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TCM Archives: The Laurel and Hardy Collection (The Devil's Brother / Bonnie Scotland) (2006)

Various , Various  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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TCM Archives: The Laurel and Hardy Collection (The Devil's Brother / Bonnie Scotland) + Laurel & Hardy:  The Essential Collection
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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Classic Movie
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E1MXTQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,724 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "TCM Archives: The Laurel and Hardy Collection (The Devil's Brother / Bonnie Scotland)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Disc One:
  • The Devil's Brother (1933)
  • Bonnie Scotland (1935)
  • Commentaries on both movies by Laurel and Hardy aficionados Richard W. Bann and Leonard Maltin
  • Introductions by Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne
  • Disc Two:
  • Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story 2002 TCM Feature-length documentary
  • Vintage Laurel and Hardy excerpts from feature films: magic act segment from The Hollywood Revue of 1929, fragment from Rogue Song (1930), two segments from Hollywood Party (1934), three segments from Pick a Star (1937)
  • Theatrical Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Unlike many silent screen comedians, Laurel & Hardy made a seamless transition to talkies, and this TCM Archives double-feature showcases some of their funniest work from the early 1930s. As always, TCM/Warner has packaged this must-have set for true film buffs: The prints are pristine, image quality is crisp and clean, sound quality is the best available (allowing for some hiss and minor drop-offs due to the age of the soundtracks), and bonus features have been chosen with care and authority, including several highlight excerpts from Laurel & Hardy short subjects. While continuing to enjoy their priceless partnership with producer Hal Roach, Stan & Ollie were at their sound-era peak in The Devil's Brother (1933), a hilarious adaptation of the Auber operetta Fra Diavolo (also the film's alternate European title), in which "Stanlio" and "Ollio" find themselves entangled in the exploits of the Marquis de San Marco, a notorious singing bandit named "Fra Diavolo" (played with adequate panache by Dennis King) who's set his sights on the lovely Lady Pamela (played by '30s screen queen Thelma Todd). Plots in Laurel & Hardy films are almost always perfunctory, but this is one of the better ones, lending Stan & Ollie ample opportunity to cut loose with Roach-invented gags and trademark slapstick. The highlight has to be Stan's drunken laughing fit, a miraculously sustained bit of hilarity (with Ollie eventually joining in) that's absolutely infectious and irresistible--it's impossible to watch without laughing right along with Stan.

Bonnie Scotland (1935) finds L&H in Gunga Din territory (or if you prefer, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer) as they arrive in Scotland hoping to collect "MacLaurel's" inheritance, only to end up recruited into a Scottish infantry regiment in the Indian desert. The comedy is mildly compromised by a standard-issue romance plot involving costars June Lang and William Janney, but whenever Stan and Ollie are onscreen, the laughs are consistently plentiful and timelessly entertaining. Adding expert context to the comedy, audio commentaries by film historians and lifelong L&H fans Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann are packed with knowledgeable information out each film, the careers of the cast members, working methods at Hal Roach studios, shooting locations, and fascinating anecdotal details (such as the fact that long-time L&H supporting player James Finlayson was the direct inspiration for Homer Simpson's beloved exclamation, "D'Oh!" on TV's long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons. The package is rounded out by "Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story," an excellent TCM feature-length documentary, narrated by Chevy Chase, that extensively chronicles the many varieties of short subjects produced during the 1930's and '40s--essentially an extension of Vaudeville and newsreels that gave rise to many of Hollywood's finest performers during the golden age of the studio system. All in all, this is a perfect DVD set for longtime Laurel & Hardy fans, or newcomers to their classic brand of comedy. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

