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By midlandsmovies, Sep 27 2019 10:22AM



And that’s another fine documentary you’ve gotten me into


A new documentary film is now in production from Leicester based production company Spoon Jar Films called On the Trail of Stan & Ollie which will showcase the historical journey of the famous film duo.


Established by experienced producer Wayne Kelly and Director/Cameraman Matt Holt, they make compelling films about fascinating people, issues that matter and quirky stories that surprise and entertain.


Wayne and Matt are currently filming the production which comes hot on the heels of documentaries “No Fare” and “In a Landfill Far, Far Away”.


And as well as the creative talents on Spoon Jar, the duo run commercial business MGL Media.


“We’ve been making high quality video for a wide range of businesses across the UK for over 13 years. Our portfolio covers a wide range of corporate clients, local governments, broadcasters and small businesses and organisations”, they say.


However, their new affectionate documentary will tell the story of comedy legends, Laurel and Hardy and follow hot on the heels of the recent BAFTA nominated film, ‘Stan and Ollie’. “We’re but really pleased at how many famous faces we’ve got on board so far”, they told Midlands Movies.


Wayne and Matt are also delighted to be producing this brand new documentary in collaboration with notable Laurel and Hardy aficionado, Ross Owen, of The Ross Owen Show.


And well-known actors will talk the viewer through their favourite scenes and show how Stan and Ollie continue to influence their own work and wider popular culture.


Laurel and Hardy historians and fans from around the world will also share their fascinating stories, some of which have never been heard before.


“We also follow the personal journey of Stan Laurel’s great granddaughter, Cassidy Cook, as she goes in search of her grandfather’s theatrical roots at the world’s oldest music hall - The Panopticon in Glasgow, Scotland”.


Shot on location in LA and Glasgow and full of anecdotes from those who knew Stan and Ollie best, this documentary brings ‘The Boys’ and their genius to a new generation of fans.


Having already produced films for the BBC and eOne, including content for international DVD & BluRay releases, the company also continue to seek new production and distribution partners.


“We always have multiple projects in production, so take a look at our website to see what we have on the slate, and how you can get involved”.


For further info check out their official website and social media pages below and check the full trailer out too:


http://www.mglmedia.tv/

https://twitter.com/SpoonJarFilms

http://www.spoonjarfilms.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/spoonjarfilms





By midlandsmovies, May 26 2019 03:39PM

Stan & Ollie (2019) Dir. Jon S. Baird


Beginning in 1937, a tremendously long one-take shot pulls us into the Hollywood world of one of comedy’s most iconic duos where Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy move through a studio backlot to a film set during their heyday. However, as Stan is on a different contract to Ollie, a rift is borne which continues to 1953 where the more mature duo embark on a gruelling UK-wide tour as part of a planned comeback.


Composed of Englishman Stan Laurel & American Oliver Hardy, their slapstick comedy was a hit with war-time audiences and they went on to star in over 100 films together. John C. Reilly is covered in prosthetics to play the portly Oliver Hardy, whilst comedian Steve Coogan is a spitting image for the “confused” persona of Stan Laurel. However, despite Stan and Ollie's well-known on-screen traits, the creative partnership begin to struggle with a music hall tour of the UK in the hopes of getting another film made.


Checking-in to rough hotels and playing to a run of empty theatres, Reilly and Coogan give magnetic performances as the two elderly men coming to terms with some of their glamour slipping away. Coogan especially, whose legendary Alan Partridge alter-ego I am a huge fan of, finally (for me) ditches Alan’s mannerisms and this films contains probably Coogan’s best movie screen performance to date.


As the duo begin to fill up more theatres owing to a string of publicity events, their past catches up to them and whilst their wives come to visit from Los Angeles (another fantastic double act from Shirley Henderson as Lucille Hardy and Nina Arianda as Ida Kitaeva Laurel), the tension boils over into a public spat.


Filmed right here in the Midlands, some scenes were shot in Dudley as well as The Old Rep theatre in Birmingham and also along the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire. We get old-fashioned and charming set-ups in a loving homage to both the duo and their trade. Baird’s direction is unfussy and straightforward, which allows the actors to shine. But it’s delightfulness of tone does sometimes push the film towards being a tad artless and plain.


As their past feelings of reciprocated betrayal are revealed, the film's amiable drama does moves into a slightly more interesting take on resentment, creativity and mutual respect.


When Ollie has a heart-attack, it marks the beginning of a reconciliation and the pleasantness is re-established. And the film shows great fondness and respect for the two great men and reveals a little about their motivations and inspirations.


However, as humble as it is, the film at times slips into mawkishness and some of the curious simplicity results in some underdeveloped sequences. That said, the movie made me want to watch many more of the duo’s finest celluloid moments and the two leads pull off more than just a great imitation. Although at times a bit wishy-washy, Stan and Ollie is a humble and uncomplicated look at two mesmerising legends in a quaint tribute piece.


★★★


Michael Sales

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