Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Sharon Lynn, James Finlayson, Rosina Lawrence, Stanley Fields, Vivien Oakland, The Avalon Boys, Chill Wills
Directed by James W. Horne
Expectations: One of my most treasured films as a child. Let’s see how it holds up.
As expected, I still love this movie unconditionally. Growing up we didn’t have cable TV most of the time, so our small VHS collection was always getting played and re-played. Way Out West was one of the first tapes we owned and it quickly became one of the most watched as well, with good reason. Even though it was a colorized version, the power of the duo’s comedy shone through, and later when I knew it was originally black and white I’d turn down the color and watch it as intended. The film was released on April 16, 1937, just recently celebrating its 75th birthday, but not a shred of the humor or the charm has worn off of this gem. Clearly, there’s some nostalgia associated with the movie for me, so your mileage may vary if you’ve never seen it, but for me this is truly one of the best classic comedy films of all time.
Stan and Ollie play a couple of guys entrusted to bring a deed for a gold mine to a resident of Brushwood Gulch. Things go wrong in only ways that Laurel and Hardy can manage, and that’s where Way Out West is best. My favorite scene has always been the chase scene inside of James Finlayson’s bedroom, as Laurel, Hardy, Finlayson and Sharon Lynn all fight and scramble over each other to acquire the deed. It’s hilarious and still managed to have me in stitches even though I’ve seen it a multitude of times. There’s even a small bit of wirework in one small moment that raises the level of incredulity and hysterics to new heights.