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Stan Without Ollie: The Stan Laurel Solo Films, 1917-1927

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786447817
ISBN-10: 0786447818
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Highly recommended." --Midwest Book Review

"One of the best film books of 2012." --Thomas Gladysz, Huffington Post

About the Author

Ted Okuda is a Chicago-based film historian whose articles have appeared in such publications as Nostalgia Digest, Filmfax and Classic Images.

James L. Neibaur is a film historian and a professional educator.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786447818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786447817
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
They did it again. Like their excellent book on the Jerry Lewis films, this is a terrific look into the solo work of beloved comedian, Stan Laurel. We all think of him as one half of the indelible Laurel and Hardy, the greatest of all film comedy teams, but Stan had a 10 year career as a star of short silent comedies. Most of the films are minor and not very funny (IMO), but they reveal a fascinating look at a talented comedian in search of a personality. I personally think that Stan needed Ollie's talents just as much as Ollie needed Stan's creative input. The only reason I withheld a star is because of certain tiresome repetitions. I'm not sure how the book was split up between the two authors (both favorites of mine), but too many chapters ended with a variation of, "Not a great comedy, but a stepping stone toward the lovable Stanley character he became with Hardy.", I definitely recommend this book to all who love Laurel, Hardy, and classic comedy in general. Jerry Lewis provides a very insightful and affectionate foreword.
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Format: Paperback
Ted Okuda and James L. Neibaur, who have probably forgotten more about movie comedians than most of will ever remember, once again hit the jackpot with this superb study of the films made by the great Stan Laurel for such producers as G.M Anderson, Joe Rock and Hal Roach in the ten years prior to Stan's historic 1927 teaming with Oliver Hardy. While most of these one-, two- and three-reel silent comedies still exist, many have been inaccessible to casual comedy fans for decades, and those that HAVE made the VHS and DVD rounds (such as Stan's 1923 one-reeler WHITE WINGS) are neither particularly good nor truly representative of Laurel's comic genius. Through careful and loving scrutiny of the presently available films, coupled with reams of fascinating research information, the authors have not only painted a vivid portrait of a true cinematic artist, but have also illustrated how many of Stan Laurel's familiar gestures, mannerisms and bits of business were auditioned and developed during his decade as a solo performer. In so doing, Okuda and Neibaur make it crystal clear that none of these Laurel trademarks were truly utilized to full comic advantage until Stan found the perfect teammate in Oliver Hardy--and not until Stan ceased doing variations on the fresh young poltroon he so often played in his early films and achieved immortality with delightfully dimwitted "Stanley" characterization.
I say "perfect" teammate in light of the fact that on several occasions Stan was paired with other performers during his formative filmic years. In 1918-19 he made three films with star comedian Larry Semon, where he managed a few shining moments despite Semon's strenuous efforts to be the only funny man in the room.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an invaluable guide to Stan Laurel's early film career as new information, and several missing films, have come to light in recent years. Okuda and Neibaur's painstaking research has reached fruition in this immensely enjoyable book. Starting with Stan's very first film, Nuts In May (1917), the authors trace his gradual evolution over the space of ten years from brash clown to one of the greatest comedians of all time. The illustrations are especially good.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a purchase for my brother who is a huge Laurel and Hardy fan. As soon as he opened this for Christmas his eyes lit up and I saw he was very happy. My only nitpick is that it is a lot of money for a over sized paperback book plus I thought it would have more pages. But I do understand that these books are a niche market and therefor smaller print runs and slightly higher cost. It's still all good and plus I know I will eventually read this too.
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Format: Paperback
This was a very interesting look at Stan's career. It was well-researched and I learned a lot. I would recommend reading it if you're a fan.
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