Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by aashton, Apr 18, 2003.
I appreciate thier brilliance, but have to say that I am much more of an Abbot and Costello fan.
HE DON'T WANT ME, HE WANTS THE OTHER MONKEY.
From 'Big Busines', I presume. I just finished Oliver Hardy's biography, 'Babe', written by John McCabe. [I didn't realize both he and Stan had the marriage problems that they did, and landed in the gossip columns regularly because of it.]
My young children love L&H too. My 10 year old daughter especially. She's always watching the shorts on our smart tv via YouTube.
This is the UK box...pretty comprehensive.
It should have been `Laurel and Hardy and Finlayson`.
When Laurel and Hardy came to the UK they were mobbed like the Beatles would be a few years later....
These two girls in the grass skirts are a little scary to Mr. Laurel.....
L and H sitting at table....phone on wall rings....
H. "Go and answer the phone".
L. ...goes and picks up phone ...listens for a while...puts it down again...sits back down at table.
Moments pass by.....
H. Looking in desperation at camera.....eventually say`s "WELL?"
L. "The strangest thing...some guy said, `It`s a long distance from Chicago`.
H. Thinking about this for a moment........"The nerve of some people!"
For a while, it apparently was, if studio publicity for The Second Hundred Years is any indication.
I have the UK box too. Nice set, but the talkies have been bettered by the US set.
One thing, though: The UK set includes Brats with the original score. On the UK set, the short begins with what look like original titles, then followed with an introductory text title that certainly does not look original. The US version on The Essential Collection has the original score as an optional audio track, and the picture portion is the same for both, with late 1930s reissue titles and no introductory text title at all. (This allowed them to just master the short once, with two audio tracks, which saved some space.) Were they still doing sound on disk at the time of Brats? The UK DVDs have re-created titles for a lot of the silent shorts, and unlike the US Lost Films versions, they tend to be very convincing (like You're Darn Tootin' for instance, which is a recreation but other than being cleaner, you'd never know it -- the original titles appear on the US Lost Films version). I wonder if Brats is another one of these. The US set also includes the original soundtrack for Perfect Day from 1929 (with no music score), also as an optional audio track. My guess is that finding that soundtrack does not mean they found a matching film print, right?
Yes. Several sets out there. Love me some L&H
14 year later I'm sure he appreciates an answer....
UCLA is still Restoring some their films, but no comprehensive Box set for U.S. yet on DVD or Blu-ray?
Tough to actually do. The silents and several films are from different studios, and some are in the PD. The RHI box set covers most of the non silents, leaving a handful of features(Flying Deuces, Babes In Toyland, etc). The British set does contain many more silents but their ownership is different over there.
All of this is explained here:
The UCLA restoration project is ongoing, funded by donations, and is likely to take many years to finish.
A truly comprehensive box is not possible in the United States unless several different companies cooperated on it, which does not seem likely. The silent films are owned by one entity, the majority of the Roach talkies by another, with some films scattered among different entities. This is the best I have been able to sort out:
Richard Feiner & Co. owns the silent films. Video rights are currently licensed to Sonar Entertainment. However, the negatives...yeah.
RHI Entertainment owns the majority of the Roach-era talkies. They issued a really excellent set a few years ago called The Essential Collection, which was mastered in HD for the first time (but only on DVD and not Blu-Ray). They used the word "essential" because it cannot truly be "complete" since certain films are owned and controlled by other parties:
M-G-M owns Babes In Toyland (also retitled March Of The Wooden Soldiers). They released an excellent DVD version. Other companies have issued it under public domain loopholes, but the M-G-M disc is the best.
Warner Bros. owns The Devil's Brother, Bonnie Scotland, Air Raid Wardens and Nothing But Trouble. All have been released to DVD. They also own The Hollywood Revue Of 1929, Hollywood Party and Pick A Star, which do not "star" Laurel and Hardy but they do some routines in them. These short skits have all been collected (along with The Devil's Brother and Bonnie Scotland) in a 2-DVD set called TCM Archives: The Laurel And Hardy Collection. This set also includes one scene from the 1930 Technicolor feature The Rogue Song in which Laurel and Hardy had supporting roles. However, The Rogue Song is officially a "lost film" and only a few bits and pieces are known to exist. The segment in the TCM set is the only L&H segment known to be extant aside from the film's trailer, which includes a few seconds of another L&H routine (but that's not included in the set). The Hollywood Revue Of 1929, Hollywood Party and Pick A Star have all been released complete through Warner Archive.
The six films the team made for 20th Century-Fox (Great Guns, A Haunting We Will Go, Jitterbugs, The Dancing Masters, The Big Noise, and The Bullfighters) have been released by Fox in two DVD box sets of three films each. For some reason, The Dancing Masters is from 16mm film.
