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  • Writer's pictureEugene

Stan & Ollie (2018)

15th June 2019

On a rather wet night we welcomed 87 people to be entertained and informed. The first short film was a newsreel from 1952 showing Messrs Laurel and Hardy opening the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway on the other side of Kent. We then watched an American version of 'This is Your Life' which was entertaining in the style of presentation of the lives of the two gents in question. The main film seems to have been enjoyed by all including the small discussion group that gathered after the film. This was the first film shown in our newly decorated hall with now mobile equipment.

The recipe for the delicious cake is at Eugene.


Although sometimes our discussion group respectfully begs to differ, ‘Stan and Ollie’ received a thumbs up from us all. This was, as Tanya said, “An amazing story of a friendship.” The 1954 ‘This is Your Life’ short amused us all, mainly because neither of the performers seemed to recognise many of the guests and responded with blank expressions. However, their lawyer Ben Shipman’s words rang true, “The most enjoyable and most wonderful part about working with them has been to observe the extreme loyalty to one another…the desire to please one another and…make each other successful." Jon S. Baird’s biographical comedy-drama highlighted the unique chemistry between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. We enjoyed the sequence in the later part of the film, when Laurel tries out a new partner. Of course, it doesn’t work and it shows the poignancy of a double act that works like clockwork forced to re-assess its existence. We also loved the arrival of the colourful wives in the film and Bernard Delfont’s line – “two double acts for the price of one.” The characterisation impressed us, conveying Laurel’s workaholic output and Hardy’s laidback persona. It’s rather refreshing that the film didn’t seek to expose negative aspects of their past – the nearest it got was alluding to Laurel’s womanising, when he says, “I'm never getting married again…just gonna find a woman I don't like, and buy her a house.” We generated the names of a few double acts...Morecambe and Wise…Reeves and Mortimer…even Ant and Dec. However, nothing could beat Stan and Ollie’s loyalty to each other. We were all touched by the final caption on the film. Stan refused to work without his partner and went into retirement. He continued to write sketches for Laurel and Hardy in the last eight years of his life. Anne

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