Laurel and hardy piano sketch
Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy by Simon LouvishStan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have remained, from 1927 to the present day, the screens most famous and popular comedy double act, celebrated by legions of fans. But despite many books about their films and individual lives, there has never been a fully researched, definitive narrative biography of the duo, from birth to death.
Louvish traces the early lives of Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy and the surrounding minstrel and variety theatre, which influenced all of their later work. Louvish examines the rarely seen solo films of both our heroes, prior to their serendipitous pairing in 1927, in the long-lost short Duck Soup. The inspired casting teamed them until their last days. Both often married, they found balancing their personal and professional lives a nearly impossible feat.
Between 1927 and 1938, they were able to successfully bridge the gap between silent and sound films, which tripped up most of their prominent colleagues. Their Hal Roach and MGM films were brilliant, but their move in 1941, to Twentieth Century Fox proved disastrous, with the nine films made there ranking as some of the most embarrassing moments of cinematic history.
In spite of this, Laurel and Hardy survived as exemplars of lasting genius, and their influence is seen to this day. The clowns were elusive behind their masks, but now Simon Louvish can finally reveal their full and complex humanity, and their passionate devotion to their art. In Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy, Louvish has seamlessly woven tireless and thorough research into an authoritative biography of these two important and influential Hollywood pioneers.
Laurel and Hardy have always had a special place in the affections of British comedians, and not just because Laurel is from the Cumbrian town of Ulverston home to the charmingly idiosyncratic Laurel and Hardy Museum. He was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson but changed his name because he thought a shorter one would get a bigger slot on billboards, choosing the new surname after seeing a drawing of a Roman general, Scipio, wearing a laurel wreath. After a long spell in separate acting careers, they made more than short and full-length films together, many of which were shown regularly on the BBC in the s and s. I initially watched because it was all that was on. As a child who loved dance, I quickly realised that that is what Stan and Ollie did — a weird, beautiful ballet of physicality and humour.
This weekend, the American Cinematheque is celebrating the masterful restoration of seminal comedy films. The series, called "Another Nice Mess: The Restored Laurel and Hardy," screens a dozen shorts and two features, all restored from the original nitrate elements and cleaned digitally. You can read all about the restoration process here. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy pair made films together between and and have inspired countless performers, including actor and comedian Mike McShane. Complimenting each other, making the other person look good, taking the backseat when you need to and then taking the front seat when you have to. That exchange keeps a duality in a performance relationship fresh.
The Music Box is a Laurel and Hardy short film comedy released in It was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by.
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Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are note-perfect as Laurel and Hardy
These are external links and will open in a new window. It's a decade since classic comic duo Laurel and Hardy were last shown on British TV screens - but now some of their best work has been digitally re-mastered. Four films will be shown for the first time in HD across UK cinemas to celebrate the th anniversary of Stan Laurel's birth. During their career, Laurel, who was born in Ulverston, then in Lancashire, and American Oliver Hardy, made films together. As late as , one of their songs, Trail of the Lonesome Pine, was at number two in the British charts - nearly 20 years after Hardy died.
As any member of the diehard Sons of the Desert fan club will tell you, Another Fine Mess is the film; the actual catchphrase is often misquoted. When all was said and done, Laurel and Hardy would appear together in an astonishing films of varying length between and Born in Lancashire, England, the son of a theater manager and an actress, Laurel began his career on stage as a teenager in Scotland, eventually joining a troupe of British music hall actors that included a young Charlie Chaplin. They toured the United States, but Laurel decided to stay, so he headed to Hollywood and made his film debut in the silent short Nuts in May. Oliver Hardy, meanwhile, was born in the small town of Harlem, Georgia, and grew up in the rural south until he went to Atlanta as a teenager to study music and sing. He then went to Jacksonville as a vaudeville performer and ended up appearing in short made in Florida, Outwitting Dad.
The Music Box is a Laurel and Hardy short film comedy released in The film, which depicts the pair attempting to move a piano up a large flight of steps, won the first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Comedy in In a music store, a woman Hazel Howell orders a player piano as a surprise birthday gift for her husband. She tells the manager her address — Walnut Avenue — and he hires the Laurel and Hardy Transfer Company to deliver the piano in their freight wagon. The duo soon learn from a postman Charlie Hall that the home is at the top of a very long stairway.