Talking Movies

January 13, 2019

Notes on Stan & Ollie

Oscar-bait biopic Stan & Ollie was the film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

This drama follows a faded Laurel & Hardy’s farewell tour of theatres in Britain and Ireland in the early 1950s. Steve Coogan nails the voice but not the look of Laurel, while John C Reilly simply vanishes as Oliver Hardy rides again in look and sound. And yet for a film about two comedians it isn’t really that funny… Perhaps it is the photocopy effect, that which stripped all emotion from the end of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Watching Reilly and Coogan pretend to be Laurel and Hardy doing their slapstick routines on stage that the audience knows from their films puts so many removes between the routine and its reception that it ceases to be funny. As a result the limelight is stolen by their promoter in England (Rufus Jones) who shamelessly makes them do publicity stunts for free without ever actually asking them, and Stan’s wife Ida (Nina Arianda) who blows thru the film like a force of nature spewing insults and repeatedly, pointedly refusing to sit beside said promoter in any venue.

Listen here:

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