Well blow me down with an anchovy.

This forum is nearly identical to the previous forum. The difference? Discussions about comedy from the SOUND era.
Michael J Hayde
Associate
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:33 pm

Re: Well blow me down with an anchovy.

Postby Michael J Hayde » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:56 am

One of the Godfathers and I saw the film Saturday night at the AFI Silver. There's a lot wrong with it. There's a lot right with it. Probably more of the former than the latter, depending on your L&H IQ. It's a film made for a general audience by a bunch of folks who clearly loved L&H, and even with the factually-challenged plot and the hoked-up dramatic tension and the supporting characters who are just caricatures (one or two bordering on slanderous), that affection comes through on screen. The two leads are very, very good, and the audience we saw it with laughed loudly at all the routines, and the visual comedy was perfectly timed.

A mixed bag, to be sure. But worth seeing, especially with an audience. Here's hoping the film finds one.

Michael

Rob Farr
Godfather
Posts: 343
Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 12:00 pm
Location: Our Nation's Capitol

Re: Well blow me down with an anchovy.

Postby Rob Farr » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:15 pm

After reading early reports that the animosity between Stan and Babe were underplayed and only marginally figured into the plot, I was surprised that the emotional arc of the whole damn film hinged on their mutual antagonism. I'm not saying to avoid the film, but if you know Laurel & Hardy’s history, it's hard to overlook the fact that the dramatic conflict is built on a fiction. Screenwriter Jeff Pope had a predicament: he wanted to make a film about Laurel and Hardy in their later years and needed a dramatic arc that just didn’t exist in real life. So like any good dramatist he cooked one up. No sin (see Shakespeare, William), but you’ll enjoy the film more if you forget everything you know about the historical Laurel and Hardy.

On the plus side both Coogan and Riley do amazing jobs, tho I would give top acting honors to Coogan’s Stan. Riley’s prosthetics are amazing, but Coogan’s Stan is the heart of the film. Supporting actors Nina Arianda (Ida Laurel) and Rufus Jones (Bernard Delfont) turn in hilarious performances that almost steal the show from the two leads. And when was the last time you saw James Finlayson and Harry Langdon portrayed as characters in a major film? So go, support an earnest attempt to dramatize comedy history, and have fun.
Rob Farr
"If it's not comedy, I fall asleep" - Harpo Marx

Michael J Hayde
Associate
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:33 pm

Re: Well blow me down with an anchovy.

Postby Michael J Hayde » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:54 pm

Rob Farr wrote:After reading early reports that the animosity between Stan and Babe were underplayed and only marginally figured into the plot, I was surprised that the emotional arc of the whole damn film hinged on their mutual antagonism.


I fear there may be spoilers ahead, so if you haven't seen it yet and want to, stop right here.

The emotional arc, as I saw it, wasn't so much mutual antagonism as it was that these two guys are flat-out using each other: Stan to keep on creating film comedy, and Babe to subsidize his racetrack addiction. And neither is above lying to the other, as well as to their wives, to keep their fantasies fueled. Meanwhile, genuine dramatic tension - Babe's precarious health - was right there all along, but is relegated to subplot status.

Rob Farr wrote:...when was the last time you saw James Finlayson and Harry Langdon portrayed as characters in a major film?


The guy playing Langdon was meh, but Finlayson! On and off in a flash, but totally convincing for all of those few seconds. As is true of every genuine Fin appearance, I wish he'd stuck around a bit longer.

Michael

Chris Seguin
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:29 pm

Re: Well blow me down with an anchovy.

Postby Chris Seguin » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:03 am

I feel like if they stuck to the true dramatic arc of Laurel & Hardy’s actual lives and careers between 1939-1957 it would be too tragic for celluloid.

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 2136
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: Well blow me down with an anchovy.

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:23 am

Chris, I disagree completely, because we would have seen that the British tours were really a triumph for them, and that they both struggled through them, and became great friends for the real reasons, not the phony baloney weakly made-up reasons in the film, and realized the public didn't forget them, and even in America, the new generations were discovering them on television and loving them all over again.

Orson Welles said the problem in getting a happy ending in any story is that to get it, you gave to stop before the story's over. Everyone's story really ends with "and then they died". It's what goes on before that line that makes the difference.

RICHARD M ROBERTS


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