Monday, 4 February 2019

Stan and Ollie: A Joy...

What a whirl – yesterday afternoon to the cinema to see Stan and Ollie, the eagerly awaited (round here, anyway) comedy-drama-biopic about Laurel and Hardy's last tour of the UK in 1953. I can report that it was a joy from beginning to end, with terrific, spot-on performances by Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the leads, and memorable turns by Rufus Jones as the oleaginous Bernard Delfont and Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda as the chalk-and-cheese wives. Some minor liberties have been taken with the facts (and the odd period detail) but all in the service of creating an involving and coherent story arc. The Laurel and Hardy comedy routines and song-and-dance turns are recreated beautifully by Coogan and Reilly, who are equally convincing as the off-stage Stan and Ollie. The script takes them through plenty of ups and downs, including a fierce row that almost leads to a break-up, but happily it all ends on a high note. Of course there'll never be another Stan and Ollie, but Coogan and Reilly are as close as we're ever likely to see, and this was a wonderful cinematic experience – funny, touching, cheering and heart-warming.
  Sadly the storyline didn't include Laurel and Hardy's stay at the Bull Inn, Bottesford, where Stan's sister Olga was the landlady – but here's a picture:


  1. still havent seen this yet - and its just about the only film in the last year ive really wanted to watch in the cinema

  2. Me too, apart from the Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which barely had a cinematic release, more's the pity...

  3. Dear Sir Nige, Yup, I saw this film and you are right on the money. Coogan and Reilly nail it, and the story remains good without decending into sentimental goo about a couple of great guys inevitably on the way down.