Key char­ac­ter miss­ing but ex­pert gives movie the thumbs up

Birmingham Post - - LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE - Gra­ham Young Fea­tures Staff

IT IS be­ing billed as “the un­told story of the world’s great­est com­edy act”. Set to open in the UK at the height of the Os­car fever sea­son, Stan & Ol­lie pairs British star Steve Coogan with Chicago ac­tor John C Reilly.

And parts of the film have been shot at the Black Coun­try Liv­ing Mu­seum in Dud­ley and at the Old Rep Theatre in Sta­tion Street, Birm­ing­ham city cen­tre.

But one key char­ac­ter who will be miss­ing from the movie is Brum­mie ac­tor Char­lie Hall – even though he now has a city pub named af­ter him.

Born in Wash­wood Heath in 1899, Hall made his way to Hol­ly­wood and ended up star­ring in no fewer than 47 films with the kings of com­edy.

To­day he is still re­mem­bered in the city thanks to the JD Wether­spoon pub called the Char­lie Hall, a for­mer bingo hall on Barn­abas Road, Erd­ing­ton.

The last film Hall made with Lau­rel and Hardy was the 1940 re­lease Saps At Sea. How­ever, the new movie is set years later, which means that Hall is not in the list of char­ac­ters.

The trailer has re­ceived the thumbs up from Lau­rel & Hardy ex­pert John Ul­lah.

He co-founded the Laugh­ing Gravy Tent in 1993, 40 years af­ter a meet­ing be­tween Amer­i­can ma­ture stu­dent John McCabe and Stan Lau­rel at the Birm­ing­ham Hip­po­drome in 1953.

As well as be­com­ing the 1961 bi­og­ra­pher of the com­edy duo, McCabe also founded Sons of the Desert – The In­ter­na­tional Lau­rel & Hardy So­ci­ety – in 1965.

To­day, Birm­ing­ham’s Laugh­ing Gravy Tent wel­comes more than 100 mem­bers to its monthly meet­ings, mak­ing it the UK’s big­gest branch of the Lau­rel & Hardy Ap­pre­ci­a­tion So­ci­ety.

Af­ter watch­ing the trailer, Mr Ul­lah said: “As you can imag­ine, I am now ea­gerly await­ing its re­lease. Jeff Pope is a bril­liant writer and Steve Coogan and John C Reilly are su­perb as Stan and Ol­lie.

“As with all films, they’ve had to in­vent a few things to make it more in­ter­est­ing.

“For in­stance there was no ar­gu­ment be­tween them over Ol­lie’s ap­pear­ance with Harry Lang­don in the film Zeno­bia.

“In fact, Stan sent Ol­lie a tele­gram to wish him luck.

“But I would like to see the whole film be­fore I make a judg­ment, as trail­ers can some­times be de­cep­tive.

“The film has been well re­ceived in the US, by the var­i­ous fans who have seen it.

“And hope­fully it will rekin­dle more in­ter­est in Lau­rel and Hardy.”

Mr Ul­lah pub­lished a bi­og­ra­phy of Char­lie Hall, ti­tled This Is More Than I Can Stand, six years ago.

The book was launched at the Char­lie Hall pub in 2012. Its pages de­tail how Hall also starred with ev­ery­one from Char­lie Chap­lin and Buster Keaton to Fred As­taire and Ginger Rogers, Grou­cho Marx, Al­fred Hitchcock, Ab­bott & Costello and many more.

Stan & Ol­lie will pre­miere at the Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val on Oc­to­ber 21, be­fore go­ing on gen­eral re­lease in the UK from Jan­uary 11, 2019.

> Steve Coogan and John C Reilly in > Char­lie Hall with Stan & Ol­lie in Leave ‘Em Laugh­ing

> Char­lie Hall in about 1920

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