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Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward
Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward
by Scott MacGillivray
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $0.01

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book and Long Overdue, January 26, 2000
Stan Laurel and Babe Hardy didn't have many good things to say about their Fox and MGM films of the 1940's. So the legend has persisted that these films, with a couple of possibleexceptions, are unspeakable horrors and hardly worth the trouble of taking them out of the film can. Of course, at the big movie "factories," the boys were denied the kind of creative freedom they had enjoyed at the Hal Roach Studios, and their work suffered accordingly. But the time has finally come for a reevaluation of these later films. Scott MacGillivray has done just that in FROM THE FORTIES FORWARD. While Scott doesn't shy away from criticizing the weaknesses, he demonstrates that these films are frequently much better than their reputations would lead you to believe. There is also excellent coverage of Stan and Babe's European tours, the Robert Youngson compilations, the sometimes maze-like process of film reissues, and Laurel and Hardy on television. An essential book for Laurel and Hardy fans, and an excellent companion piece to both THE MAGIC BEHIND THE MOVIES and LAUREL OR HARDY.

Laurel or Hardy: The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy
Laurel or Hardy: The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy
by Rob Stone
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from $19.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly and (almost) Exhaustively Researched, January 26, 2000
Rob Stone is to be congratulated for taking on the Herculean (and seemingly impossible) task of documenting all of Stan Laurel's and Babe Hardy's solo film appearances. The comedians frequently worked for small studios that are long since gone, and many of the films apparently no longer exist. Stone has done a superb job of detective work and documentation, and leaves open the possibility of further discoveries; indeed, since this book was published, a previously unknown Oliver Hardy film has surfaced! An essential volume for silent film and comedy buffs. And for fans of the boys, this is a great companion piece to both THE MAGIC BEHIND THE MOVIES and FROM THE FORTIES FORWARD.

Cocoanuts [VHS]
Cocoanuts [VHS]
Price: $9.90
35 used & new from $0.60

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Historically Significant, January 11, 2000
This review is from: Cocoanuts [VHS] (VHS Tape)
THE COCOANUTS is historically significant as one of the first all-talking, all-singing musical films. It's also significant for unleashing the Marx Brothers onto the movie going public. THE COCOANUTS gave filmgoers a taste of what had Broadway audiences rolling in the aisle and while the film suffers from the static production typical of early musicals, it remains very entertaining thanks to the brothers' anarchic comedy. Director Robert Florey did use some innovative camera shots to help overcome the staginess (i.e. part of Chico's piano solo is shot head-on through the raised piano lid; a novel touch at the time). For many years, THE COCOANUTS was only available in generally awful prints with muddy soundtracks; recently portions of the film in mint condition have come to light, so while it's not a complete restoration, the film looks and sounds better than it has in years. For all it's faults, including an oddly forgettable Irving Berlin score, THE COCOANUTS still provides plenty of laughs.

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein [VHS]
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein [VHS]
Offered by P23
Price: $2.60
52 used & new from $1.48

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abbott and Costello's Best, January 9, 2000
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN gave a real boost to the comedy team's film career; it's an excellent film and one of the boys' few true classics. A well crafted script provides plenty of laughs while allowing the monsters to play straight, which heightens the comedy. Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolfman), and Glenn Strange (The Monster) work well opposite Bud and Lou and approprately monstrous. Lenore Aubert is also quite good as Dracula's glamourous partner in crime.

Abbott & Costello: Buck Privates [VHS]
Abbott & Costello: Buck Privates [VHS]
Offered by VideoDiscounters38thAnniversary
Price: $3.87
39 used & new from $1.59

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your In The Army Now!, January 9, 2000
Made for peanuts, BUCK PRIVATES was a tremendous hit for Universal studios and firmly established Abbott and Costello as movie stars. Bud and Lou's routines are among their best; indeed, the film is really not much more than a string of burlesque routines held together by a simple plotline. "The Dice Game," "The Drill Routine," "You're 40, She's 10," and several others burlesque bits are here to keep you laughing. The romantic triangle plot is rather forgettable, although one can certainly understand why both Lee Bowman and Alan Curtis are pursuing lovely Jane Frazee. The Andrews Sisters contribute some great songs, including the immortal "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Dated but still very entertaining, BUCK PRIVATES delivered just what the movie going public needed in 1941. And it still delivers today.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2012 7:55 AM PST

Bonnie Scotland [VHS]
Bonnie Scotland [VHS]
Offered by Books_Inc.
Price: $17.99
19 used & new from $1.60

