WAY OUT WEST
(director: James W. Horne; screenwriters: story by Jack Jevne and Charley Rogers/Charley Rogers/Felix Adler/James Parrott; cinematographers: Art Lloyd/Walter Lundin; editor: Bert Jordan; cast: Stan Laurel (Stanley), Oliver Hardy (Ollie), Sharon Lynne (Lola Marcel), James Finlayson (Mickey Finn), Rosina Lawrence (Mary Roberts), Stanley Fields (Sheriff), Vivien Oakland (Sheriff’s Wife); Runtime: 65; MPAA Rating: G; producers: Stan Laurel/Hal Roach; Lions Gate Entertainment; 1937)
“This Western spoof is one of Laurel and Hardy’s finest films.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This Western spoof is one of Laurel and Hardy’s finest films, if not their finest (some argue for Sons of the Desert). The boys are a hoot as they sing and dance in this one. One of their two songs is a comical rendition of “Trail of the Lonesome Pine.” The other is Ollie singing “The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.” Laurel does a funny set piece of hat eating and finger lighting, and he draws more comedy from a soft-shoe dance routine and being tickled to give up his gold mine deed. It’s directed by James W. Horne (“Chickens Come Home”/”Beau Hunks”) and is based on a story by Jack Jevne and Charley Rogers; it’s written as prescribed by formula from the boys’ short features by Mr. Rogers, Felix Adler and James Parrott.
The slight plot has the boys as prospectors going to Brushwood Gulch to deliver the deed for a gold mine to the daughter, Mary Roberts (Rosina Lawrence), of their deceased partner prospector. The boys, unfortunately, slip up and give the deed to the wrong girl, Lola Marcel (Sharon Lynne). She’s the mistress of crooked saloon owner Mickey Finn (James Finlayson), who works as a singer in the saloon while Mary works in the kitchen. When the boys realize their error, they try to straighten things out by stealing the gold mine deed back. But the boys are kicked out of town by the sheriff (Stanley Fields), who still holds a grudge against them from a prior misunderstanding. The boys then sneak back and work their magical buffoonery to get things right.
A young Chill Wills appears as one of “The Avalon Boys.”
REVIEWED ON 7/11/2007 GRADE: A-