Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill

A look at the largely forgotten comedy pair of Italian actors and filmmakers for Overlooked Films, Audio & Video over at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom.

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill
If anyone took over the legacy of slapstick comedy from the innocent pair of Laurel and Hardy, it was the boisterous duo of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill—Italian actors Carlo Pedersoli and Mario Girotti.

Although their films were different, their characters were similar in many ways. Bud Spencer was to Terence Hill what Oliver Hardy was to Stan Laurel—dominating yet protective. The two big men considered their thinnish equivalents a pain in the neck. While Laurel and Hill didn’t mind playing second fiddle to their heavyweight partners, they often pulled a trick or two on their unsuspecting pals, especially Hill, who often had to think for himself and the brawny Spencer and come out with ingenious ways to involve the big man in some caper or the other, prank or crime. Spencer talked with his fists. Together, they played various roles including cops, cowboys, and missionaries, thumping their way in and out of situations with hilarious results.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
I grew up watching the nearly hundred Laurel and Hardy films and some twenty Bud Spencer-Terence Hill movies neither of which have aged since they were made. I still watch them and they hold up well.

Having spent so much time together it is no surprise that both “couples” were the best of friends. Bud Spencer, 84, and Terence Hill, 74, still are, as were Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in their time.

Asterix and Obelix
The Laurel-Hardy and Spencer-Hill double act reminds me of the most famous comedy duo in comic-books, Asterix and Obelix, the two pigtailed Gaulish warriors whose village has been holding out against Julius Caesar's empire. Asterix and Obelix have simple goals in life: bash up Romans and hunt wild boar though they often set out on "dangerous" adventures (dangerous for the Romans, that is).  Asterix was created by the Franco-Belgian pair of RenĂ© Goscinny who wrote the comics and Albert Uderzo who illustrated them.

My idea of spending a few holidays would be to sit with all their films and comics—good, clean, wholesome comedies.

17 comments:

  1. Can't recall seeing them in anything, but one look at the photo makes me smile!

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    1. Col, I'm surprised you haven't heard of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. Their films were very popular in the 70s and 80s. You won't be disappointed.

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  2. I knew of Terence Hill but didn't know of this pairing. For me, nothing really comes close to the comic magic that happened between Laurel and Hardy.

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    1. Ron, both Spencer and Hill have acted solo, the latter in films like FIVE MAN ARMY, BANANA JOE and A REASON TO LIVE, A REASON TO Die in which stars with Telly Savalas and James Coburn and the former in movies like MY NAME IS NOBODY with Henry Fonda and SUPERSNOOPER with Ernest Borgnine. I agree no one comes close to Laurel and Hardy: a favourite with the family.

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  3. "Wholesome" is perhaps a bit kind to some of their work, but certainly they've thrived, even after no longer pairing up so thoroughly; Girotti's DON MATTEO series is currently being broadcast in the US, for example.

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    1. Todd, I enjoyed the Bud Spencer-Terence Hill movies a lot and I'm in the mood to see the ones I haven't as well as those I thought were really funny like CRIMEBUSTERS. I didn't know Terence Hill (Mario Girotti) was still active. It would be nice to see what he's doing these days.

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  4. I liked the Spencer and Hill western comedies quite a bit, some of the few movies I've ever bought

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    1. Charles, Spencer and Hill were a riot although not all their films were funny. In fact, I remember their latter films as being a tad boring. I think they'd lost their charm by then.

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  5. I never heard of this pair but they do look like a lot of fun.

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    1. Tracy, I'm surprised when people say they haven't heard of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. They were immensely popular in India and their films were easily available on the video circuit.

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  6. Never heard of them either. Great write up though as it makes me fix that. I see I've been deprived as I am a big western fan.

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    1. Keishon, most of the Spencer-Hill films were non-western. I'm sure you'll enjoy their double-act.

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  7. I loved watching Laurel and Hardy. They are one of the few duos to make me laugh out loud while watching them.

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    1. Bill, I love Laurel and Hardy and, in fact, I've a decent collection of the many of their films that are no longer available in CD format in my city. I refuse to part with them lest they don't come back to me.

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  8. I am always astounded at how fair their film traveled - growing up in Italy in the 1970s the pair were pretty much a national institution - still are in fact! I think the Asterix and Obelix comparison is very apt Prashant - thanks for that.

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    1. Sergio, I thought you would be familiar with Spencer and Hill although I'm not familiar with their work in Italian cinema. I believe they acted in quite a few. I'm astonished at how well the fat man-thin man combination has worked in popular culture. There is no match for Laurel and Hardy in films and Asterix and Obelix in comics.

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  9. Hello,
    A quick introduction from my end-Iam Chinmaya from Bangalore,India. The reason for my mail is that I understand that the "sons of the desert" are having their next convention at Hollywood and would want to know if you are attending it. You may check this for more details- http://www.laurelandhardywood.com/ .
    Incase you or anyone whom you know are,please let me know as there are somethings that i want to discuss regarding the same.My id is-chimayaprakash@gmail.com Else,you may ignore this.

    Regards and best wishes,
    Chinmaya


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