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Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy: An Affectionate Biography

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John McCabe is an established writer on theater and the movies and a personal friend of Stan Laurel's widow. His delightful biography conveys the warmth and humor of the much-loved duo whose hilarious escapades convulsed a generation of movie-goers and have now won a new world-wide audience on the TV screen. John McCabe is an established writer on theater and the movies and a personal friend of Stan Laurel's widow. His delightful biography conveys the warmth and humor of the much-loved duo whose hilarious escapades convulsed a generation of movie-goers and have now won a new world-wide audience on the TV screen.


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John McCabe is an established writer on theater and the movies and a personal friend of Stan Laurel's widow. His delightful biography conveys the warmth and humor of the much-loved duo whose hilarious escapades convulsed a generation of movie-goers and have now won a new world-wide audience on the TV screen. John McCabe is an established writer on theater and the movies and a personal friend of Stan Laurel's widow. His delightful biography conveys the warmth and humor of the much-loved duo whose hilarious escapades convulsed a generation of movie-goers and have now won a new world-wide audience on the TV screen.

57 review for Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy: An Affectionate Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tittirossa

    Affettuosissima biografia del duo comico Stanlio & Ollio. E' bene chiarire da subito, che come Stanlio&Ollio sono conosciuti solo in Italia (non solo perchè si italianizzavano molti nomi d'oltre oceano, vedi Ridolini, Gianni & Pinotto, etc. quanto perchè in un loro film ambientato in Italia, Fra' Diavolo, scelsero proprio quei nomi per l'italianizzazione, e così rimasero). Una scelta che accentua il carattere bambinesco, a differenza dell'originale Mr Laurel& Mr Hardy, che sottolinea il loro ess Affettuosissima biografia del duo comico Stanlio & Ollio. E' bene chiarire da subito, che come Stanlio&Ollio sono conosciuti solo in Italia (non solo perchè si italianizzavano molti nomi d'oltre oceano, vedi Ridolini, Gianni & Pinotto, etc. quanto perchè in un loro film ambientato in Italia, Fra' Diavolo, scelsero proprio quei nomi per l'italianizzazione, e così rimasero). Una scelta che accentua il carattere bambinesco, a differenza dell'originale Mr Laurel& Mr Hardy, che sottolinea il loro essere adulti. L'affetto dichiarato per Stan e la passione per i film del duo permeano tutto il libro, che di biografico in senso stretto ha molto poco, privilegiando l'aspetto professionale, e il making of dei corto e lungometraggi. Ma il vero oggetto, la domanda su cui si interroga McCabe è il perchè del perdurare del loro successo. L'aspetto fisico di Stanlio&Ollio è un elemento sicuramente importante, ma non l'unico: la fisicità, la mimica, la dissonanza tra le intenzioni e il risultato delle azioni, sono state costanti di altri famosissimi comici (Chaplin, Buster Keaton). Comici che sono diventati famosi, peraltro, col muto ovvero con un paradigma secondo cui non erano necessarie parole, costruendo di fatto una sorta di alfabeto universale comprensibile a prescindere dalla lingua (o dal contesto culturale: Chaplin e S&O sono stati travolti da folle oceaniche* durante i loro tour sia negli Usa che in Europa). McCabe identifica la loro poetica con l'innocenza e una candida ignoranza, in contrasto con tutti i peccati e le follie del mondo. In effetti, non mi imbarazza vedere le loro gag che si risolvono in modo sempre tragicomico, e non mi sento idiota neanche a vedere un film basato solo su battaglie a torte in faccia, in cui fu usata tutta la produzione giornaliera di una fabbrica, tipo 2000 torte (fu fatto con l'intento di mettere la parola fine a questo escamotage). A differenza di quello che provo quando, per scherzi del telecomando, finisco su un cinepanettone con la sua greve e sboccata volgarità. Hardy era talmente "rispettoso" del pubblico che la gag della "cravatta frullata" nasce proprio per evitare una scena imbarazzante, in cui stava per soffiarsi il naso con la cravatta, ma si ferma imbarazzato un secondo prima perché ci sono delle signore in scena. Mentre lo sguardo fisso in camera nasce dalla loro lunga esperienza sul palco, è il modo per dare il tempo al pubblico di ridere e NON perdersi la battuta successiva. Sono andata a rivedermi alcuni loro pezzi su youtube, e che ci devo fare, a me fanno ancora sbellicare dal ridere.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anthony McGill

