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Showing 1-10 of 102 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 150 reviews
on July 24, 2016
I purchased this disc for my collection because it contains "The Music Box" which is probably the funniest effort that Laurel & Hardy ever put on film. Just the idea of them moving a piano up a long, steep flight of stairs is enough to get you laughing. The sight gags and physical comedy were Laurel & Hardy at their very best. It is obvious why this short won the 1932 Oscar for best short subject. Eight years later, the Three Stooges did a similar short involving moving ice blocks (which melt) up a very similar flight of stairs in their short "An Ache in every Stake." --------- "Sons of the Desert" is probably the duo's best feature length film. Stan and Ollie concoct a wild story about Ollie needing a rest for his health...in Honolulu. They really want to go to the Sons of the Desert convention in Chicago, which their wives have forbidden. It would have worked, except the ship they were supposed to be on sinks, and the wives find out. This funny film was made about fifteen years before Jackie Gleason's "The Honeymooners" went on the air; you can see the influence this movie had on the Honeymooners with the wild schemes of the fat loud mouth, and his mousey side kick, while trying to keep secrets from the wives. If you're a fan of classic cinema and like a good laugh, this disc delivers.
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An absolute dud from ST. CLAIR ENTERTAINMENT.

The solo piano used as backing for most of the silent films in this set in no way matches music to action, and is in fact a dub from a scratchy LP-- clicks and pops abound, especially in gaps between the songs.

THE PROGRAM--
LUCKY DOG (1918) - Their first appearance together. Stan bumps into stick-up man Ollie, who then delivers the future team's first ever line: "Stick 'em both up, insect, or I'll part your hair with lead." The plot turns on the difficulties Stan's mongrel dog brings him.
Hardy appears again later, disguised as the Count de Chease. It's clear from his interactions with Stan in the mansion scene that the two comedians meshed nicely, and needed to be teamed up.
Quality is poor- a dark, washed-out first reel. Although the second is brighter, it's filled with repaired breaks and jumps.
THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE (1943) - L&H's only color film is a short made for the Dept. of Agriculture. Silent footage with a voiceover, as we see all the amazing products made from processed wood. Print damaged by persistent scratches and color aging.
THE FAMILY JOOLS (1931) - Cameos by L&H, Wallace Beery, Buster Keaton, the Keystone Kops, Edw. G. Robinson, Our Gang, Norma Shearer, Hedda Hopper, Joan Crawford, Harold Lloyd, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Barbara Stanwyck, Joe E. Brown, Fay Wray and a dozen other stars of the era. A clear print, with good sound.
STAN'S HOME MOVIES - Boring silent footage of mostly family and children. Good quality print.
WEST OF HOT DOG (1924) - Laurel comedy. A mulitigenerational grayish copy. Take-off on "West Of The Pecos."
MUD & SAND (1922) - Laurel again, as a matador, complete with requisite bullfight climax. Washed out and dark copy.
ORANGES & LEMONS (1923) - Stan once more. Slapstick at a citrus packing operation. Fair quality print.
HOP TO IT BELLHOP (1925) - Ollie with Laurel look-alike Billy Ray, as two clumsy bellhops. Another multigeneration dub.
THE SAWMILL (1921) - Practically unwatchable print. Ollie has a bit part in a lumberjack comedy.
PAPER HANGER'S HELPER (1925) - Just a bad-looking copy.
ENOUGH TO DO (1926) - Stan Laurel Production, starring another actor. Bridge building sillyness.
KID SPEED (1923) - Ollie in support as Dangerous Dan McGraw, in a story of auto racing. Typically washed-out copy.
YES YES NANETTE (1924) - A Laurel-directed Hal Roach short, with a minor league cast and Petey, the mutt from the Our Gang comedies.
FLYING DEUCES (1939) - Another multigeneration, dull & dark dub of a famous L&H movie.
BONUS: LAUREL & HARDY GAG REEL - Not-so-funny snippets from some of the movies on this disc. A fitting close to five hours of disappointment.
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on September 7, 2010
You can't go too wrong with a collection headlined by "Sons of the Desert", one of Laurel & Hardy's best features. Sort of an exploration into the relationship between Stan & Ollie and their patient but quick-tempered wives (L&H were usually incurring the wives' wraths on film, mostly because they were so dumb). A little white lie about Ollie taking a Hawaiian vacation (with Stan in tow) to "cure his illness" is really an excuse for the boys to sneak off to "The Sons of the Desert" convention stateside. It's a tale that's beautifully played out, with every joke & sight gag hitting the mark as the story's twists & turns inevitably lead to disaster (in typical L&H fashion, with Laurel getting "rewarded" for telling the truth & Hardy's pompous nature to "stick to the lie" gets every dish, pot & pan in the kitchen thrown at him). Look for Charley Chase in a riotous supporting role as an obnoxious fellow conventioner.
The handful of shorts following are top-notch L&H nonsense: The Oscar-nominated "The Music Box", a study in frustration as Stan & Ollie's efforts to deliver a jangling piano up a steep hill to a mansion get nowhere fast; "Another Fine Mess" is a daffy comedy filled with offbeat gags as the boys "pretend" to be butler & maid at a mansion; "Busy Bodies" is a violent comedy of destruction as Stan & Ollie wreak havoc on themselves & reduce their workplace to kindling; and "County Hospital" has Stan caring for a gout-ridden Ollie...which Stan is, of course, anything but "helpful".
The DVD extras are a nice touch, with interviews from various admirers of the team. Not a bad offering from Lionsgate!
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on October 1, 2015
I was pleased to receive the set, but Disc #2 was corrupted and the set was replaced by the vendor. The 2nd set had both discs corrupted, but the vendor refunded my money without any problem. Still, I would have preferred to have owned and watched all the old films on both discs.
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on April 20, 2011
I love watching these old classic Laurel & Hardy films. Having met Stan Laurel twice in 1963 as a young woman, it is also a personal remembrance. These two were the original "Dumb and Dumber," but did it with such charm and grace. They will live on through their films.

