Credit where credit is due.
Had my old friend, Roy Frumkes, not introduced me to cartoonist extraordinaire, Al Kilgore back in the late ’60s, I doubt that I would have ever grown to appreciate “The Boys” as they deserve.
It’s probably a safe bet that very few who visit HTF are aware of the song, “At the Ball, That’s All.”
The lyrics begin…
Just start a prancin’…
If they don’t sound familiar, it might all come together if one watched the little dance number that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy did, in front of a rear screen, of an outdoor western town, for Way Out West (1937).
It’s the lead-in to Scottish director Jon S. Baird’s delightful film, Stan & Ollie, which uses that number, beautifully shot from a reverse angle at the start, for his film which chronicles the final years of Laurel and Hardy’s relationship. It segues to 1953, and their final tour through England.
I loved this film.
Probably mostly based upon the fact that Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly virtually become Stan and Ollie, along with more than a bit of help from prosthetics designer, Mark Coulier.
But had Mr. Coogan and Mr. Reilly not had the ability to channel the men they re-created, this never would have worked.
Stan & Ollie is a delight to behold, and for those not yet familiar with their work, a wonderful means of introduction.
Shot digitally, the Blu-ray, from Sony represents the film beautifully.
As an aside, the film’s opening involves a long shot following the actors from their dressing to to the set, which is actually three parts, beautifully blended together.
And while you’re watching them walk through a stand-in for the Roach lot in Culver City, later Selznick, keep an eye out for what I perceive to be the prop gears, probably from Chaplin’s Modern Times, shot the previous year (1936).
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass