|THE INTERNATIONAL SILENT MOVIE|
1890 - 1965
The actor Stan Laurel was born as Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, England. He began his entertainment career with appearances at English music halls. When he went to the USA with Fred Karno's musical comedy troupe - where Charles Chaplin was a member too - Laured decided to stay there. He worked for the Vaudeville and got a job for a movie by chance.
To his early movies belong "Nuts in May" (17), "Hickory Hiram" (18),
"Hustling for Health" (19), "A Lucky Dog" (21) - in which he acted together
with Oliver Hardy for the first time (the movie was already shot in 1919
but only showed two years later), "Mud and Sand" (22), "White Wings" (23),
"Kill or Cure" (23), "Smithy" (24), "Monsieur Don't Care" (24), "Twins"
(25) and "Duck Soup" (27).
The year 1927 was that fateful year for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. There are many rumours how their reunion came off, but this isn't exactly to determine - too many versions have accumulated. But already in their first year the figures were completely elaborated and didn't change much in the 30's. To their great successes belong "Putting Pants on Philip" (27), "The Battle of the Century" (27), "From Soup to Nuts" (28), "Two Tars" (28) and "Big Business" (29).
The sound movie wasn't a obstacle for the duo - in contrast to many other comedians whose career broke down. The duo Laurel & Hardy used the new technology and adapted their figures to this new situation. Subsequently they had worldwide success as it woudn't be possible nowadays.
With movies like "Men O'War" (29), "Perfect Day" (29) and "The Hoose Gow" (29) they laid the foundation of their myth. The short movies soon gave way to the feature films and the audience laughed one's head off in the cinema because of movies like "Pardon Us" (31), "Pack Up Your Troubles" (32), "Fra Diavolo" (33), "Sons of the Desert" (33), "Babes in Toyland" (34), "Bonnie Scotland" (35), "The Bohemian Girl" (36), "Our Relations" (36),"Way Out West" (37) - in which they rushed the hit parade with their song, "Swiss Miss" (38), "Block Heads" (38), "A Chump at Oxford" (39) - the only movie in which Stan Laurel also impersonated a genius besides his naive figure and "Saps at Sea" (40).
Laurel & Hardy played their own childen in the short "Brats" (30), beside it they appeared in other shorts like "Chickens Come Home" (31), "Helpmates" (32), "Towed in a Hole" (32), "Me and My Pal" (33) and "Going Bye Bye" (34). The movie "The Music Box" (32) - a real masterpiece , packed in a short film - won an Oscar for the best short picture. The incomparable Billy Gilbert impersonated the role of Prof. von Schwarzenhoffen.
In 1939 Stan Laurel was separated from Oliver Hardy because of contractual problems with Hal Roach and he left the Hal Roach studios. Only when 20th Century-Fox showed interest to obligate both as a duo again there came other productions into being. Unfortunately most of these movies were only a shadow of their earlier movies - "Great Guns" (41) and "Jitterbuts" (43) - and also their change to MGM didn't bring an improvement. After the failures of "Air Raid Wardens" (44) and "Nothing but Trouble" (44) Hollywood lost the interest into Laurel & Hardy.
They gave their farewell show with the movie "Atoll K" (50), which was shot in France.
A comeback for the American television failed shortly before the beginning of the shooting because Stan Laurel suffered a stroke and it lasted nearly one year to recover again.
When Oliver Hardy died in 1957 a comeback in the limelight was no longer a topic for Stan Laurel. He retired to his private life but stood in contact with his fans. He not only answered all the fan mails in person (the number of the fan mails was enormous because the new medium television broadcasted a lot of the old Laurel & Hardy movies which enlivened their popularity again) and also added some additional typewritten lines but also did not avoid the personal contact. He even was listed in the telephone book.
Stan Laurel got the Honorary Award in 1961 for his lifework.
Private he was married seven times with four different women. After the divorce of his first wife he got married twice with his second wife, triply with his third wife and once with his fourth wife. The last marriage lasted till to his death.
With Stan Laurel's death the world not only lost one of the most important
comics but also one of the decentest and most uncomplicated movie stars.
Other movies with Stan Laurel: