For Hicksflicks.com, April 4, 2014

Some young people have told me that the comedy of Laurel & Hardy is too slow for them. Ouch.

I love Stan & Ollie, and many of their movies are every bit as hysterically funny today as they were in the 1930s when most of their best work was on display in a wide variety of two-reelers (20-minute shorts) playing between features, and then later as a staple on television in its early days during the 1950s.

But many of their features — in fact, most of their features — are equally hilarious, and they actually aren't a lot longer than their shorts, often just over an hour.

Such is the case with the 65-minute "Way Out West" (1937, b/w), which, along with the seminal "Sons of the Desert," is considered by L&H aficionados to be their best work.

And this Old West comedy is definitely a riot, as the boys travel to a dusty town to find a young woman whose father has left her the deed to a gold mine. But first they have to get by her guardians, and they want the mine for themselves.


"Way Out West" is charming from beginning to end, with many memorable moments, highlighted by a delightful soft-shoe routine in front of a saloon (above), and a sequence where Laurel has the deed in his shirt and is tickled by Sharon Lynn (below) until he gives it up — still one of the funniest routines ever put on film. I defy anyone not to laugh.


And seeing it in a theater is ideal, as there will be lots of people sitting around you laughing their heads off too.


"Way Out West" will play next Friday (April 11) in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo (7 p.m., admission is free), and paired with it will be the very funny Laurel & Hardy short "Dirty Work," in which the boys are chimney sweeps. And dirty is right, as you can see by the photo above.