Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Disappointing. It looks old-fashioned, especially as I had noticed the date of 1939 in the opening credits. It looked more old-fashioned than Will Hay in 1939. This was wartime (albeit not in the USA yet), and O&H were repeating their schtick from the early 1930s? Later I read that their partnership really only lasted from 1927-1940. I think it lasted a few years longer than that, but once the war kicked in for real, it diffused and dissolved them. A chump at Oxford has a 20-minute pre-eamble, during which I wondered if the title was as random as a Marx brothers title (but then half of every Harold Lloyd movie is preamble), but no - they go to Oxford, BUT then they spend a whole 15 minutes stuck in a maze! One is tempted to wonder if that was symbolic. There's a great scene in the maze where Stan wonders if he has three hands, but that's about all the content in the scene - in fact it's not a scene it's a whole act. It got a bit better after that, although there were no scenes of their studying, just a curious back-story about Stan being an English Lord (in reality - no kidding) but the film as a whole felt pretty old to me.
The best Laurel and Hardy movie. Very clever.
This short comedy film has Laurel and Hardy scrounging around for work and they masquerade as a maid and butler in a well-to-do home. As expected they cause loads of trouble and skip out. Next they are a pair of street sweepers who come upon some luck while on break. They unwittingly capture a bank robber and they are soon rewarded with a free education at Oxford. There they are met with a group of haughty Oxford snobs who cannot wait to mess with the new arrivals. The ensuing moments include getting lost in a maze, dizzy spells, run-ins with the Dean, and a chance encounter with Oxford athletic hero Lord Paddington, who shares an uncanny resemblance to Stan. Despite all the ups and downs, Stan and Ollie make it through and they succeed in making this comedy quite funny.
Whilst not the finest example of a Laruel and Hardy feature, this particular effort plays out like a series of shorts, with a mixture of recycled gags (Laurel in drag) and new mishaps (trapped in a maze) that come together to form an hour of effective comedy, as only these boys can deliver, right up to the concluding shot, which perhaps best explains why moviegoers love the pair and, more importantly, why they love each other.
Pretty good, as L&H films go.
Best cure for a hangover. Love the scene with the ''third arm''.
A patchwork job, certainly - and thus less organic-seeming than the very best Laurel and Hardy - yet one with marvellous moments. The best material comes in the opening 20 minutes, tacked on for the European release, in the course of which the duo manage to comprehensively ruin Finlayson's dinner party... Some of its directorial choices are faultless: take the cut from the porter Meredith's excited declaration "Oh, what a brilliant mind!" to the typical close-up of Stan not so much lost in, as utterly oblivious to, his own thoughts - in a sequence that would these days be trumpeted as an origin story, and ends with Stan's transformation into the ear-wiggling Lord Paddington, perhaps the most radical thing Hal Roach ever did with the Laurel persona.
I couldn't abide Laurel and Hardy when I was younger but I've warmed to them over the years and think this is a fantastic film. There are many great scenes but the best is definitely at the end when the angry students come to lynch Stan and Ollie, unaware that a bump on the head has caused Stan to revert to being Lord Paddington - a man who wiggles his ears in an extraordinary manner and fights like a demon when riled, according to his valet Meredith. "We're going to run you out of Oxford; and if you don't go, we'll take off your britches and throw you out!" says one of the students. "What? Take off my britches? In the presence of Meredith?" responds Lord P, before wiggling his ears ferociously and chucking them all out of the window, including Ollie. L & H had an extraordinary partnership with a chemistry that was second to none: by the time of this film they made it all look so effortless, when surely it was anything but.
A good laughable comedy.
I love the part when Stan biffs the whole school.