    "Stan and Ollie: they were the two perfect clowns - supremely brainless and eternally optimistic- whose genius it was to make millions of their fellowmen happier during the long career in which they became the finest comedy team in the history of motion pictures." Don't think anyone knew more about the films of Laurel and Hardy than John McCabe and with his fellow authors Al Kilgore (compiler)and Richard W. Bann (filmography) has written the ultimate history of all their films. McCabe and Kilgore "Stan and Ollie: they were the two perfect clowns - supremely brainless and eternally optimistic- whose genius it was to make millions of their fellowmen happier during the long career in which they became the finest comedy team in the history of motion pictures." Don't think anyone knew more about the films of Laurel and Hardy than John McCabe and with his fellow authors Al Kilgore (compiler)and Richard W. Bann (filmography) has written the ultimate history of all their films. McCabe and Kilgore were provided full access to the files of Hal Roach Studios, where the comedy duo made the great majority and most famous of their 105 comedy capers. Simply amazing collection of nearly 1500, many rare, photos of Stan and Ollie at work and play, and taken during the production of their films. An extra bonus was that that the authors had access to original scripts and cutting continuities, allowing them to reconstruct many of the "lost" comedies, films of which no prints have survived. Super book and the must-have for all fans of the lad from the music halls of England who came to America with the Fred Karno musical-comedy troupe ...... and the boy from Georgia who joined the Lubin troupe in Jacksonville, Florida ...... and film comedy history was made when they teamed up together in the mid-1920s at the Hal Roach Studios ...... and the rest was film magic! Review based on original E.P. Dutton hardcover edition, New York, 1975. 400 pages.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Qt

    A wonderful book for fans of Laurel & Hardy. It's lavishly illustrated with high-quality photos and film stills from many of their movies and shorts, as well as a synopsis of each. I love looking at the photos--even in film stills, they make me laugh :-) A wonderful book for fans of Laurel & Hardy. It's lavishly illustrated with high-quality photos and film stills from many of their movies and shorts, as well as a synopsis of each. I love looking at the photos--even in film stills, they make me laugh :-)

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Perkins

    The subtitle is "an affectionate biography", and it certainly is - like a bloke down the pub telling you about his best mates. It was fun to read, but I don't feel I really know Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel much better, other than a few minor insights from Stan's widow and a couple of biographical details I didn't know before. The book focuses far too much on summarising their movie plots, and not enough on the personalities of the team, or the technical difficulties involved in setting up visua The subtitle is "an affectionate biography", and it certainly is - like a bloke down the pub telling you about his best mates. It was fun to read, but I don't feel I really know Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel much better, other than a few minor insights from Stan's widow and a couple of biographical details I didn't know before. The book focuses far too much on summarising their movie plots, and not enough on the personalities of the team, or the technical difficulties involved in setting up visual gags, or any juicy stories that might have affected them (even if they were not the perpetrators). The fact that this book was written over 40 years ago doesn't help - perhaps the writer could not be as scandalous as he might be today. The comedy duo appear to have been all-round nice guys, which is fine; I wouldn't want anyone to spoil what good memories people have of them. Even so, I'd like a bit more detail, particularly about their personal lives: after they got into movies, all we find out is that they were married, Stan was once divorced, Ollie (Babe) was a golf fanatic, and Stan was a workaholic...but these are only mentioned in passing, with almost nothing about how these things came about, or how such events affected them and their work. All in all, a good start, but could have been a lot better.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    This was the first biography I was ever moved to read at my own volition. I had long been a fan of the movies of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. When I saw the bright yellow paperback on the rack, I just had to have it. The subtitle of "an affectionate biography" is very accurate. This is not a "warts and all" telling of The Boys' relationships. This is written by a fan who also had access to key players in their lives. (In fact, he married one of their co-stars.) Instead, the reader learns what i This was the first biography I was ever moved to read at my own volition. I had long been a fan of the movies of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. When I saw the bright yellow paperback on the rack, I just had to have it. The subtitle of "an affectionate biography" is very accurate. This is not a "warts and all" telling of The Boys' relationships. This is written by a fan who also had access to key players in their lives. (In fact, he married one of their co-stars.) Instead, the reader learns what it was like to make many of those films, and what Hollywood was like during that Golden Age. Brief glimpses into the lives of other performers such as Charlie Chaplin are a bonus. In the years since, there have been other books that delve more deeply into the foibles of Stan and Ollie, but I would still recommend this one for the true fan. After all, what is gained by opening each and every door?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    Very nice book , affectionate and it has some nice pictures , lists all their films and is good Base to start reading about the boys .

