27 December 2014 | tavm
Pick a Star has a couple of funny scenes from Laurel & Hardy in a film starring their co-star from Way Out West, Rosina Lawrence
In the past few weeks, I've reviewed a lot of work of one Rosina Lawrence. Who was she? Well, she was one of several pretty young women in Hollywood who managed to make it in the movies. When she ended up at Hal Roach Studios in 1936, she did quite some stuff there starting with a co-starring part in the Charley Chase short On the Wrong Trek. She then appeared in many Our Gang shorts as the new teacher, Miss Lawrence, to Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Porky, and Darla. Perhaps her most famous role there-aside from what I just cited-was as the leading lady in Laurel & Hardy's Way Out West playing Mary Roberts. That led to this, her starring role as an aspiring actress going to Hollywood with Jack Haley and Patsy Kelly in tow. The only reason this would still get circulation today, however, is because of a couple of comedians of the studio who were Hal's biggest stars and are considered iconic today. Of course, I'm referring to Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy who only appear in a couple of funny scenes and only briefly meet Ms. Lawrence here. I had first watched part of this on the "Matinee at the Bijou" TV program on public television back in 1980 when this movie was titled Moviestruck. I guess it was disappointing waiting for what seemed a long time to get to when Stan & Ollie were going to appear that I bailed before they came! Then I got the VHS tape of them with scenes of their movies in the public domain of which this was included with their two scenes. So then I bought the authorized M-G-M tape of the whole thing which I then watched in its entirety. I remembered being pleasantly surprised to see James Finlayson-sans his trademark prop mustache-as the director of the movie-within-a-movie of the boys playing Mexican bandits alongside another L & H player, Walter Long. Also amusing to see them relax their characters a bit to show Patsy Kelly their breakaway prop bottles before...well, watch the movie if you want to find out. When I watched it again, just now, on YouTube, most of what happened I barely remember but it was funny seeing Mischa Auer playing a romantic movie star who must always keep appearances of being a Latin lover. And the musical numbers are pretty good, if not spectacular. So on that note, Pick a Star is worth a look for L & H fans. P.S. Since I always like to cite whenever a player from my favorite movie-It's a Wonderful Life-appears, here it's Charles Halton-bank examiner Mr. Carter there-appearing as the studio head. Oh, and about what happened to Rosina Lawrence: After one more movie, she retired and married a man named Juvenal Marchisio who would eventually die in 1973. Then she met John McCabe, a chronicler of Laurel & Hardy and the founder of their fan club-The Sons of the Desert-whom she eventually married on June 8, 1987. She died on June 23, 1997.