Film

LAUREL & HARDY: The Last Dance of the Cuckoos (plus short Laurel & Hardy film “Helpmates”) + Q&A.

“LAUREL & HARDY: The Last Dance of the Cuckoos” (Plus a Laurel & Hardy short film)

Produced & Directed by Matt Holt

Featuring the Photography of Andy Hollingworth

Original Music by Mel O’Leary

Production Company: Spoon Jar Films

Length 35mins: UK: 2023

We are delighted to bring you the London Premiere of a truly charming film in which photographer Andy Hollingworth takes Stan Laurel’s touring hat from Stan’s birthplace in Cumbria to the County Cork harbour town which gave Laurel & Hardy such a joyous welcome in September 1953; Laurel and Hardy always recalled it as the greatest day of their lives! 

Plus: A screening of their favourite Stan & Ollie Short: 

Followed by an “In conversation” with Film Director/ Cinematographer Matt Holt and photographer Andy Hollingsworth. 

Approx event running time 90mins

 

 

Sun 26 May 2024

Doors: 7.00pm; Starts: 7.30pm

Tickets: £12/£10

More about the film “LAUREL & HARDY – The Last Dance of the Cuckoos”

 

This charming, funny, delightful and deeply heart-touching documentary film captures the moment when the internationally world famous ‘slapstick’ comedy-duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrive on the shores of County Cork for what they imagined would be a very and quiet visit to Ireland.  

 

It was September 9th, 1953 and at the time, the comedy-duo’s career was fast waning. They both thought that their careers might soon be over, because Ollie was being investigated for USA tax evasion, so the pair planned to quietly arrive in Ireland to do a bit of writing, a little bit of sight-seeing and appear at a few events in concert halls in Dublin, after which they’d unofficially slip out of Ireland, into England for a fast and final ‘money-making’ tour! 

 

But when the local people of Cobh got wind of the fact that their two funny heroes of the Big (black & white) Picture Screen might actually be arriving on their shore, (!) … and then when they saw the transatlantic liner, the ‘SS America’, which was carrying Stan and Olly, approaching…. all plans for a quiet, discreet visit were scuppered!!!!

The love and affection we found that day at Cobh, (in County Cork), Ireland, was simply unbelievable… All the church bells in Cobh started to ring out our theme song, (The Last Dance of The Cuckoos). Babe (Oliver Hardy) looked at me and we both cried. I’ll never forget that day for the rest of my life”  Stan Laurel

Taking Stan’s bowler hat with them, photographer Andy Hollingworth  and Mark Holt retraces the footsteps of their comedic heroes, Laurel and Hardy, on their visit to Ireland. Starting off in Cobh, they follow Stan and Olly’s Irish stop-offs, all the way from Cork to Dublin, visiting the Olympia Theatre and finishing at The Royal Marine Hotel in Dún Laoghaire. Weaving black and white film footage, with interviews and reminiscences from people who were there on that magical day, including relatives and people who’d heard, first-hand, stories of that magical trip – what emerges is a delightful, heart lifting film, which promises a wonderful evening of laughter joy and entertainment.  

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ7PuEiuITk

Plus: A Screening of Matt and Andy’s favourite Stan & Ollie Short: “HELPMATES” (1931), Directed by James Parrot, Produced by Hal Roach. (25mins) Ollie, panic-stricken and hungover, phones Stan to help him clean up, the morning after a wild party, before his wife returns home. But their house-cleaning efforts fail in spectacular fashion.

About The Photographer Andy Hollingworth 

Andy Hollingworth has been photographing comedians for 29 years. He’s helped to document the careers of some of the World’s greatest laughter makers. Andy’s retrospective exhibition ‘The Art of Stand Up’ was recently shown at The South East Museum of Photography in Daytona, Florida and his work will be the subject of the first exhibition at the new national entertainment museum ‘Showtown’ in Blackpool from June 2024 to March 2025.  

Andy says ….“Matt and I made this little film. We wanted to show how a bunch of school kids and a man from a sleepy Irish town and his son showed the greatest screen comedians who ever lived that they were loved, more than they could ever know. it’s a fairy tale that we so wanted to tell! The Laurel and Hardy Museum lent us Stan’s bowler hat – I still can’t quite believe this all happened!” 

About The Producer, Director, Matt Holt

Matt Holt has been an independent filmmaker for 24 years making heartfelt and nostalgic documentaries in U.K and America for “Spoon Jar Films”. A lifelong Laurel and Hardy fan, his filmmaking has taken him on many funny adventures including making a short film for the Stan & Ollie biopic Blu-ray release. As a fan of comedy Matt approached Andy with a view to making a film about Andy’s process of capturing comedians in a single, iconic photographic image. It was a real surprise that Andy had been planning a Laurel & Hardy pilgrimage to Ireland. When Matt heard him relate this comedy fairy tale of the cathedral bells of Cobh playing Laurel & Hardy their theme tune, one last time, he jumped at the chance to document this story instead. Together they set off on a quest via planes, trains and automobiles across the Emerald Isle, and made a film that celebrates the world’s most famous comedy double act and has become a surprisingly touching tribute.

 “LAUREL & HARDY – The Last Dance of the Cuckoos” was Premiered at ‘The Sons Of The Desert – The Laurel and Hardy International Fan Club convention in Cobh in September 2023; The South East Museum of Photography in Florida in October 2023. It was also shown to great applause at the Glasgow Panopticon Music Hall and Slapstick Silent Film festival in February 2024. 

Praise for ‘The Last Dance Of The Cuckoos’:

“In the words of Billy Gilbert, ‘Very Lovely…’ Terrific, actually!”  Richard W.Bann

“A Complete tour de force, an affectionate tribute to one of the great comedy teams whose films struck such a deep chord” The Irish Post.

“A real labour of love” – Adrian Edmondson.

“A fantastic documentary” – Brittania Panopticon.

“Very lovely – terrific!” – Richard W Bann.

“It’s wonderful – thank you for making it” – Randy Skredtvet.

“Bravo you’ve done a fine job!’ – Neil Brand.

“There is a magical quality to this film which is impossible to fake or fabricate. Beautiful, touching and suffused throughout with gentle charm” – Shaun Prendergast.

“A thing of beauty – brilliant and unexpectedly moving” – Marcus Brigstocke

“Really heartfelt, an absolutely delightful addition to the 2024 programme” – Christopher Daniels, Director, Slapstick Festival. 

“Utterly gorgeous!” Bob Golding.

“Beautiful” – Jon Richardson. 

“Such a beautiful story” – Steve Gribbin.

“Joyous!” – Aidan Goatley

“I utterly loved it! A tremendous achievement!” – Alfie Joey

“Lovely…really touching! It’s fabulous and deserves a wide an audience as possible.” – Steve Delaney.

 

To find out more about Andy Hollingworth

Website: www.andyhollingworth.com

Insta – @andyhollingworth1. 

 

To find out more about Matt Holt

Website : https://www.spoonjarfilms.co.uk

Insta – @spoonjarfilms.

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