JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FEW WORDS ON WHY LAUREL AND HARDY WERE SO VERY SPECIAL   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARTIN CHILTON IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Laurel and Hardy: Two angels of our time

“As ‘Stan & Ollie’ is released in UK cinemas, Martin Chilton reflects upon the duo’s astonishing impact on modern culture”

 

They were wonderful, casting almost a magical spell in their best work. I’ve loved them since I was a boy and saw their shorts played on a regular local kids’ television show in the mid-1950s.

I think what most distinguishes them from other comedy teams is the mix of human empathy and pathos with comedy. Some images of them, after one of their on-screen disasters, are iconic in displaying these qualities.

So are parts of many of their story plots, as when they overhear a widow telling a sad tale to a visitor about being thrown out of her home and determine to help her by selling their only possession, an old car, unaware that what they’ve overheard are lines being practiced from an amateur play.

There’s the sweetness and innocence of childhood in their best films. Their characters are, for sure, more children than men.

We are transported back to something we can never again really experience but about which we enjoy reminiscing and smiling dreamily.

I especially love the talking shorts like “Laughing Gravy” and “The Music Box” and “The County Hospital” and “The Chimp.” “Sons of the Desert” is a somewhat longer one, but just wonderful.

Unfortunately, their feature-length films are disappointing, with huge amounts of padding, but that’s what Hollywood did with performers often.

I have a wonderful video collection, if you are interested. It’s called “Laurel and Hardy, The Essential Collection.” The transfers are good quality, and the set comes in a book-like format with handy little summaries.

______________________

Response to a comment:

Yes, indeed, and watching some of those “dated” films is like gazing at the displays in a wonderful museum, capturing beautifully the sense of an era.

Posted January 4, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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