Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, April 21, 2008


STAN AND OLLIE: The Roots of Comedy -- The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy. Simon Louvish. Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Press. 2002.

Excellent dual biography of the great comedy team of Laurel and Hardy explains their importance and influence in the world of comedy, analyses their working methods, acting approaches, and various films, and delves into their often tumultuous private lives as well, all in literate prose that keeps you happily turning the pages. Louvish investigates the boys' backgrounds and family histories and separates facts from rumors and legend. Both Stan and Ollie had more than one unhappy marriage, and their trials and tribulations with their assorted wives, divorces, infidelities, alimonies, lawyers, and jealous females often read like a script for one of their zanier movies, and indeed these real-life episodes often informed their comic on-screen antics. Along the way Louvish also educates the reader with facts and anecdotes about the early days of filmmaking, movie comedy, and the famous players who intersected Stan and Ollie's inexorable but not always smooth journey towards fame. Many wonderful black and white photographs are included in the thick, scrupulously-researched volume, which is informative, entertaining, and a great read. You'll want to get your hands on every L & H movie you can find, even the lesser ones!

Verdict: Excellent! ****.

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