Discuss any of the early film comedians(1900-1950) that interest you. Explain what it is about them you enjoy, and use specific scenes or films to bolster your argument. This choice does not have to conform to using Buster Keaton or Chaplin. You may look at other comedian who interested you. For example, you may use W.C. Fields or The Marx Brothers, or Laurel and Hardy.
Probably the finest comedians of their age, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy changed the face of comedy like no other duo. The duo was made of the English Stan Laurel and the American Oliver Hardy. They started off in the mid 1920’s and went on well into the 1940’s with their series of slapstick comedy films which numbered over 100. Amongst their most famous films, one can mention Sons of the Desert, Babes in Toyland and the Classic Way Out West dating from 1937.
Both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were very well established actors having starred in a number of films on their own before being discovered by Hal Roach in the mid 1920’s. They began appearing in short films together starting with The Lucky Dog in 1921. They officially became a duo in the 1927 film, Putting Pants on Philip which saw them establish themselves as screen legends with their hilarious situations and slapstick comedy full of humour.
The routine was quite similar in most films, The thin and silent Stan Laurel would create situations which left the plump and irascible Hardy fuming and they would end up quarrelling like there was no tomorrow. Situations were also quite hilarious especially when Laurel ended up breaking things and Hardy would be forced into impossible tasks due to his weight and bulk. Roach skilfully casted both actors in several films where their talents could be exhibited and demonstrated for all to see especially in tit for tat fights which ended up disastrously and more often than not in pie fights of astronomical proportions.
Big Business which came out in 1929 is perhaps the most famous of their films apart from Way Out West. Here one can enjoy huge fights and other similar disastrous situations where Hardy would participate with relish whilst Laurel would hide himself and participate just the same although much more subtly.
Comparisons with other actors such as Charlie Chaplin are instructive although both Laurel and Hardy are quite original in their own ways. Occasionally, Hardy would shuffle his necktie in order to look ingratiating whilst Laurel would cry and scratch his hair appearing stupid or befuddled. These traits acquired legendary status and remain imprinted in the minds of viewers for decades.
Way out West is also a very famous film which covers the exploits of the duo in the remote West where they have to grapple with angry white settlers as well as Indians on the warpath. The way they get into various situations and come out of them at the same time is characteristic of both Laurel and hardy whilst the sound adds to the natural exposure of it all. However, Laurel and Hardy silent are also extremely popular and some even prefer films without sound.
Tit for tat fights were extremely popular and the way these eventually degenerated into massive fights with hundreds of people involved. These and other characteristics imbued in Laurel and Hardy films make them legendary and give them an aura which few have equalled apart from the great comedians of the past.