The Flying Deuces has never had a proper release, but public domain versions of variable quality are all over the place. The Kino version is very nice, but is from a PAL source so has a speedup issue, and also has reissue titles. VCI released a very nice version not long ago on Blu-Ray with the original titles. The film was originally released by R-K-O, which has led some to assume it would have ended up with Turner and now Warner Bros., but I think if that was the case, Turner or Warner Bros. would have released an official version by now. The film was produced by Boris Morros, who was an independent producer (like Hal Roach) and his library also changed hands, eventually ending up with Paramount. This is 100% unverified and unconfirmed, but from what I have been told by people around the internet, it seems likely that if anyone has the original elements, it would be Paramount.
Atoll K, their final film made in France (released in the United States as Utopia) also is public domain and also has numerous cheap DVD versions all over the place. The U.S. version was about 82 minutes and some international versions ran as long as 98 minutes. The best attempted "restoration" of Atoll K came out on DVD a few years ago in Europe and is complete or close to it. There really isn't a "definitive restoration" of the U.S. version (Utopia) but the one released by Goodtimes was half-decent, and a version included in an out-of-print public domain "50 film" box set (Family Classics released by the defunct Treeline Films) was arguably even better, though it appears to be from a video master made for TV with a few dropouts here and there.
The phonetic foreign-language films are another ball of wax. Some are archived, some are not. Most (but not all) of the extant ones are included in The Essential Collection. A few other "stray" ones have been released on some international DVDs.
Regarding that UCLA article, this has raised my curiosity:
All the while, the merged number of prints and pre-print material just sat there, quietly, inside darkened vaults, subject to indifference and the ravages of time. Some resided on the lot in Culver City. More were stored in depots like Bekins and Bonded back East. And in film labs like Fox, Pathe, M-G-M, Consolidated, Du-Art, Deluxe, Guffanti, Movie-Lab, and Mercury Laboratory in New York (where the 35mm negative for HATS OFF was sent by M-G-M in 1945 before turning to powder, or at least taking a powder). All this, just in the United States alone.
This article is by Richard W. Bann, who has worked to preserve these films for several decades. He seems to be very knowledgeable, and occasionally when some article or book on L&H appears, Bann will comment on certain statements regarding the chain of title on certain films and stuff, pointing out when an author gets something wrong. But I would really see Bann write his own book and get into details about what really happened. What happened to the Hats Off negative while in custody of Mercury Laboratory in New York? Inquiring minds want to know.
While you will need to fill in the cracks, this dvd set is where to start (at least in the US)...
Amazon.com: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Lewis, Tim Conway, -: Movies & TV
A majority of the films in this collection are also available as HD downloads thru iTunes and Amazon Video...
Thank you for help with many titles on physical media!
In addition to the RHI Essential set I have the four on WB
Air Raid Wardens
Nothing But Trouble
The Devils Brother
As well as Flying Deuces on Kino and Babes from Legend(My wife loves the colorized version). That leaves me with Atoll K(just haven't run into it in a long time), the Fox films, and the silents which are WAY too high for me to afford.
You have a good starter set there. The Essential Collection is the bulk of the, well, essentials. At least for the talkie era. I highly recommend it.
Volume one of the Fox films should be here Monday! Got it for ten bucks.
For some reason Volume 1 often shows up cheaper than Volume 2. The Fox films are not their best, but if you ask six different people their favorite Fox film you might get six different answers. Mine is The Bullfighters. Jitterbugs is often cited as the best one, The Big Noise as the worst (though I personally think it's one of the better ones among their late-period films). Volume 1 has a documentary called "The Revenge Of The Sons Of The Desert" as an extra. Volume 2 has a nice documentary called "The Fox Years" with some wonderful comments from TV producer Rich Correll about meeting Stan Laurel in his retirement years.
It's all a bit confusing with all these different box sets.
What is the best box set for the shorts, especially the silent ones?
"Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, Stan Laurel was the funniest."
Right now the best option is probably the UK 21-DVD set, but that's in PAL format. There was a 10-volume series collecting the silents (and some other films) released in the U.S. called "The Lost Films Of Laurel And Hardy" but those are out of print and expensive. There was to be an upgraded box set released, but that project collapsed with only a few (non final-version) copies getting out. The guy who put those DVDs together had a long relationship with the L&H films, and in many cases he had access to original nitrate camera negatives etc., but he had health issues which got in the way of finishing the project and there are accounts (corroborated by reliable sources) that some of the negatives were apparently lost via deterioration/disintegration due to improper storage on his watch. To what extent I'm not sure. Some of the UK versions are better, some of the "Lost Films" versions are better, some have content in one version missing from the other, etc. There is yet to be a truly definitive restoration of the silents. "Hats Off" remains completely lost. "The Battle Of The Century" was about half-lost for years, but the full second reel has been recovered and is now almost complete, except for one scene missing from the end of Reel 1. But this version has yet to be released on video.
Personally, I find Oliver Hardy funnier than all three of them.
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