Trailer: Stan & Ollie

The true story of Hollywood’s greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy, is brought to the big screen for the first time. Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the legendary movie icons, Stan & Ollie is the heart-warming story of what would become the pair’s triumphant farewell tour.

With their golden era long behind them, the pair embark on a variety hall tour of Britain and Ireland. Despite the pressures of a hectic schedule, and with the support of their wives Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Ida (Nina Arianda) – a formidable double act in their own right – the pair’s love of performing, as well as for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public.

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Last days on the boards for the funny, gentle men

THERE should be a blue plaque on the lamppost outside the Plough Hotel in Northampton to mark the October day in 1953 when a council worker found himself atop a wooden scaffold mounted on an old milk float painting the lamppost. Both swaying alarmingly.

Suddenly a second floor window opened and a familiar face popped out to ask the chap with the paint pot: “What are you trying to do? Recreate one of our films?”

Just then, the next door window opened and another familiar face emerged. The council painter was inadvertently performing a stunt for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

The pair were in Northampton to begin what would turn out to be their last UK theatre tour at the city’s New Theatre. The sad story of that final tour is the subject of Stan And Ollie, a major film that will close the BFI London Film Festival in October, starring Steve Coogan and US actor John C Reilly. It was written by Jeff Pope, Coogan’s co-writer on acclaimed comedy-drama Philomena.

This was Laurel and Hardy’s fourth visit to Britain as a double act. On their first trip, in 1932, their arrival brought London’s Waterloo station to a standstill. When Bernard Delfont brought them over for a tour in 1947, they arrived in February and left in October, and then only because Hardy’s visa was about to expire.

During that season they played at both the Palladium and the Coliseum, an unheard-of accolade for performers; reopened a large section of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and were inducted into the Grand Order of Water Rats by Robb Wilton, a star English comedian of the time.

Reviewing their act, which involved disastrous attempts to procure a driving licence, The Stage asked “Are Laurel and Hardy as funny in the halls as on the films?” and declared: “They are funnier.”

After a brief diversion to the continent they returned, with Hardy’s papers renewed, to top the bill at the Royal Variety Performance.

Visas weren’t a problem for Laurel. Born in Ulverston – then Lancashire, now Cumbria – he had retained his British nationality.

The UK tours were a welcome opportunity to visit his family including his sister Olga, the landlady of the Bull Inn at Bottesford, Leicestershire. There are numerous pictures of Stan and Ollie clowning behind the bar of Olga’s pub or just enjoying a pint.

On tour here, the pair became friendly with Dump Harris, a novelty xylophone player who bore a striking resemblance to Hardy (known to his friends as Babe). Several times Harris volunteered as a decoy to divert the attention of waiting crowds at railway stations.

Avoiding the scrum isn’t to say that Laurel and Hardy were grand or aloof. Despite their success they remained humble and grounded. In public they were fools; in private they were intelligent men, interested in the people they met. Laurel once went home with a pit band drummer to see his new baby.

Delfont enticed Stan and Ollie back again in 1952, opening in Peterborough, and then again in autumn 1953. There was a sketch set in a psychiatric hospital where Hardy played a patient and Laurel his visitor, with a doctor getting the two confused. Hardy urges Laurel to get a barrister and he returns with a section of a bannister.

Source: Last days on the boards for the funny, gentle men | Films | Entertainment | Express.co.uk

Stan & Ollie: Steve Coogan and John C Reilly star as Laurel and Hardy

Knowing me Alan Partridge, knowing you Stan Laurel. Aha!Steve Coogan has gone from playing the hapless Norfolk-based TV and radio host to playing one half of legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy in a new film.The first photo has been released of Coogan as Laurel alongside Guardians of the Galaxy actor John C Reilly, who plays Oliver Hardy in Stan & Ollie.The film, which follows the pair on their farewell tour, will close the BFI London Film Festival on 21 October.That will be its world premiere, ahead of its cinema release next January.

Laurel and Hardy earned their places as all-time comedy greats by starring in more than 100 films together from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Stan & Ollie is described as a “heart-warming story” that follows the pair on their “triumphant” final tour of UK and Ireland in 1953.

It has been penned by Jeff Pope, who wrote 2013’s Oscar-nominated Philomena with Coogan.

Director Jon S Baird said: “Stan & Ollie, at its heart, is a love story between old friends who just happen to be two of the most iconic comedic characters in Hollywood’s history.”

The film also will also star Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson as Laurel and Hardy’s wives Ida and Lucille.

Source: Stan & Ollie: Steve Coogan and John C Reilly star as Laurel and Hardy – BBC News