Login Form

Stan & Ollie Review - A Shining, Nostalgic, Sentimental Portrait of Early Hollywood Stars

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Stan & Ollie, from Sony Picture Classics, present the story of Golden Age comedic stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as they embark on a post war European tour hoping to reignite the Hollywood success they once enjoyed.

Directed by Jon S. Baird, Stan & Ollie stars John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, with Shirley Henderson, Nina Arianda, Danny Huston, Rufus Jones, Susy Kane, Ella Kenion, Bentley Kalu, Greg Canestrari, Joseph Balderrama, Charlie Robinson, Callum Forman, Toby Sedgwick, Roger Ringrose, Harry Hepple and Andy Mihalache.

The film begins in the backlot of Hal Roach Studios, where comedic icons and business partners Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, played by John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, were talking shop; wives, parties, and of course raises, with their contract renewals staggered, Stan’s was up and he was not interested in reupping with Hal Roach, played by Danny Huston and Oliver was still bound.


Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle Review – Four Stars! Awesome, Stunning


Stars in their own right, with their pictures selling out in theaters around the world, the pair were undeniably golden age superstars and able to capitalize on the fame with little else to show for the years of physical comedy. Granted lifestyles played into the lean times and as we see a brighter tomorrow was genuinely only a signature away.

The film fast forwards 15 years as the two are arriving in Europe, for a post war tour of the United Kingdom. Stan has been working on a picture for the two of them with the producer in London, he was able to pull together a booking agent, played by Bernard Delfont, who worked to put together a tour schedule.

Once the tour starts without publicity the audiences are a bit sparse, and so the two are told, in order to book bigger concert halls, enjoy high end accommodations, and have a larger cut of the box office they will need to embark on a publicity tour also. The extra effort paid off and the concert halls were selling out. Instead of a no frills, no name they were staying at the Savoy.

As traveling together often peels back the layers, the pair after more than 25 years of working together finally had it out. And as we find out the contract negotiation, some 15 years ago, and the personal hurt that it caused had festered over the years in both men until it finally erupted.

Oliver, who hid his health problems from everyone for some time, suffered a heart attack the next day while on the tour. He decides, along with his wife, Lucille, played by Shirley Henderson, that his was it. He was done and when his health is better and he is cleared to travel he is quitting the business and returning to the states.

Stan and his wife, Ida, played by Nina Arianda, are also feeling the sting of the leftover frustrations which he believes cost the pair a piece of their pictures and left them financially beholden to others.

What follows couldn’t have been scripted.


The Favourite – A Devilishly Dark Comedic Drama


I really enjoyed Stan & Ollie on many levels. Of course as it is a historical account, a never before told story of one of the first and arguably the greatest comedic pairing in show business history and the forerunner to every great comedic pair since, is intriguing.

There were many elements about the film that I enjoyed. There is a real sense of the shift from the silent film star to the talkies and the squeeze those early talents were feeling. Laurel & Hardy were able to make the transition, which few did with any success. Abbott and Costello were following fast on the heels of the comedic duo, which made the comeback more difficult.

As a Hollywood history buff, the back lots scenes and early Golden Age movie making sequences are interesting.

The story is well told, as it moves between the past and present. The wives are also each the staunchest of defenders of their husbands, and each challenges the other as they try to understand the unique relationship, that drives the two men, as it has brought their husbands their greatest triumphs and deepest disappoints.


I Am Paul Walker Review – Honest, Heartfelt, Genuine


John C. Reilly was unrecognizable and Steve Coogan plays a perfect Stan.  The time frame of the film doesn’t really allow the men to show they care for each other, even if it intrinsically tied to their financial health, and as they go through the film one can see the masked attempts to show care and concern.

It isn’t until the health problems become full bloom and we see the dedication the two have for each other and the devotion to the audience that we understand how deep the bond is between the two.

Stan & Ollie is a tender, touching and ultimately heartbreaking story of the first comedic duo that captured the hearts of worldwide audiences and the fickleness of fame.

Stan & Ollie opens, in select cities, December 28, 2018. It has shown at The BFI London Film Festival, AFI Festival and will open in January 2019 globally. See it.

 

Haute Tease

  • Terror Truck Attack In Lower Manhattan Leaves Eight Dead; More than a Dozen Injured

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York City's Tribeca neighborhood was the scene of horror and terror as a lone wolf terrorist made a deliberate turn onto a walk/bike lane plowing through pedestrians and bicyclists leaving bodies scattered along the Hudson River promenade.

     
  • Capella Pedregal’s Popular Trunk Show Will Feature Trendsetting Fashion Designer, Chan Luu October 31 to November 3, 2013

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A core Capella Hotels and Resorts tenet is curating one-of-a-kind experiences for its guests and the stylish Capella Pedregal continues this rich tradition with its intimate fashion trunk shows known as the “Capella Collection Trunk Show Series.”

     
  • PBS Wants YOU to Join THE GREAT AMERICAN READ

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Something "bookish" is going on, and PBS wants to encourage everyone to be a part of it. Launched this past April and continuing throughout the fall, PBS' THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is asking people to choose "America's Best-Loved Novel."

     
  • Gunpowder & Sky Acquires Worldwide Distribution Rights To Filipino Food Doc Sensation "Ulam: Main Dish"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Gunpowder & Sky has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the Alexandra Cuerdo-directed documentary feature film ULAM: Main Dish. The film will be released under Gunpowder & Sky's FilmBuff label in select theaters starting December 1, 2018.  

  • Belle Review - Powerful, Resonating, Beautiful

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Belle," from FOX Searchlight Pictures and Moneypenny Productions, brings to the screen the real life story of a Dido Elizabeth Belle, a woman ahead of her time fighting for equality, love, independence and freedom.

     
  • AFI Launches a Three-Year Anniversary Celebration Commemorating the American Film Institute's 50 Years of Impact

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    It was 50 years ago that the American Film Institute began its mission, to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.  

  • 18th Annual Hollywood Film Fest Unveils Celebrate Hollywood Lineup

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    HOLLYWOOD – September 30, 2014 – Continuing the promise for a fresh and exciting re-launch of the Hollywood Film Festival, Executive Director Jon Fitzgerald announces the Celebrate Hollywood lineup.  Rounding out the Festival, which runs October 16-19th and which connects audiences to causes behind social-impact films, Celebrate Hollywood recognizes films shot in Hollywood, or which reference show business.