New and Old Audiences Turn Out For A Beloved Duo
The Bullfighters (1945) Is Laurel-Hardy's US Feature Windup
|Chicago Open Serves Atom Bomb w/L&H|
|L&H Sit For Fox Portrait Camera|
What the Fox six (and Metro two) demonstrated was L&H ability to pull weight where vehicle costs were kept low. That meant B's, natch, but since when was it necessary to spend high on this duo's output? A big problem for the Marx Bros. had been cost for film work from virtual beginning. Many of theirs took loss not because the team was disliked, but for failure to get back cash poured into negatives. The Marxes came with a high tag, more so than Laurel and Hardy (the Brothers had demanded, and got, a % of Paramount returns). Had they been willing to stay in movies, but on B terms, the Marxes might have kept on, if modestly, just as did L&H. A ready audience was certainly there when the Bros. offered A Night In Casablanca in 1946.
Question is, how would things have gone for Laurel and Hardy had they accepted Fox's offer to continue the series? The team might well have had more creative authority. Scott MacGillivray's Laurel and Hardy: From The Forties Forward says Stan directed scenes in the last couple for 20th, and both made gag suggestions that were implemented. The Big Noise and The Bullfighters are glossaries of L&H humor going back to start of their teaming. Most of borrows are from silent shorts, all out of circulation by the mid-40's. I like The Bullfighters, viewed again this week, because it doesn't try to update Laurel and Hardy (like favorite songs, few wanted them to change). The pair wouldn't peak again, but no shame came of these last in the