Laurel & Hardy (Sons of the Desert/The Music Box/Another Fine Mess/Busy Bodies/County Hospital)
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Most of the bonus material pays tribute to legendary comedy producer Hal Roach, who first partnered Stan & Ollie in 1926. A film-clip tribute includes interviews with comedy greats like Mel Brooks and Steve Allen, and on-screen articles explore Roach's career in greater detail. A "then and now" photo tour provides an historic tour of Roach Studio locations in Culver City, California, and text biographies are provided for Roach, Laurel, and Hardy. In addition to the films themselves (which never looked or sounded better), these extras make this Laurel & Hardy DVD a perfect choice for old and new fans alike. --Jeff Shannon
- Hal Roach and Laurel & Hardy biographies
- Tent society
- Phot montage
- Location tour: then and now
- Hal Roach Movie Mogul
- King of Laughter tribute
Top Customer Reviews
I have seen their DVDs, and this is NOT the restored version!
Problem 1) Over compression causes digital artifacting that makes SONS OF THE DESERT look like VHS at times. The transfer is the old grainy U.S. TV tape.
Problem 2) THE MUSIC BOX is compressed from a damaged video tape, there are wrinkles that appear as the boys are unloading the piano.
Problem 3) COUNTY HOSPITAL is a grainy copy from the Film Classics re-issue negative. The European DVD is authored from the original MGM issue negative. Leo the lion roars a greating to you to let you know that Europeans are about to see a fine transfer. In the U.S., our DVD only has the soundtrack of the roars over the grainy re-issue titles.
Problem 4) BUSY BODIES, while it does have the nice original MGM titles, is grainier than the European restored release.
On a slightly positive note, ANOTHER FINE MESS did not undergo restoration in Europe, so their version looks as grainy as ours. It does have the original title section with the two girls reciting the credits.
There is a fair documetary that used grainy clips from other shorts not on this collection (giving us a preview of how bad the future DVDs might be) and some nice stills showing you some locations as they look today.
Hopefully Artisan & Hallmark will re-master this DVD so that those without access to the European DVDs can enjoy these five classic movies the way they were meant to be seen: sharp without artifacting, on two discs.
So, L&H fans are faced with a dilemma: purchase the disc and hope Hallmark does better next time, or ignore it and get an all-region player to buy the German discs. My advice? Shop at amazon.de.
"Sons of the Desert" is a genuine comedy classic, with Stan and Ollie sneaking off to a lodge convention without telling their wives. But beware the DVD's claim of "digitally remastered" -- this version was broadcast on TV's "Laurel & Hardy Show" in pre-digital 1986. The film is incomplete, with edited scenes (the "wax fruit" and "convention" are shortened), overdubbed background music, and frequent fade-outs for commercial breaks. The editing is good, so casual fans and general audiences will enjoy the feature, but dyed-in-the-wool Laurel & Hardy admirers will resent all the tampering.
The DVD's featurettes and short subjects have better picture quality, and appear to be taken from excellent 35mm and 16mm prints. "Another Fine Mess" (vagrants Stan and Ollie pose as butler and householder to escape the police) is the 1990s restoration that aired on the AMC cable network; it has the original Hal Roach titles and is superior to older video and TV editions. "The Music Box" (the team's Oscar-winner where the boys move a piano up a long flight of steps) and "Busy Bodies" (Stan and Ollie in a carpentry shop) are also fine presentations. "County Hospital" (visitor Stan ruins patient Ollie's hospital stay) is taken from a 1940s "Film Classics" reissue print but the quality is equally good.
This writer noticed a very occasional light scratch or stray debris in the image, but the flaws are minor and should not detract from your enjoyment unless you are a perfectionist. The menus and bonus features use some clever optical effects.Read more ›
What makes this release so important is that it is the first (of hopefully many) of their sound comedies. The Laurel and Hardy catalog has been criminally ignored over time and the package of films has switched hands too often with no care going into the released product. Fans have had to tolerate colorized (UGH!) prints or non restored films that have been copied so much they are barely recognizable.
Artisans (Hallmark) DVD states these films are 'digitally remastered' which indicates we are finally seeing these films fully restored much like the Little Rascals product that was released on VHS through Cabin Fever and Artisan a few years ago.
If you are a Laurel and Hardy fan like me who has been waiting to see these films the way they were meant to be seen, get out there and support this release and order it now. If enough of us get behind it, it should ensure more releases from this classic team.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From my childhood, the laughs still the same. Family humor. There's no one like them. The BEST.Published 8 months ago by Kate
A huge dissapointment for the over $60. that I spent. Poor quality and not even much of that.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am a long time L&H fan so anything they do (including reading the phone book) would be great IMO. Read morePublished 9 months ago by J. Pepoon
Entertaining, good quality. I am a fan of Laurel and Hardy, therefore, I have seen pretty much everything of theirs, but this particular one was really good. Read morePublished 11 months ago by mike-t