Laurel and Hardy ('The Boys' as they are affectionately known) are the most recognized comedy duo the cinema has produced. The film that introduced them as the "Stan and Ollie" characters we know so well today was 1927's Do Detectives Think?
. Before that, Stan Laurel (from England) and Oliver Hardy (from America) had long solo careers, as this collection of rare and hilarious comedies shows.
Hardy entered movies in 1913, Laurel in 1917. Stan often played sharp-witted types, and Ollie "heavies" or villains (often with comics Billy West or Larry Semon). By the mid-1920's, both were employed at the Roach Studios, still playing different roles, with Laurel also gag-writing and even directing Charley Chase, James Finlayson, Our Gang - and Oliver Hardy!
Producer Hal Roach played "comic roulette," teaming his stars in the hopes of hitting box office gold. The Boys make their first appearance together in Lucky Dog, but it will be another ten years before they truly become a team. This collection showcases the comic genius of two great performers on the road to fame - Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy.
The Hobo (1917) with Billy West, Oliver Hardy: No, its not Charlie - its Chaplin imitator Billy West as the hobo! Hardy is the wronged boyfriend who must battle Billy for his girl. A custard pie and stolen car later, Billy makes things right.
The Show (1922) with Larry Semon, Oliver Hardy: Backstage, propman Larry has his hands full with wind machines, a rooster that belches nitro (!), and Hardy and his gang out to steal the payroll - but the show must go on!
The Soilers (1923) with Stan Laurel, James Finlayson: During the gold rush, Stan hits the motherlode, and sheriff Finlayson jumps his claim. Alaska isn't big enough for the both of them!
White Wings (1923) with Stan Laurel: When Stan mixes up a dustbin with a baby carriage, he goes from street sweeper to dentist all in one afternoon in this comedy of errors!
Should Sailors Marry? (1925) with Clyde Cook, Oliver Hardy: Clyde heads home (and for trouble) after four years in the Navy to meet his future bride. The gold-digger tries to set him up for easy alimony until Hardy appears as the insurance company doctor. One of their best.
Thundering Fleas (1926) with Our Gang, Oliver Hardy: It's the original "scratch-off" contest as the gang's flea collection escapes at a wedding! Roach studio regulars Charley Chase and James Finlayson also make appearances.
Some of the classic early silent films made by Laurel and Hardy are collected on this second volume of works from the early 20th century. The set starts with "The Hobo" (1917), which sees Hardy getting into a fight over a girl with a Charlie Chaplin lookalike. Next up is some riotous slapstick courtesy of "The Show" (1922), with the dynamic duo getting into all kinds of trouble among the backstage props of a theatrical production. "The Soilers" (1923) is set among the goldrush, while "White Wings" (1923) features Stan going through a variety of occupations, with disastrous results! "Should Sailors Marry'" (1925) offers a starring role for Hardy as a doctor, while, finally, "Thundering Fleas" (1926) sees a group of fleas let loose at a wedding.