They were one of the movies' most successful and best-loved comic duos, probably because their irresistible slapstick antics were underscored by an indomitable optimism. Beginning with shorts made at the Hal Roach Studios, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy struck a universal chord by sharing a contentious yet benign friendship that always survived whatever indignities their mutual bumbling brought upon them. This TCM Archives two-disc collection focuses on the team at their zenith during the sound era and spotlights two features produced by Roach for MGM. The Devil's Brother (1933) (also known as Fra Diavolo) is a laugh-filled adaptation of the Auber operetta in which "Stanlio" and "Ollio" tangle with a notorious robber baron. The delightful Bonnie Scotland (1935) is a misadventure that takes the boys to Scotland and India.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less-essential films still charm and entertain October 13, 2006
Format:DVD
The material included on this two-disc set does seem more geared to serious fans as opposed to new or casual fans, but these films, while not as essential as the likes of 'Our Relations' or 'Way Out West,' still charm and entertain regardless, and aren't the type that would turn off a newer fan. We should feel lucky that there have been so many releases of L&H films lately instead of complaining about what isn't getting released. Besides, there's always the option of getting a region-free DVD player and paying a little extra to get the boxed set of their Hal Roach shorts and major features from amazon.co.uk, like I did, or buying the German Hal Roach set, which I've heard is just as great.

'Fra Diavolo,' aka 'The Devil's Brother' (1933), is a costume comedy and one of their comic operettas. While I don't really care for this film too much, I can still really appreciate how well-made it is. Like with just about any comedy group, one doesn't watch L&H to see secondary characters taking up a lot of the action and detracting attention away from the stars with a subplot that doesn't involve them enough! Coupled with all of the songs, it's almost like one of their Fox films, although at least here they're not yet being relegated to almost supporting characters. And it is a joy to see the always wonderful Jimmy Finlayson and the beautiful Thelma Todd, even in costumes and powdered wigs. Dennis King, as Fra Diavolo, is also a delight to watch. I basically like the film well enough when L&H are center stage, but not that much when they disappear and the secondary characters start taking up all of the action.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give us more, TCM... June 24, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
These are perfect, gorgeous prints. Excellent indexing, too! Although amazon.co.uk offers a 21-DVD set of "remastered" L&H films (almost their complete Hal Roach oeuvre), the prints are not at all good like the ones on these DVDs. So we are all still waiting for a truly decent set of "The Complete L&H" to come out. I do highly recommend this release.

Devil's Brother is self-recommending, and if you've ever been a little embarassed by HOW dopey Stan can be, here he shows how clever and physically deft he is.

There is more controversy over Bonnie Scotland. This much-criticized film is actually filled with good things: it has an absolutely darling June Lang in the subplot; it has L&H stepping blithely into the picture to the tune of a village blacksmith inadvertently pinging away the Koo Koo theme on his anvil(!); Ollie sneezing the water out of a stream; L&H setting their bed on fire (and Ollie as well); a warm and memorable shot of L&H and William Janney jaunting off to a big adventure; a "musical mirage" (with Marvin Hatley!); Stanley readjusting the march-step of an entire regiment; a delightful and satisfying L&H dance, complete with a good comic ending; one of the most heart-tugging goodbyes ever committed to film, but which is so funny you can't cry; and a spectacular ending with pandemonium overtaking all.

Critics write that the romantic subplot is left unresolved, but the resolution is so obvious that I never questioned it as a kid, and still don't. My only criticism is that the secondary story is not happy, and I wish its scenes were shorter. But it does add to the continuity and dramatic arch of the movie. A little editing could make this a classic.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More L & H than you'd expect... March 29, 2006
Format:DVD
In answer to another poster's comments, this set does include the Laurel and Hardy segments from "Hollywood Revue of 1929' (1929), 'Hollywood Party' (1934), and 'Pick A Star' (1937). These are the best bits from these films. 'Holywood Revue' is painful to watch in its full form, and 'Hollywood Party' isn't much better. 'Pick a Star' is the only one that's worth watching. With these excepts of 'the boys' performances, you get all the laughs with none of the tedium.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Please, sir, I want some more." August 27, 2006
Format:DVD
This era of the DVD and competing new formats frequently brings us astonishments of riches (such as the "Looney Tunes" collections), but when it comes to Laurel & Hardy, we American fans must wax nostalgic for the good old Blackhawk Films days or dig around for the Hal Roach Studio's "Lost Films of L&H" DVD series. Just about everything else we're getting is crumbs.

