58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Five stars for making these available. This pre-release review just mentions the content.,
This review is from: Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 1 (Great Guns / Jitterbugs / The Big Noise) (DVD)
Fox is releasing three of its Laurel & Hardy features on DVD: GREAT GUNS (1941), JITTERBUGS (1943), and THE BIG NOISE (1944). These are among the team's later works, and Laurel & Hardy collectors and completists should welcome this boxed set.
GREAT GUNS is Fox's topical answer to Abbott & Costello's hit "Buck Privates," with awkward rookies Stan and Ollie in the army. The script is rather lame, but there are some choice moments (you'll howl when Laurel stashes a live crow down Hardy's pants during inspection). Watch for Alan Ladd in a bit part.
JITTERBUGS is an engaging comedy with music, with Stan and Ollie as zoot-suited bandleaders who get mixed up with swindlers, and who right the wrong by adopting disguises for a sting operation. Vivian Blaine sings three songs, radio actor Bob Bailey is fine as the stingmaster, and Stan and Ollie are in good form (and fun to watch when they're in disguise). This is the glossiest Laurel & Hardy movie from this period, with a notable supporting cast.
THE BIG NOISE is a matter of taste. Some viewers regard it as merely a humdrum rehash of old routines, while others enjoy it as a virtual textbook of tried-and-true Laurel & Hardy material. Either way, it's loaded with vintage gags. The boys are janitors-turned-detectives, who safeguard a gadget-crazy inventor and his new high explosive. Watch for young Robert Blake as a mischievous brat. First-time viewers should enjoy it; if you know Laurel & Hardy you'll certainly recognize the jokes: an upper-berth scene with drunken Jack Norton is a highlight.
This DVD set also includes bonus material, including vintage coming-attractions trailers, and audio commentaries by author Randy Skretvedt. A special treat is REVENGE OF THE SONS OF THE DESERT, Alexander Marshall's Emmy-winning featurette about the international Laurel & Hardy society (founded by L & H biographer John McCabe).
Picture and sound quality in these DVDs should be excellent, based on the studio's former VHS releases in this series.
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Initial post: Feb 2, 2009 1:11:01 PM PST
Scott T. Rivers says:
RE: Scott MacGillivray
Amazon review of "The First Kings of Comedy Collection":
Yes, the narration is excessive at times, but the Robert Youngson compilations introduced new generations to the silent-film comedy of producers Hal Roach and Mack Sennett. Most importantly, "The Golden Age of Comedy" (1958) and "When Comedy Was King" (1960) helped elevate Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy to the pantheon of immortal comedians. This value-priced "double feature" offers vintage slapstick from Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon, Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, Will Rogers, Gloria Swanson, Snub Pollard, Ben Turpin and the sadly underrated Charley Chase. Nevertheless, it is Stan and Ollie who steal the show with hilarious excerpts from their classic 1927-29 shorts: "Two Tars," "Big Business," "We Faw Down" and "The Battle of the Century." If you want to know more about Youngson, there is an entire chapter devoted to the silent-film preservationist in author Scott MacGillivray's "Laurel and Hardy: From the Forties Forward" (1998).
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