The Stan And Ollie Collection: Utopia [DVD]
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In this feature length adventure Stan and Ollie inherit a yacht, along with a small island. A violent storm causes them to crash on their island and they decide to create their own republic. All goes well until uranium is discovered and the island is bombarded with money hungry adventurers.
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Top Customer Reviews
Scheduled to take a few weeks, it took a whole year and a considerable toll on the patience and health of the two stars. Stan fell ill and was hospitalized during filming.
It is quite unlike any other L&H movie, not least because Stan did not write it. If you are a fan, you absolutely must see it. If you are new to their films, you should avoid it. Start instead with 'Sons of the Desert', 'Way out West', 'Laughing Gravy' or any other of a dozen or more classics. Utopia is not a complete write-off. It has some good gags, It also has some very uncharacteristic moments, such as a joke about Ollie's size, and some attempts at political satire.
The co-director, Leo Joannon, also wrote the story. Stan described Joannon as "funnier than the film, though that's not saying much". Clearly this was not a fun production.
Suzy Delair as Chérie Lamour is very good, and suitably scrumptious. The humour is very much of its time and is an early example of the fifties silliness that Norman Wisdom and Abbott and Costello later exemplified. Humour that seemed hilarious at the time but now is mostly embarrassing. But, just like the films of those latter stars, 'Utopia' has its moments. The final frame is almost unbearably poignant. It is Stan and Ollie's very last scene, and Ollie's final, and no doubt heartfelt, "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into".
My main gripe would be with the quality of the DVD; certainly no better than the VHS releases of this film a few years ago, which themselves look like they have been struck from a very 'dupey' 16mm print. Somebody surely must have better master material of this film ?
The plot revolves around Stan & Ollie inheriting an uninhabited island (and a boat), and along with a stowaway and a guy without a nationality, set up shop. As you would expect, a female pops up along the way. The best gag involves Stanley's pet lobster!
You're unlikely to pay more than a couple of quid for this DVD, and for that kind of money you haven't been robbed.