This particular double-disk set from TCM is sort of a cake and crumbs combination. The cake is "The Devil's Brother" in a sharp print. It's a bit long in song, but it's been the least-available of the L&H operettas, and it has plenty of hearty comedy to ease the pain of the romantic stretches (and with Thelma Todd in those, they aren't that hard to take). A finger on "fast forward" may be required to get through "Bonnie Scotland," in which the L&H material is interrupted by a storyline that would have been more at home in one of their later Fox features. Fortunately, TCM has saved us that trouble with "Hollywood Party," "Hollywood Review of 1929," and "Pick a Star," which are represented with only their best moments: the Laurel & Hardy scenes.

I liked this collection, but we need a lot more like it. When do we get a worthy collection of the sound shorts, or restored editions of "Pardon Us" and "Pack Up Your Troubles?" (As of October, 2011, we've finally gotten it: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection. This TCM collection rounds-out the essential collection, with the exceptions of "Flying Deuces" and "Babes in Toyland," which are available as individual releases:The Flying Deuces (Restored Edition)March of the Wooden Soldiers (Colorized / Black & White).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars it is what it is and will never be again
it is what it is
Published 17 days ago by brandon d baur
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny guys
These guys are hilarious, we lost some wonderful comedians, sadder world without them, but we have their movies.
Published 1 month ago by homer
5.0 out of 5 stars FUNNY!
I remember them from you "young years" and still find them super funny! Hours of slapstick, hilariously funny old movies which will "tickle your funny bone" and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lorraine P. Zigman
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurel and Hardy double features
A very funny move with Laurel and Hardy. This is based on an old opera called Fra Diavolo and uses some of the original music but with the Laurel and Hardy comic touch. Read more
Published 4 months ago by W. Mason
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun-Filled Laurel and Hardy
TCM Archives' DVD set showcases two Laurel and Hardy features that producer Hal Roach later sold back to MGM, hence their exclusion from the 10-disc "Essential Collection. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Scott T. Rivers
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of my favorites!
I am ordering this set today! I had a VHS of the Devil's Brother from years ago that deteriorated -- and missed it so much. Read more
Published 9 months ago by MyHumbleOpinion
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
the devils brother is one of my all time favorites. i wish they had done more musicals they are always my favorites.
Published 11 months ago by smudge29
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny boys
This movie was given as a gift. I was unable to view it but was told that it was quite enjoyable by the person who received it as a gift.
Published 11 months ago by DAVE
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought more episodes were on 2 DVD's
Dad loved this birthday gift for his 82nd BD!..I would have put 5 stars~however the "Turner Movie Classic" company has listed on both disc 1 & 2 many diff episodes of L&H... Read more
Published 12 months ago by lhooser
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny!!
Bought this as a gift for my Dad for Father's Day. He watched them all as a marathon that day. Enjoyed hearing him laugh. Laurel and Hardy are classic!!
Published 13 months ago by D. Meyers
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Are there any other good quality dvds of L & H
Universal released a 21 disc set in the U.K., the DVDs features all of the (sound and silent) shorts L&H made at Roach and most of the Roach features. The films are beautifully restored, some of the films have foreign language versions and (gads!) colorized versions as extras. The DVD set is... Read More
Dec 10, 2008 by Bil Barrett |  See all 4 posts
I like Bonnie Scotland better of the two movies on this dvd
I liked Bonnie Scotland, too, but I have to tip my hat to Fra Diavalo. In the book The Complete films of Laurel and Hardy the author does not rate Bonnie Scotland very high and compares it to Swiss Miss which I think is worse than the Flying Deuces. Ollie sneezing under water in Bonnie Scotland... Read More
Aug 25, 2008 by Rodney Sell |  See all 2 posts
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