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Celebrating Laurel & Hardy

Way Out West (1937)
October 26, 2011 - 7:30 pm

Coinciding with RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment’s release of a new DVD box set, Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, and celebrating its own ongoing work with the legacy of Laurel & Hardy, the Archive is pleased to present two beloved comedy classics: Way Out West (1937), restored by the Archive with funding from The Film Foundation (and the pair’s only Western), and The Music Box (1932), their Oscar-winning short film about delivering a piano to the top of a flight of stairs.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The Film Foundation.

Way Out West  (1937)

Directed by James W. Horne

When asked what film made with partner Oliver Hardy was his favorite, Stan Laurel most often cited Way Out West. The Boys' only joint venture into the Old West, the film ranks at or near the top of the great Laurel and Hardy films. Comedian Dick Van Dyke, a close friend of Stan Laurel, puts it at the top of his list, as do historians William K. Everson and Leonard Maltin. Contemporary reviewers also held Way Out West in high regard—Box Office called it "a hilarious comedy, probably the best the team has made."

The story has Stan and Ollie traveling to Bushwood Gultch to deliver the deed of a gold mine to the daughter of their recently deceased friend. But, in an attempt to obtain instant fortune for themselves, the girl's employees—a shady saloon owner and his dance-hall girlfriend—scheme to hide her true identity from the Boys.

All the typical Laurel and Hardy routines are present, plus the Boys also do a couple of very endearing musical numbers. Outside of the saloon, Stan and Ollie perform a soft shoe dance routine while the Avalon Boys sing "At the Ball." Inside the saloon, the two sing "On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine," a nice number that highlights the truly fine musical voice of Oliver Hardy. Stan sings too, but the big laugh at the end comes when first the deep bass voice of Chill Wills (character actor and vocalist for the Avaalon Boys) and then the high falsetto of Rosina Lawrence are dubbed in for Stan's usual English music-hall vocals. Musical director Marvin T. Hatley received an Oscar nomination for the score.

—Rob Stone

Hal Roach Studios, MGM. Screenwriter: James Parrott. Cinematographer: Art Lloyd. Editor: Bert Jordan. Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Sharon Lynne, James Finlayson, Rosina Lawrence, Stanley Fields.

35mm, b/w, 65 min.

Preceded by:

Excerpted from Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection

The Music Box  (1932)

Directed by James Parrott

This Academy Award-winning short depicts the pair attempting to move a piano up a large flight of steps.

Hal Roach Studios, MGM. Producer: Hal Roach. Screenwriter: H. M. Walker. Cinematographer: Len Powers. Editor: Richard Currier. Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Gladys Gale, Billy Gilbert, William Gillespie.  

HDCam b/w, 29 min.