|Way Out West|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James W. Horne|
|Produced by||Stan Laurel|
|Written by||Contributing (uncredited):|
James W. Horne
Arthur V. Jones
|Screenplay by||Charley Rogers|
|Story by||Jack Jevne|
|Music by||Marvin Hatley|
|Edited by||Bert Jordan|
|65 minutes (original)|
62 minutes (restored print)
Way Out West is a 1937 Laurel and Hardy comedy film directed by James W. Horne, produced by Stan Laurel, and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was the second picture for which Stan Laurel was credited as producer.
Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy) have been entrusted to deliver the deed of a gold mine to the deceased prospector's daughter Mary Roberts (Rosina Lawrence). Mary works for her cruel unofficial guardians, Brushwood Gulch saloon owner Mickey Finn (James Finlayson) and his saloon-singer wife, Lola Marcel (Sharon Lynn), who keep her in a slave-like existence by forcing her to do all the chores.
Stan and Ollie are traveling towards Brushwood Gulch; Stan on foot, leading a mule dragging a travois, on which Ollie lies. As they ford a river, the travois detaches from the mule, leaving Ollie stranded in the water. He starts to wade then completely disappears into a sink hole in the river bottom. They hitch a ride on a stagecoach and attempt to flirt with a woman passenger (Vivien Oakland). Upon arriving in Brushwood Gulch, she complains to her husband (Stanley Fields), who threatens the pair by informing them that they will be leaving in a hearse if they do not catch the next coach out of town.
At Mickey Finn's saloon, a quartet of cowboys are performing on the front porch and Stan and Ollie dance to their music. Inside they clumsily reveal their supposedly secret mission to Mickey, including the fact that they have never seen Mary before. On Mickey's suggestion, Lola pretends to be Mary and hijacks the deed from the boys. Stan and Ollie then encounter the real Mary, realize their mistake, and try to retrieve the deed from the couple, resulting in an extended chase and struggle. The Finns prevail and lock the deed in their safe. Ollie is briefly relieved by the arrival of the sheriff only to realize the sheriff is the angry husband who threatened them earlier, who now forces them to leave town by running for their lives. Crossing the river, Ollie drops into the sink hole again.
Drying Ollie’s clothes that night, the pair resolve to return under the cover of darkness to complete their mission. After a series of mishaps (including the mule being belayed onto a balcony and Stan stretching Ollie's neck three feet as he tries to free him from a trapdoor) they finally make it inside the saloon, where Stan finds Mary and explains the situation to her, and she decides to leave with them. Mickey discovers them, but Ollie manages to grab Mickey's shotgun and force him to give the deed back. Stan, Ollie, and Mary escape town, trapping Mickey and Lola inside the saloon by locking the front gate and entangling Mickey's head in the gate grill. Outside the town, the boys agree to accompany Mary back to her hometown in the South, and the happy trio sing "We're Going to Go Way Down in Dixie" as they ride away on the mule. Once again, fording the river, Ollie falls into the sink hole.
The film's score was composed by Marvin Hatley and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring). The film includes two well-known songs: firstly Macdonald and Carroll's "Trail of the Lonesome Pine", sung by Laurel and Hardy (except for a few lines by Chill Wills and Rosina Lawrence, lip-synched for comedic effect by Laurel), and secondly J. Leubrie Hill's "At the Ball, That's All", sung by the Avalon Boys and accompanied by Laurel and Hardy performing an extended dance routine, one that they rehearsed endlessly.
In popular culture
- Way Out West is referenced in the 1979 film The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid when the Sheriff (Bud Spencer) ends up replicating Stan Laurel's thumb fire trick featured in the film.
- The opening scene of the 2018 biopic Stan & Ollie depicts a shooting of the film, with Laurel and Hardy arriving on the set for one of the dance scenes.
- Aping, Norbert (2008). The Final Film of Laurel and Hardy: A Study of the Chaotic Making and Marketing of Atoll K. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3302-5.
- Bowers, Judith (2007). Stan Laurel and Other Stars of the Panopticon: The Story of the Britannia Music Hall. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-617-X.
- Everson, William K. (2000) [1st. pub. 1967]. The Complete Films of Laurel and Hardy. New York: Citadel. ISBN 0-8065-0146-4.
- Louvish, Simon (2001). Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy. London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 0-571-21590-4.
- Marriot, A.J. (1993). Laurel & Hardy: The British Tours. Hitchen, Herts, UK: AJ Marriot. ISBN 0-9521308-0-7.
- McCabe, John (2004). Babe: The Life of Oliver Hardy. London: Robson Books Ltd. ISBN 1-86105-781-4.
- McCabe, John; Kilgore, Al; Bann, Richard W. (1983) [1st. pub. E.P. Dutton:1975]. Laurel & Hardy. New York: Bonanza Books. ISBN 978-0-491-01745-9.
- McGarry, Annie (1992). Laurel & Hardy. London: Bison Group. ISBN 0-86124-776-0.
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