Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly star as the legendary movie icons in Jon S. Baird’s heart-warming biopic
When we think about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, one of the greatest comedy partnerships in cinema history immediately comes to mind: the duo bewitched the world with their hilarious routines, appearing in over 107 films between 1927 and 1950, but Laurel & Hardy were also part of those few silent stars who survived and shined in the sound era.
Director Jon S. Baird explores their twilight years in Stan & Ollie, an unconventional, heart-warming biopic starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the legendary movie icons.
Stan & Ollie had a first italian premiere at the latest edition of Rome Film Festival and a national screening on Sunday, April 28, at Cinecittà World amusement park, in Rome. The film hits italian theaters tomorrow, May 1 2019.
In a short premise, set in 1937, Baird reminds us that Laurel & Hardy were the kings of Hollywood comedy, with adoring fans all over the world. Sixteen years later, with their golden era behind them, they still hope to make a new film, but they have to embark on a variety theatre tour of Britain and Ireland to revive their careers: the audience is now seduced by new comic stars and they must to work hard to re-connect with their fans. As their beautiful performances finally get the success they deserve, Laurel & Hardy realize they’re not young anymore: as they face their health problems with the support of their wives, Lucille and Ida (played by Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda), this would become the pair’s successful farewell tour.
Screenwriter Jeff Pope is a long-time fan of the duo: after being gifted a DVD box-set 15 years ago, he watched Way Out West and started to investigate the story behind the artists: his research led him to A.J. Marriot’s book Laurel & Hardy – The British Tour (about the double act’s theatre tour of the UK during the early ‘50s) revealing a little-known part of their history.
Stan & Ollie is a bittersweet tribute to the actors: Coogan and Reilly brillantly capture the essence of the duo, from their physical extravagance to their off-stage jokes. But film is primarily a touching story of of two inseparable friends, who have to face their demons as they grow older.
Scene after scene we find out that Laurel was the creative mind behind the double act, while Hardy often took control during the perfomances: while the two have a perfect chemistry on stage, they sometimes struggle to get along once the show ends. But every time they split, the magic disappears and they realize they need to work on a reconciliation.
Baird follows Laurel & Hardy through success and hard times, revealing two gentle souls we knew a little about. Although the film draws from comedy and drama,
it’s not as funny or as tragic as you might expect, but the story of these two friends and comedy partners will conquer your heart, making you smile and cry.