An L&H biographer once said that their movies were disliked by everyone but the general public. Indeed, if Stan and Babe had made a point of reading all of their reviews, they probably wouldn't have had the strength to go on and make their next movie.
Show-biz bible Variety, in particular, really seemed to have it in for The Boys. Click here to read Variety's astonishing negative review of the film (from May 3, 1937, as featured on the Way Out West Tent's webpage devoted to the movie).
As a counterpart to Variety's snootiness, here's a snippet from a review by L&H contemporary and British critic Basil Wright, originally published in World Film News. It handily covers not only Way Out West, but the overall joy that L&H buffs have derived from their work.
Maybe you don't find them funny? Then you are my enemy, and I hope you will many times be forced to sit through a Laurel and Hardy feature film, tortured by the unceasing laughter of an audience of ordinary people who realize, if only subconsciously, that they are looking at a film which sums up more simply than any philosophical treatise the need for laughter, and supplies it in the form of a thin, diffident Cockney and a fat man from the southern states.
Also, I would be remiss if I did not post my favorite review of the movie, from film critic Pauline Kael's compendium 5001 Nights at the Movies:
This satire of Westerns is probably Laurel & Hardy's most comically sustained feature, and it shows off their vaudeville skills in a couple of musical interludes. They do a classic soft-shoe shuffle outside a saloon; Hardy's lolling elephantine grace has never been more ingratiating. And they sing "In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia." As Mickey Finn, the villain in love with his own villainy, James Finlayson is practically a co-star, and Sharon Lynne is the voluptuous blonde saloon girl. The film is leisurely in the best sense; you adjust to a different rhythm and come out feeling relaxed, as if you'd had a vacation.
Finally, click here to go to the official Laurel & Hardy website and read other reviews of the movie from 1937. And below are links to more recent reviews of the film.Laurel & Hardy Central
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