Stan inherits a yacht and a South Pacific island. Ollie and Stan sail there with 2 other men. They shipwreck on a new atoll and settle there. An ex-fiancee joins them. They declare an independent nation and problems arise.
A band of Gypsies are camped outside the walls of Count Arnheim's palace. Oliver's wife kidnaps the Count's daughter Arline, then leaves the child and runs off with her lover, Devilshoof. ... See full summary »
It is very easy to understand Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's appeal, with their such great comic timing and memorable contrasting and distinct personalities, and why they are so fondly remembered. The same goes with their chemistry, considered legendary and one of the best, and in their prime (mid/late-1920s to 1940) one can see there's a reason for that. Their best material, both verbal and particularly physically, was amusing to hilarious and their best films, short and feature, are perfect examples of how to do comedy.
Which is why it is sad that their filmography declined as drastically as it did in the post-Hal Roach period post-1940 (know that a few of the late 30s films were less than great but not to this extent). A period when Laurel and Hardy became underused, they and their material on the most part were tired, they were put in settings that they didn't gel in, the films seemed to forget what made Laurel and Hardy's prime period as great as it was, a lot of the verbal humour was dumb and trite, the supporting casts were variable and a few were too plot-heavy and the plots were far from great. For me though, while not a great film and far from prime Laurel and Hardy, 'The Bullfighters', most significant for being their final American film, is still one of their better post-Hal Roach efforts alongside 'Jitterbugs'.
Some of the second half is a bit hackneyed with a double subplot that feels forced at times, while the private detectives business doesn't serve as much point as ought, feeling like padding and making the story feel unfocused. The supporting cast are a bit hit and miss, with Ralph Sanford coming over as on the anaemic side as the villain, was expecting someone more formidable and with sharper comic timing.
The humour is also mixed, some of it is derivative of past material and not all of it feels very fresh.
However, Laurel and Hardy actually feel like leads here (not always the case with their later films). Both have more energy than in other films from this period and they are good fun and look like they're enjoying themselves more than most of their post-Hal Roach films. Their chemistry shines much more than it did in the previous 1940s films and they're in a setting and situation that they gel much better in and more like something you get in their late-1930s outings. The material they have here is also much better mostly, none of it classic but as far as this period goes the humour and writing, verbal and physical, are far less dumb and are actually funny and well timed. The fountain sequence is one of the best and funniest sequences of the duo's later films and the final gag is surprisingly creative.
Richard Lane is good fun in his role and the first half has zest and energy. Visually, 'The Bullfighters' is generally nicely made and looks professional in how it's shot, the editing not crude, while the direction is competent if not always the most inspired.
In summary, decent post-Hal Roach outing and, although far from classic Laurel and Hardy, one of the best from this declining period. 6/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this