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Way Out West

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About this title: Prospectors Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy head to the western town of Brushwood Gulch, two men on a top-secret mission. The boys have been entrusted by their recently deceased partner Cy Roberts with a deed to a valuable gold mine, to be delivered in person to Roberts' daughter Mary (Rosina Lawrence). Stan inadvertently spills the beans to crooked saloon owner Mickey Finn (James Finlayson), who proceeds to pass off his own wife, saloon chanteuse Lola Marcel (Sharon Lynne), as Mary Roberts. The ever-trusting Stan and Ollie fall for the subterfuge hook, line and sinker, handing the deed over to Lola. Upon running into the real Mary, who slaves away in Mickey Finn's kitchen, Our Heroes vow to retrieve the deed. A battle royale ensues, with Stan, Ollie, Mickey and Lola passing the deed around like a football. Ultimately, Lola manages to wrest the deed away from Stan by tickling him into helpless submission. Chased out of town by the sheriff (Stanley Fields), who harbors a grudge against the boys from a previous misunderstanding, Stan and Ollie sneak back to Brushwood Gulch in the dead of night, hoping to break into Finn's saloon, steal back the deed, and place it firmly in the hands of Mary Roberts. Upon this foundation is built Way Out West, arguably Laurel & Hardy's best feature film (many aficionados prefer Sons of the Desert). Highlights include the aformentioned tickling and burglary scenes, Stan literally eating his hat after losing a bet, Ollie's perennial plunges into a pothole, and the boys' charming singing-and-dancing interludes. Also take note of Marvin Hatley's Oscar-nominated musical score, and the presence of a young, thin Chill Wills as one of "The Avalon Boys". Even if you're not a fan of The Thin One and The Fat One, you'll be limp with laughter at the end of Way Out West. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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