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Broderick

    This was a relatively short but fascinating biography of arguably the greatest comedy duo of all time. Like their on-screen characters displayed, this book shows how sweet and sharing Stan and Babe were to each other, their film-making partners and the public. The origins of their comedic work came from the almost forgotten worlds of music hall revues, vaudeville and the classic silent films. Stan's gift for pantomime and his natural gift for comedy and instinctively knowing what's funny imbued t This was a relatively short but fascinating biography of arguably the greatest comedy duo of all time. Like their on-screen characters displayed, this book shows how sweet and sharing Stan and Babe were to each other, their film-making partners and the public. The origins of their comedic work came from the almost forgotten worlds of music hall revues, vaudeville and the classic silent films. Stan's gift for pantomime and his natural gift for comedy and instinctively knowing what's funny imbued their short one- and two-reeler films and the later features. Babe, as friends and family knew Ollie, was less interested in the nuts and bolts of film-making and writing than getting in a round of golf. But he implicitly trusted Stan, as did Hal Roach who gave them their big break, to craft a funny scene around the bare bones of an idea. The author met them after a live show in England in the early '50s and developed a distinctive rapport with Stan and Ollie. He wrote the original book in the early '60s, after Ollie passed away. The edition I read came out later, after Stan's death, with some more material in a final chapter - including the creation of Sons of the Desert, Stan's idea of a early film research group consisting of fans of their work. It was a wonderful book to read and now I really want to try to find their silent shorts as well as viewing the talkies again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    This book was an interesting read. I used to watch Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy movies on TV when I was a little girl. However, as the author states in the book that it really bothered Laurel how the movies were chopped up for TV to allow for commercials. He did spend a considerable amount of time and effort helping with the editing when he and Hardy were working with Roach Studios to make sure the comedy was just right. Times have changed and we have different expectations for our comedy This book was an interesting read. I used to watch Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy movies on TV when I was a little girl. However, as the author states in the book that it really bothered Laurel how the movies were chopped up for TV to allow for commercials. He did spend a considerable amount of time and effort helping with the editing when he and Hardy were working with Roach Studios to make sure the comedy was just right. Times have changed and we have different expectations for our comedy today, but after watching on YouTube some of their short films, it is interesting to see how much comedy today stems from their ideas and talent. Their talent was very physical, slapstick and goofy fun. Laurel and Hardy did get along well professionally and had respect for each other and worked well together. I enjoyed reading this book and learning about them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (smeets_x)

