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Stan and Ollie

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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movieman1957
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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby movieman1957 » April 14th, 2013, 9:44 am

In the midst of my storm I got a 20 minute reprieve this morning in the most unlikely of places.

After an early awakening I was running through the channels I came across a local access channel on the cable and stumbled on Stan and Ollie. After watching two I owned I put in a disc to record and then came my surprise. "Sugar Daddies" was a silent short that was done prior to the boys becoming the boys we would come to love. I'd never seen it before. The fact that I caught it made it even more fun.

Stan is James Finlayson's lawyer and Ollie his butler. When James, a wealthy man, apparently marries a girl he met at a party the night before the girls family tries to extort some money to call the whole thing off. A chase ensues. Most of it would have Stan riding piggy back on Finlayson masquerading as Ollie's wife. It's fun.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » April 14th, 2013, 10:06 am

That's fantastic, Chris! I don't think I've ever seen that one either...is this the old show where they do two L&H in a row? I came across this on a station here once, but I've lost it again. I don't know, but I think Me TV does Stan and Ollie on Sunday mornings as well.

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby movieman1957 » April 14th, 2013, 10:23 am

I don't know. This was on a local community college channel. There were no commercials. I checked the MeTV schedule and they were not the same films. I don't know where they were from as there was no indication of their source. I've never even known this one to be available on a DVD. The copyright for the "newer version" was in 1995 so someone has them.
Chris

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » April 14th, 2013, 10:28 am

Gosh, I dream of TV like that... used to be when I was growing up, that would happen all the time. Now it's unheard of, discovering a rare movie on a local channel just by accident.

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby RedRiver » April 14th, 2013, 3:41 pm

My childhood was full of that. Not rare movies, so much. But everything's unique when you're ten! We had The Early Show, an afternoon movie. When we got older, there was The Late Show. It didn't take long to flip through the channels. There were only three! Cowboys, cops, comedies. And of course, the Universal horror films. I don't know anybody in my age group who didn't watch those. Say what you want about TV. It's the medium that intoduced us to classic movies. It didn't matter that they were in black and white. So was our TV!

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » April 14th, 2013, 3:53 pm

My thoughts exactly red! It was wonderful staying up late or rushing home from school to see what was going to be on that day. And then Saturday night was Creature Features...

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby RedRiver » April 15th, 2013, 1:12 pm

At about eight years old, I caught a little western called THE SEARCHERS. Wow! That may have been my first indication that there are movies...and there are MOVIES!

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » April 15th, 2013, 1:31 pm

That happened to me at about 12 years old. I saw The Grapes of Wrath that year, and A Streetcar Named Desire. There was a third movie that deeply affected me, but I can't remember anymore what it was.

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby movieman1957 » May 15th, 2013, 11:06 pm

Even with a late start I spent the evening watching the boys in "Jitterbugs." It's almost a misnomer as an opening scene set showing them as a two man mechanical band with some music is quickly set aside for several schemes (cons) trying to recover some stolen money.

Not great but it does have some fun stuff. Fewer sight gags and more of the humor drawn from dialog and situations. Ollie is mostly at the front of the film. He also has what might amount to a solo scene in that Stan is barely there. It even allows Ollie to do a lovely dance with the lady in the scene. Vivian Blaine, later of "Guys and Dolls" fame, plays the leading lady and is given several songs to do along with her role. As far as L&H pictures go the songs especially seemed to have good production values even if the songs themselves were fairly forgettable.

Biggest surprise - 30 seconds of Francis Ford. Small surprise - Anthony Caruso.

After the film I decided to listen to the commentary. Randy Scredvedt has written a book on L&H and, oh my, did he give details. He covered nearly everyone in the film and behind the scenes. Shared some stories of the cast about working with the boys and some interesting details. He also mentioned this was one of Ollie's five favorite films he made with Stan.

Among his comments he included the fact that the film was made for about $300K but made $1,000,000. A huge profit for an L&H film. The film generally received good reviews.

No many laugh out loud moments but plenty to smile over.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » May 16th, 2013, 8:26 am

This is amazing, Chris! I don't think I've EVER seen Jitterbugs! I can't recall it at all, and that's very unusual for me. I thought I'd seen every one of their films over and over but this one isn't ringing a bell at all.

Do you find as they got older, their comedy was more drawn out? Not in a bad way, the situations and jokes just seem to me to be more thoughtful. The set ups are longer and they come around full circle, you know? Another thing I've noticed with the later films is how much more fanciful they seem... Stanley has almost magical abilities...i.e. smoking his hand like a pipe, pulling a shade down that is merely a shadow....

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby movieman1957 » May 16th, 2013, 8:51 am

This is when they were at Fox. The studio didn't let them do much on their own work. Writers who didn't really know their work writing for them. They got higher budgets but little control.

Their setups do seem more deliberate. There aren't the short quick gags that you found in earlier films. The comedy isn't nearly as physical but that likely due more to age than their lack of coming up with anything. What little physical comedy I saw seemed to be more stunt double than them. (One interesting point is that Ollie's double gets a bit part of his own.)

It's a more gentle humor. In one scene Stan says "I was just thinking." Ollie asks him what he was thinking. Stan replied "Nothing. I was just thinking." A running gag about Stan being sorry about everything and how much it annoys Ollie.

Nothing drops on Ollie's head. He doesn't get slapped with paint. His nose isn't caught in anything. I wouldn't put your fanciful designation this late in their films. Those things that you mention were very much part of things in the mid 30s but this was 1943 so at least with this movie there really isn't a sense or place for that kind of fun.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » May 16th, 2013, 8:57 am

I guess not, the forties were more about the boys being retro fitted into 'normal' movies I think.

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby movieman1957 » January 3rd, 2014, 3:44 pm

"Air Raid Wardens" is one of the weakest films Stan and Ollie made. It's setting (early WWII) I think limits their range of things to work on. The boys become air raid wardens for about a week before they are fired for their incompetence. Later on though they find out about a Nazi plot to blow up a local plant.

There are a couple of things to make you smile but little that will make you laugh. It's slow, even at 70+ minutes, and there isn't much charm going on. The highlight would have to be a run in with Edgar Kennedy.

The only surprise would be finding out that the actor named Horace McNally, who has a prominent role, turns out to be the guy who later become Stephen McNally. Donald Meek also has a small part.

Really worth it only if you want to see everything they did.

The disc from Netflix is paired with "Nothing But Trouble." This one is better. Stan and Ollie, unknowingly, befriend a young man who is a prince visiting the area. They work as cook and butler. A little more fun and more life than the other film but suffers some from being brought to you by the same studio and producer. Mary Boland does costar.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby JackFavell » January 5th, 2014, 1:54 pm

I agree totally with you Chris, though these are pleasant enough comedies that have risen a little in my estimation ove rthe last couple of years, just for being good natured and unpretentious. My instinct though is to switch away when these are on, there is so much better in the L&H canon.

It's so very odd you mentioned Horace McNally, because a week or so ago Maven and I watched Grand Central Murder, and I asked her if Horace McNally was Stephen McNally's brother because they sure did look alike. She informed me that they were the same person.

Since then I've seen him in Air Raid Wardens and Swing Shift Maisie, both as Horace.

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Re: Stan and Ollie

Postby movieman1957 » January 6th, 2014, 8:47 am

I'd change my name to Stephen too. I took it that as his career grew he took a name more lyrical than Horace.

There are a few more late films to review as I haven't seen them in years but I don't expect any different results.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."


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