a gentle pace but has high and low points. It reduced me to actual tears more than once. It also gave me many laughs though not roll on the floor laughter.

The two men and their wives at the time are great characters acted to perfection.

Entertainment impresario Bernard Delfont, if the portrayal in this movie is accurate, was a slime-ball who ripped Stan and Ollie off during this tour.

But in the end their hard work paid off and their swansong was to rapturous applause.

First Class

5 stars for Stan and Ollie

Stan and Ollie official trailer

New To Laurel and Hardy?

It seems unbelievable to me that Laurel and Hardy are unknowns to modern generations. Their legacy lives on and their humor transcends the years that have passed.

Laurel and Hardy movies are widely available on DVD, some streaming services and occasionally aired on mainstream television.

Check out Laurel and Hardy at Amazon. There is a wide selection of movies and literature which will introduce you to their classic style of comedy.

The movie Stan and Ollie includes some of their most famous and quintessential comedy moments but you sit back in your own home and watch the real Laurel and Hardy at work.

© 2019 Ethel Smith


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