Laurel & Hardy question

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark Y, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Mark Y

    Mark Y Supporting Actor

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    I know there have been several Laurel & Hardy threads here, but there's something I really would like to get sorted out -- I know this has been discussed but I don't know if it has been definitively answered:

    Between all the various international releases, I know different versions of certain films have appeared, and it can be a challenge to keep it all straight in terms of which set has the complete (or at least best available) version of a film. So here's what I know so far:

    "We Faw Down" -- Original 1928 Victor score on German Kinowelt DVD; Beau Hunks rescore on UK Universal DVD

    "45 Minutes From Hollywood" -- Stan Laurel's scenes are missing from the US "Lost Films" version

    "The Chimp" -- UK Universal DVD has a reissue version with refilmed Film Classics titles; German Kinowelt DVD has either original titles or a very good recreation

    "Block-Heads" -- UK Universal DVD is slightly edited with some footage missing at a reel change -- Does any DVD version have the fully complete version?

    "Pardon Us" -- German DVD has two versions: the longer (originally unreleased) cut discovered in the 1980s and a shorter version, supposed to be the originally released version but I'm told it's actually an edited version of the "long cut" but with the fire scene cut out at the end...what's the real story here?

    "Laughing Gravy" -- although the TV version shown on AMC was essentially complete, the 2-reel and 3-reel versions now have two different endings (the AMC version combined them both)

    "A Chump At Oxford" -- early 4-reel version released through Nostalgia Family Video in the US; different cut from the 6-reel version, and some footage is unique to each (this shorter version used to play on TV in the US way back in the 1960s, at least in Chicago)

    "The Flying Deuces" -- best version seems to be the Lobster Films version (released by Kino in the US) -- which is by far the cleanest I have ever seen/heard, although it has reissue titles and a blank screen with music playing where the end cast credits should be

    "The Tree In A Test Tube" -- definitive (if not perfect) version is an extra on "The Bullfighters" DVD -- about twice as long as other versions, even if L&H don't appear in the additional footage

    "Ship's Reporter" -- cleanest version is on Goodtimes "March Of The Wooden Soldiers" DVD

    "Babes In Toyland" -- MGM/UA DVD is cleanest, probably for all intents and purposes the "official" version

    "Utopia" -- Best version I have seen is on a Treeline (now Mill Creek) multi-disc set called "Family Classics" -- still far from definitive but seems to be the best ever released. I don't believe the complete original longer version has ever been released anywhere.

    Also --- although "The Flying Deuces" is public domain, I have heard that -- like "Babes In Toyland" ending up on an MGM/UA release -- Paramount ended up "officially" "owning" it and they may perhaps have the best source material...can anyone confirm this? (The film was originally released through RKO, but was not an RKO production -- it was an independent production by Boris Morros, much like Hal Roach released his films through M-G-M) (For what it's worth, I don't think Paramount has ever released any version of "The Flying Deuces")

    Are there any other films that are on DVD in edited versions, and if so, if the footage is missing from one edition, can it be found in another?

    I still wonder, if RHI ever did get around to releasing a US L&H set, what kind of source materials they would use...the two Hallmark DVDs and the Little Rascals set might provide some "educated guess" type clues...

    One other thing -- what's the deal with "The Live Ghost?" This aired in Chicago last weekend as part of the colorized "March Of The Wooden Soldiers" (it's been part of that special since the early 1990s). As far as I know, "The Live Ghost" should still be part of the Hal Roach talkies package -- what happened? Did the Goldwyn company just license it for TV so they could fill out a two-hour timeslot? (If I'm not mistaken, chronologically it was the next L&H film released after "Babes In Toyland.") I note the UK DVD set does not have a colorized version of it, and I don't think the colorized version has ever been released on video -- not that it's a big tragedy, but I find it interesting.
     
  2. Sumnernor

    Sumnernor Supporting Actor

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    FYI - I have both the english versions and the german versions but am not at all an expert on the various versions IF I can be at help - ask and I can look or give timings
     
  3. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    BTW, could you provide more details on the Mill Creek set that has Utopia? I've been looking for it on Mill Creek's website and can't find it.
     
  4. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I also saw that MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS / LIVE GHOST airing. It was on the TTVN network which is all MGM programming. So, they must have the rights for it.

    Another set I thought I'd mention is the MASTERS OF COMEDY. It is available on Amazon but I found it in a Big Lots for $5 a couple weeks ago. It contains UTOPIA, along with several early short films (many of them solo before they were a team) that are not on the UK box set.
     
  5. Mark Y

    Mark Y Supporting Actor

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    It's a multi-disc set called 50 Movie Pack: Family Classics DVD Collection. It was released by Treeline Films (I believe they are a predecessor of Mill Creek, or else Mill Creek bought them out). The thing is, I believe I saw at least two different versions of this set when it was available, and one version listed Utopia and the other didn't. Anyway, it's on "Disk 11/Side A" along with Father's Little Dividend. Now, this version is not official-release quality (it clearly comes from a video source, possibly an old 1980s TV master) but seems to be cleaner and clearer than any other version I have ever seen on video (though there are a few dropouts at one point). I was first tipped off to this a few years back by an individual who used to post on a Usenet Laurel & Hardy newsgroup as "The Space Boss." (Other L&H fans might know who I mean.) Anyway, I agree, it seems to be the best version out there...the set is in a brown box. I don't think it's available any more
     
  6. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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  7. Mark Y

    Mark Y Supporting Actor

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  8. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    There is a great book that has just been revised titled LAUREL & HARDY - FROM THE FOUR TIES FORWARD. It basically covers the making of the films from their time after Hal Roach. But it also has several chapters on the history of Laural & Hardy from the 8mm & 16mm home films to the DVDs of today. Where the rights are and who did what and who did nothing. There is a lot of information on BABES IN TOYLAND and its television history. It also covers the Robert Youngson films in depth. I found it the book to actually fill in some information that I did not know.
     
  9. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Thanks for mentioning that book. I hadn't heard of it and it looks quite good.
     

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