I would love to collect all their movies, but so many are not available in the U.S.A., which is appalling since they were filmed here. Their films were also historical archives of how Los Angeles looked in those early movie days, how people dressed, lived, and worked at that time. The stairs in the film "The Music Box" (in this collection) still exist in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles and even have a plaque at the location commemorating the Academy Award-winning 1932 film.

L&H were the epitome of Hal Roach's genius by virtue of him promoting them, yet they were also comic geniuses in their own right, especially Stan, who wrote, directed and even edited many of their productions and those of other comedy stars on the lot.

I am so happy to have found a DVD with some of my favorite L&H classics. I hope more will become available on Amazon.
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on January 23, 2013
This is the funniest Laurel and Hardy film that I can remember. I saw it on Turner Classic Movies on television and I had to have it for my film library. The feel of this movie is almost like Gleason and Carney in The Honeymooners. Ollie and Stan try to flim-flam their rather strong/aggressive wives into believing that Ollie is ill and must go on a cruise for his health; meanwhile, Stan and Ollie really are going to their lodge convention to have fun with the guys. The interplay between Stan and Ollie is, as always, hilarious, and when their scheme starts to unravel, the deception and lies only accelerate! This is a domestic farce that I was willing to pay a little more for because I was really entertained. If you love Laurel and Hardy, this is a gem!
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on August 22, 2003
There was incredible excitement at our house when we found this DVD at Amazon. My son even used his own money to buy it. While the picture quality is good, and the films on the disc are some of their best, I must say I'm a little confused by a few ... choices ... made for this compilation.
Oddity number one: No matter which audio track, digitally restored or unrestored, you choose for "The Sons of the Desert," there has been some very low-volume background music added to Ollie's "nervous shakedown scene," and perhaps others. (I've only had time to spot check). I believe the music is from Beau Hunks recordings, also available on Amazon.
Don't get me wrong; I love the Beau Hunks. But I'd rather see a "restored" Laurel & Hardy film exactly as released, or, maybe with a deleted scene added back in. For instance, "Laughing Gravy" is available this way, and has typical Hal Roach underscoring for the deleted scene added from modern recordings. That, at least is defensible on the grounds that the deleted scene probably would have had underscoring in 1931. But I don't know why someone would add music now to a scene that was released without it.
Oddity number two: The sound track for "Another Fine Mess" isn't synchronized properly. You can spot this when Officer Harry Bernard complains about Stan answering, 'Yes, ma'am." Bernard hits his chest twice. The sound is late. Ditto when Stan and Ollie slam the front door. This short suffered from missing elements when it was being restored in 1986, but synchronization shouldn't have been a problem when it was transferred to DVD.
While the picture quality of all the material was generally quite good, I believe there are better elements available. For instance, camera negative for "The Music Box" was extant as recently as 1986, and "County Hospital" as of the same date was available in the studio lavender composite. The print of "County Hospital" in the DVD has quite a few scratches in it, and although they're not dramatic, it's not likely a lavender would suffer from scratches.
Still, it's good to see the boys in above average copies of some of their best films.
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VINE VOICEon January 9, 2005
Without a doubt, I enjoyed every minute of the four short subjects and single feature film included here. Laurel and Hardy were at their creative peak in the early 1930s and this DVD captures them at the height of their powers. Buster Keaton can be baroque, Mr. Bean can be devilish, and Jackie Chan can be acrobatic, but absolutely no slapstick comedians could ever duplicate the otherworldly innocence of Laurel and Hardy. They're truly timeless, and all of the material presented here is priceless. It's a treat to see something other than awful public domain footage of them on DVD at last. And, it's a pleasure to see their classic short subject "The Music Box" once again. It's a real treasure.