    I have loved Stan and Ollie for so long I can't believe it's taken me so long to read a biography. My mum spent a lot of my childhood educating me with old films and Laurel and Hardy were real favourites. This biography is truly a biography of a fan but someone that has studied his subjects, and their comedy. Although personal information is included, it is anecdotal rather than in depth and there is a chapter on their individual histories before they meet at the beginning of the book. Some films I have loved Stan and Ollie for so long I can't believe it's taken me so long to read a biography. My mum spent a lot of my childhood educating me with old films and Laurel and Hardy were real favourites. This biography is truly a biography of a fan but someone that has studied his subjects, and their comedy. Although personal information is included, it is anecdotal rather than in depth and there is a chapter on their individual histories before they meet at the beginning of the book. Some films are described and analysed in detail which I found a bit dull when I had not seen those particular films. This would be a great book for a scholarly fan, who loves to analyse comedy - what makes people laugh? Why were Laurel and Hardy funny? On the other side, I wish McCabe had included more biographical detail about their lives outside of film, hence the 4 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I've just read this book although it was written in the 1960's. It was a delightful read and gave personal insights from their wives as well which I really enjoyed. My husband and I have recently been watching their sound shorts on Youtube and have been enjoying them immensely. The book is a great accompaniment to those who have just "discovered" them. I've just read this book although it was written in the 1960's. It was a delightful read and gave personal insights from their wives as well which I really enjoyed. My husband and I have recently been watching their sound shorts on Youtube and have been enjoying them immensely. The book is a great accompaniment to those who have just "discovered" them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debby

    I really enjoyed this book! A lot of insight into the early music halls in England and how tough it was to make a living doing comedy. It was also interesting to learn the way business was conducted during the Hal Roach years. Two very likeable characters and overall good guys! Looking forward to the movie (Stan & Ollie) that is coming out this week.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Genuinely one of the best books I've ever read - paints such a vivid, warm, lovely picture of Stan and Ollie as people, and a really interesting one of them as artists. McCabe was a close friend of Stan's and an acquaintance of Ollie's - and the love they felt for each other as artists and friends really shines through. A really, really wonderful book. Genuinely one of the best books I've ever read - paints such a vivid, warm, lovely picture of Stan and Ollie as people, and a really interesting one of them as artists. McCabe was a close friend of Stan's and an acquaintance of Ollie's - and the love they felt for each other as artists and friends really shines through. A really, really wonderful book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike O'Connor

    Only wish it was twice as long.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Clancy

    I love Laurel and Hardy and I thought the world of this book when I bought and read it back in the late 1960's / early 1970's. Just finished re-reading it today and I still love them. I love Laurel and Hardy and I thought the world of this book when I bought and read it back in the late 1960's / early 1970's. Just finished re-reading it today and I still love them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    A fun read

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ian Wood

    ‘Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy’ is billed as an affectionate biography and so it is, it has no detail of the personnel life of the two stars, unsavoury or otherwise, and concentrates on a professional biography of the pairs film work with a brief pre-meeting biography. When the book gets going it is merely a summarisation of the films the pair were working on and a bit of background on some of the better known ones. The book is a success because it brings to mind scenes from the films which then play ou ‘Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy’ is billed as an affectionate biography and so it is, it has no detail of the personnel life of the two stars, unsavoury or otherwise, and concentrates on a professional biography of the pairs film work with a brief pre-meeting biography. When the book gets going it is merely a summarisation of the films the pair were working on and a bit of background on some of the better known ones. The book is a success because it brings to mind scenes from the films which then play out in the mind of the reader recapturing a sense of the hilarity when the films first were watched by the reader. In that this book is fantastic for anyone with a familiarity to the films of Laurel and Hardy but would bring nothing to a casual reader with only passing knowledge of there films. Being fortunate enough to have a great wealth of knowledge of the films of messes Laurel and Hardy I enjoyed reminiscing with McCabe but wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone wishing to discover the delight of these great comedies from new.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Long John Silver

    Mia recensione: https://ilrifugiodilongjohnsilver.blo... Mia recensione: https://ilrifugiodilongjohnsilver.blo...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alex Davies

