STAN AND OLLIE
By Mary Cox
In my youth and childhood I was not a Laurel & Hardy fan but I am a fan of Stan & Ollie starring Academy Award Nominee John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy and English actor Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel.
In the 1930’s Laurel & Hardy were at the top of their game after Hal Roach put the two together as a team. Because Roach had hired them separately, their contracts came due at different times. Laurel wanted Hardy to break his contract and create a new production firm with him. Hardy was deeply in debt because he had a gambling problem. Laurel left and Roach teamed Hardy up with another comedian. That team was unsuccessful. In part because Laurel wrote all the material for Laurel and Hardy.
Sixteen years later, Laurel & Hardy are touring England hoping for a comeback. This is not a film about their antics; it is a film about relationships. It is not only about the men but also their wives are with them. Shirley Henderson plays Lucille Hardy and Nina Ariana is Ida Laurel.
The scenes between Reilly and Coogan are beautiful. You really feel how much these men care for one another yet there is tension that arose from their days under Hal Roach. Although the film does have a few of the acts that Laurel and Hardy performed, Stan & Ollie does not focus on their act, it focuses on their relationship.
Writer Academy Award Nominee Jeff Pope scribed this profound screenplay. The relationship between Stan and Ollie was so rich and so nuanced and Pope brought that out in his script. It was directed by Jon S. Baird.
This is a film everyone who has watched Laurel and Hardy will enjoy.