The Wide Open Spaces (1924)

Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Before teaming up with Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel was already a minor star in two-reel comedies. This film was one of the last he made for Hal Roach before going to work with comedy producer Joe Rock (he would later return to Roach, where he would ultimately team up with Hardy). This picture was way below par compared to his other work, probably because it was heavily edited. Meant at first to be a parody of William S. Hart's Wild Bill Hickok, its original title was Wild Bill Hiccough (Laurel's Juno-esque common-law wife, Mae Laurel, played Calamity Jane). But when the film was completed, the releasing company, Pathe, disliked it and ordered it to be redone. Unfortunately, Laurel had already left Roach's employ, so all editor H.M. Walker could do was recut and re-title it to the best of his ability. Instead of Wild Bill Hiccough, Laurel's name was changed to Gabriel Goober and the plot was changed to make him an Easterner who comes West to claim some land and runs afoul of some bandits. Fine comic talents like James Finlayson and Noah Young are wasted. Fred Karno's son, Fred Karno Jr., is also part of the cast.