However . . . despite what the box says about being "digitally remastered" I see no evidence of remastering. The sound clicks and pops just like it did on the old VHS' I remember. The picture quality isn't the sharpest. It isn't a step back, mind you, and it's always good to have films in the relatively permanent DVD format, but this isn't what most people think of when they think of digital remastering. I also had problems with the DVD menuing system used here; compared to what Universal's used for their multi-film packages, this DVD is rather cumbersome. The extras are adequate; nothing to get excited over but nothing awful either.

There are no subtitles. I was very surprised at this. As a rule, DVDs have subtitles for at least one language. Considering Laurel and Hardy's multi-national appeal, the lack of subtitles is a drawback. Also, I'm assuming this is an item that an older crowd would especially enjoy, and older persons who are hard-of-hearing rely on subtitles to fully enjoy their DVDs.

True, the price is definitely right for the collection, unlike the recent Marx Brothers boxed set from Paramount, which features an equally questionable "remastering." Buy this DVD for the exceptional laughs that Laurel and Hardy's hijinks provide, but don't expect this to be a gloriously refurbished product.
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on August 27, 2003
Somewhere I saw stated that this is volume one, which hopefully means more are on the way. These are some of the best transfers of these classic comedys I've ever seen. I give a lot of credit to whomever put this together, as they did a superb job, and it looked more like a labor of love rather than another attempt to cash in on the greatest comedy duo of all time.
The films are sharp and crisp, and about as good as you can expect from source material that's about 70 years old. There is two audio tracks available, original and enhanced (which I think means cleaned up a little). There are also some fine extra features including a short retrospective of Hal Roach and the duo with narative by Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, and John Hughes, a comparative look at the locations using photos of the past and present where some of these movies were made that was very interesting, a still gallery with excellent photos, and fairly thorough yet concise biographies of Stan, Ollie, and Hal Roach. The menus are set up beautifully, including chapter stops. Even the text is in the classic art deco style from the period. My only minor little gripe is some of the text a little smaller than I would like, making it hard to read.
There are five features included, starting with 'Sons of the Desert' which runs a little over an hour. The rest are shorter features, but, in total, you are getting close to three hours of stuff here, and it's definately worth the price.
My favorite feature on here is 'The Music Box' in which Stan and Ollie are movers and have to lug a piano up a huge flight of stairs. This particular feature won an academy award in 1932.
I give this set my highest recommendation, for what it's worth.
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on April 29, 2009
Movie is 5-stars.
I believe I received a bootleg, pirated, copy of the Lions-Gate / Hallmark version, because the faces were washed-out, which is caused by making a copy, of a copy, lightening the faces each time. I have seen other, rented versions of both the shorts and the feature that had a much better picture. I doubt Hallmark made the picture quality worse by remastering. Though remastering is not restoring and Hallmark could have only turned up the brightness level and called it remastering. However, no other reviewer has complained about washed out faces. So I believe I received a bootleg, pirated, copy, which I returned. I then bought a different version elsewhere online, from Movies Unlimited, with a different cover, by a different studio, Nostalgia Family Videos, which was a good print that I am keeping.

The feature is about Laurel and Hardy lying to their wives, trying to keep from getting caught, and regretting lying to their wives.
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