Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly star as Hollywood Golden Age comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the biopic, Stan and Ollie, playing the Salmar Classic on Saturday, Feb. 9. (Photo contributed)

Golden Age comedy legends seek triumphant return in Stan and Ollie

Cinemaphile/Joanne Sargent

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were perhaps the most successful comedy duo in entertainment history, having appeared in more than 100 films together from 1921 to 1951. They were the kings of Hollywood comedy and adored by millions, when a business disagreement interfered and created a brief, bitter split between the two. This movie, Stan and Ollie, isn’t about their earlier lives or about the prime of their career; here their career has bottomed out, and they are trying to mount a comeback. The story is picked up in 1953 when, re-united, they embark on a real-life tour of the UK and Ireland.

Intent on regaining some of their old magic, Stan and Ollie set out to win back audiences and raise money for a film that will mark their triumphant return. They’re now in their 60s and Hardy’s health is failing, but they are troupers.

As they trundle from one half-empty small-town music hall to another, their chemistry onstage is still absolutely perfect as they play out their old beloved routines, but offstage, it’s complicated. With the ups and downs of dwindling fame, cracks in their relationship begin to show and build to a major blow-up.

As buried resentments are exhumed, the two men are forced to confront truths about their personal and professional dealings, and slowly come to realize that the sun is setting on their careers.

Related: Documentary This Mountain Life a love letter to the outdoors

Related: Store owner battles village matriarch in The Bookshop

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly both give extraordinary performances, where we hardly recognize them as themselves—they simply are Laurel and Hardy. The actors obviously intensely studied the comedy legends’ every mannerism, expression, and nuance as their portrayals are so believable it might have been actual footage.

From their uncanny physical performances and slapstick timing to their interplay behind the scenes, they play Stan and Ollie to perfection. Make sure you stay for the credits when they show the real Laurel and Hardy to see how bang-on their performances are.

Stan and Ollie is a heart-warming, yet heart-breaking, and beautiful story about two life-long friends who feel the need to have one more stab at the big time. Not just a wonderfully funny tribute to two comic legends, it’s a subtle, sensitive portrayal of an aging and difficult friendship, and a story of real love and forgiveness.

As we see the final days of a remarkable partnership, it is a slow, reluctant goodbye, not just to an act but to an era. Don’t miss this one.

Stan and Ollie plays at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Salmar Classic Cinema. And don’t forget our nine-day International Film Festival starts on Feb. 15.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Okanagan weather watch: Snow on the way

Flurries have been predicted for most of the Okanagan Valley today

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Complex-care facility adds 60 long-term care beds

Mount Ida Mews hosts grand opening of second phase in Salmon Arm

UPDATE: One dead after crash on Highway 97A near Armstrong

Police have confirmed that one person is dead following an accident on Highway 97A Friday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Rescued Kelowna skier shares appreciation of COSAR team

A skier was found out of bounds near Big White by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

Piles of debris hauled from Summerland rock slide site

Material removed from site would more than fill an Olympic swimming pool

Most Read