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hoot mon!, January 8, 2000
This review is from: Bonnie Scotland [VHS] (VHS Tape)
While BONNIE SCOTLAND doesn't qualify as a classic, it's still lots of fun for Laurel and Hardy fans. The film's main problem is it's uncomfortable grafting of the boy's comedy onto a melodramatic B-picture storyline. June Lang and William Janney are the romantic leads, but unfortunately their roles are rather shallow and unsympathetic. Thankfully, Stan and Ollie's scenes are good enough to keep the film moving and enjoyable. Highlights include the boys innocently wreaking havoc in a Scottish boarding house, their improvised dance to "One Hundred Pipers," and Stan's constant inability to keep in step with the rest of the Scottish army unit! There are also good comic moments from James Finalyson, Mary Gordon and diminutive Daphne Pollard (hilarious as a cockney chambermaid). The picture and sound on this video transfer are sharp and clear.

A Chump at Oxford [VHS]
A Chump at Oxford [VHS]
Offered by goodwillnyonline
Price: $10.74
25 used & new from $1.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laurel and Hardy's Higher Education, December 27, 1999
This review is from: A Chump at Oxford [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A CHUMP AT OXFORD was one of Laurel and Hardy's last films for producer Hal Roach. Roach was losing interest in the boys by this point (he was occupied by his more ambitious features), so the film isn't top drawer, but there's still plenty to enjoy. A dinner party scene (reworking their silent film FROM SOUP TO NUTS) has Stan and Ollie opposite two favorite foils, Anita Garvin and James Finlayson. Best of all is Stan's transformation into the brilliant, haughty Lord Paddington. Those who have only seen Stan Laurel as the "Stanley" character will surely be impressed by this performance. Forrester Harvey is very amusing as Stan and Ollie's valet as is Wilfred Lucas as the Dean. Peter Cushing is highly visible as one of the prankish students. Hopefully, it won't be too long for this film to be restored, remastered and released on videotape.

The Thief of Bagdad [VHS]
The Thief of Bagdad [VHS]
5 used & new from $6.30

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Arabian Nights Fantasy, December 27, 1999
THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD is surely one of Douglas Fairbank's most elaborate films; it's also tremendously entertaining. Fairbanks utilizes all of his athletic prowess as a happy-go-lucky thief who goes on a quest to prove himself worthy of a princess (Julianne Johnston). The highly imaginative sets and special effects set the right note of fantasy and, in the supporting cast, Sojin (as the wicked Mongol Prince) and Anna May Wong (as his spy) are standouts.

Black Pirate [VHS]
Black Pirate [VHS]
Offered by coolneeley54
Price: $9.90
10 used & new from $2.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Adventure, December 27, 1999
This review is from: Black Pirate [VHS] (VHS Tape)
THE BLACK PIRATE has everything you could want in a seafaring adventure: cutthroat pirates, swordplay, a damsel in distress, and Doug Fairbanks swinging, leaping, and diving into action. Adding to the visual splendor is the two color Technicolor (still a highly experimental process at the time this movie was made), which has been carefully and gorgeously restored for this video release.Douglas Fairbanks is at his athletic and romantic best and his supporting cast is top notch. Billie Dove is a true vision of loveliness as the kidnapped princess and villainous Sam De Grasse's minimalist style contrasts well with Fairbanks' exuberance. The video is blessed with the original 1926 score, conducted by Robert Israel, and a bonus section of outtakes and production photos, narrarated by film historian Rudy Behlmer.

Big Noise [VHS]
Big Noise [VHS]
Offered by toomuchstuff4us
Price: $2.98
30 used & new from $1.24

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Check it out; you might be pleasantly surprised!, December 23, 1999
This review is from: Big Noise [VHS] (VHS Tape)
THE BIG NOISE has a reputation as Laurel and Hardy's worst film. It's no classic, to be sure, but it does have a fair number of funny scenes and isn't quite the disaster some make it out to be.The story has would-be detectives Stan and Ollie safeguarding a powerful bomb dubbed "The Big Noise." This gets them mixed up with the bomb's eccentric inventor (Arthur Space), the inventor's nutty family (one of whom is played by a young Robert Blake), and thieves intent on obtaining the bomb.Stan and Ollie improvise numerous bits of business throughout to bolster the admittedly anemic screenplay. One of the best scenes has the boys sharing a cramped berth on a train (reworked from their early talkie BERTHMARKS). Interestingly, Stan Laurel initially objected to redoing the old scene, but it plays great, and gets an added kick from the presence of comic drunk Jack Norton. Norton and Phil Van Zandt (as sinister thief Dutchy Glassman) are standouts among the supporting cast. The video transfer is sharp and clear and hey, you gotta love the opening theme music!

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