Stan and Ollie Film Review
John C. Riley
Ida Kitaeva Laurel
About the film
Producer: Faye Ward
Director: Jon S. Baird
Running Time: 1 hr 38 mins
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Biography
Distributed By: Sony Pictures Classics (USA), Entertainment One Films (UK/Canda)
Stan & Ollie is a biographical account of Laurel and Hardy's career based on the latter part of their professional lives. The year is 1953 and the pair begin a gruelling tour of England and Ireland in music halls and theatres. The film begins with them doing a short dance scene. They do this tour whilst struggling to get another film made. The beginning of the tour sees theatres only half full, which leaves the pair feeling a little despondent. But they carry on with the show regardless. The couple are soon joined by their wives, Ida Laurel and Lucille Hardy. As the weeks pass though, we soon see the theatres being packed out with people and the tour going successfully. But, as you will see in the film, it also takes a toll on Oliver Hardy's health. This film is made in the twilight of their careers and, at the end of the day, these are not young men anymore in the prime of their lives. With their careers beginning to swain, they want to try and revitalise their careers.
There's not so much comedy in this film, if that's what you're expecting. Although there are parts in the film which will make you laugh. It's more of a biopic tale of their latter career and the struggles they had, both personally and financially. Stan is a clever man, despite the character he plays on TV. And he is well aware they are not getting paid as much as some of their counterparts like Charlie Chaplain and Buster Keaton. And he makes this point very clear.
It is also interesting to see the relationship their wives, Ida and Lucille, have with each other. They don't always see eye to eye, and we see this during the film. Saying that though, they are very supportive of their husbands and it is clear they worry about them while they are on stage.
When I first heard about the release of this film, I really wanted to see this. Now it is available to watch on Amazon Prime. When I first saw this listed, I instantly pressed the play button. I'm glad I watched it. I have seen many of their films and know they are a highly comical and respected double act. But there was also a lot I didn't know. I found this a heartwarming, and somewhat sad and melancholy film about the pair. This movie really does highlight the beauty of these 2 men and the special bond they had between them.
There are some really heartwarming scenes in the film, especially when Ollie is taken ill and Stan goes to visit him. Personally, these scenes touched my heart and made me realise how well these two really got on. I think Steve Coogan (Stanley Laurel) and John C. Riley (Oliver Hardy) play an excellent part as the double act, and seem to have a good connection onscreen. I also found the film quite sad. At the end of the day, these men aren't in the prime of their lives anymore, yet they still want to try and make a go of things. I found this movie to be very touching and moving, and thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
© 2019 Louise Powles