    The author of this biography, John McCabe, was in a unique position, in that he was the only writer out of all the various books on Laurel and Hardy, to have interviewed the men themselves. After having conducted most of his interviews with the comedy team in the mid 1950s in England, john McCabe has written an accurate, affectionate and very readable biography which focuses more on the men behind the comedy, rather than on the films themselves. The only minor quibble I have to mention, is that The author of this biography, John McCabe, was in a unique position, in that he was the only writer out of all the various books on Laurel and Hardy, to have interviewed the men themselves. After having conducted most of his interviews with the comedy team in the mid 1950s in England, john McCabe has written an accurate, affectionate and very readable biography which focuses more on the men behind the comedy, rather than on the films themselves. The only minor quibble I have to mention, is that I would have liked to have seen more photos included.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    Good book for fans of the shows, though don't go in thinking it's a biography of the two comedians. This is a book chronicling all the on-screen appearance they've ever been in together, and show behind the scene still photos of the shooting of each, rating each show by comedic merit. I, personally, didn't agree the ratings all the way. There were some that were rated less than I would've given. It's a fun book and really made me feel nostalgic to the days when I was growing up and used to watch Good book for fans of the shows, though don't go in thinking it's a biography of the two comedians. This is a book chronicling all the on-screen appearance they've ever been in together, and show behind the scene still photos of the shooting of each, rating each show by comedic merit. I, personally, didn't agree the ratings all the way. There were some that were rated less than I would've given. It's a fun book and really made me feel nostalgic to the days when I was growing up and used to watch them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt Hamilton

    A lovely inside look at the men who made the movies. While there is biographical information about the comedy duo, including interviews with Stan and Ollie, the sections about their comedic process and philosophy are truly interesting insights into a by-gone era of filmmaking. It truly is a loving biography and the author's immense love and respect for Laurel and Hardy as people shows through in every page. What a beautiful tribute to the men who made so many people smile! A lovely inside look at the men who made the movies. While there is biographical information about the comedy duo, including interviews with Stan and Ollie, the sections about their comedic process and philosophy are truly interesting insights into a by-gone era of filmmaking. It truly is a loving biography and the author's immense love and respect for Laurel and Hardy as people shows through in every page. What a beautiful tribute to the men who made so many people smile!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Wonderful photos....good history....a little too much philosophizing about the "latent homosexuality" between Stan & Ollie sharing a bed in their movie "Laughing Gravy." Would have loved to learn more about their later life, especially their trip to Scotland. Wonderful photos....good history....a little too much philosophizing about the "latent homosexuality" between Stan & Ollie sharing a bed in their movie "Laughing Gravy." Would have loved to learn more about their later life, especially their trip to Scotland.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Somerset Bloke

    If you like Laurel & Hardy then this is a book for you. Rather obvious you might say, but here, John McCabe does an excellent job in getting to the hearts of these two great men. This is not just an account of their lives, no, this is much more than that. Go get a copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Hale

    A critical look at the beginnings of Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy. The author not only did some biographical sketching but analyzed why they were funny and their innovations. I bought omit was amazing that people of the Hal Roach Studios used to go to the movie theater an time the laughter.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gary Shapiro

    Fine look at the careers of these two great clowns.

  25. 4 out of 5

    PJ Ebbrell

    A light entertaining read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pat

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

  29. 4 out of 5

    Phil G

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Quinn

  31. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  32. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  33. 4 out of 5

    Ambrose Miles

  34. 5 out of 5

    Hom Sack

  35. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  36. 4 out of 5

    John Milam

  37. 4 out of 5

    Robert Horton

  38. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  39. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  40. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie

  41. 4 out of 5

    Miles Curtis

  42. 4 out of 5

    Phil Ainsworth

  43. 4 out of 5

    Janeen Watson

  44. 4 out of 5

    Rolls Eyes

  45. 5 out of 5

    David Houston

  46. 4 out of 5

    Richard Thomas

  47. 4 out of 5

    LesleyMP

  48. 4 out of 5

    Mr. P.W.J. Edwards

  49. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Williams

  50. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  51. 4 out of 5

    Calvin

  52. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  53. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

  54. 5 out of 5

    Dick Baldwin

  55. 4 out of 5

    Alex Robinson

  56. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  57. 4 out of 5

    Mike

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