Vivendi and RHI Press Release: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Will the longer version of CHICKENS COME HOME be there? If not, the UK set is still important for that one - it's got much extra footage in the foreign version.
    I had finally bought the UK set only 6 months ago, because it was only around $40 on Amazon. Even though I don't like the silent shorts nearly as much as the sound ones, I'm glad that I'll have a reason to hold onto the UK set.
    Many of the shorts needed to look better --- I hope the US set does not disappoint there. And I just hope there are no smeary artifacting compression defects which plagued some of the films on the LITTLE RASCALS set.
    Quibbling aside, this is a GLORIOUS DAY FOR DVD!
     
  2. Alistair_M

    Alistair_M Second Unit

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    Wonderful news! But...no order for me as I stopped buying dvd years ago.
    As these were created from high def transfers - when do you think we will get the Blurays?
    I'm interested in hearing the commentaries - should be fun!
    Bluray soon please :)
     
  3. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    The RHI facebook page has a high resolution large version of the same photo that Ron posted. Enlarging the booklet I see the following titles listed:

    Los Calaveres
    Our Wife
    Pardon Us
    Come Clean
    One Good Turn
    Beau Hunks

    These are all from 1931 so if this is any indication, the material does appear to be in chronological order. And it further confirms what Rick Greene posted about the inclusion of the foreign language films.
     
  4. BarryM

    BarryM Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll be very interested to see how it measures up with the UK box set. When I bought an all-region player, this is the first DVD I bought.
    I think the quality on the UK boxset is about what I expected from films that have been bounced around from owner to owner. I know that UCLA has been restoring some of them.
    I also know that MOMA restored superb technicolor prints of Selznick's "A Star Is Born" anmd "Nothing Sacred", but they have never allowed them to be released on DVD. Hopefully UCLA will be more forthcoming!
     
  5. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Based on Rick Greene's post about all new transfers to HD, I'm confident these will look and sound better than the UK set (which I have and think highly of). The UK set did have an edited Blockheads as Joe Hudak indicated and the UK Way Out West had a bad jump/splice in the middle of the Lonesome Pine song that shouldn't have been there.

    I've heard rumblings that various rights issues are what held up this set. That may explain the absence of the silents. The 11 Memories fraud/debacle aside I hope that the rights owners can get their act together and deliver a quality retail set through Vivendi/RHI. The UK silents were, in general and in my opinion, quite inferior in quality to what was available from Image.

    I hope the absence of a BD set doesn't discourage anyone from buying this set that normally would. If/when UCLA completes their restorations in a few years, perhaps that will be the time for a BD set.

    RHI has a video clip (minus Edgar Kennedy's R-rated outburst) of "A Perfect Day" on their website:

    http://rhitv.com/home-video/laurel--hardy-the-essential-collection
     
  6. rdf8585

    rdf8585 Stunt Coordinator

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    I hope this set uses plastic holders for the discs and not cheap paper/cardboard sleeves. Like the I LOVE LUCY Complete Series set. Paper/cardboard sleeves can easily lead to discs being scratched, sometimes before you even touch them.
     
  7. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    From the photo, it looks like cardboard sleeves.
     
  8. Sumnernor

    Sumnernor Supporting Actor

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    I tend to disagree. I have BOTH the UK set and that which was released in Germany. As far as I know the films from the English release come from Kinowelt. The L&H disks were restored by the Kirch-Group (I believe in Leipsig.) The link describing the UK set is:

    http://www.laurelandhardy.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/newDVDREV.html

    I would also recommend looking at my posts 13 & 17 in

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/forum/thread/248719/best-laurel-and-hardy-dvd-s.

    I wrote a blurb about the german set. I could post that except my blub is based on a thread from Holland.

    http://www.blotto.nl/index.php/weblog/dvd/

    My order of the german disks is the same as the dutch site but is more up-to-date and not a rewrite. I would not want to be sued (if there are such things as copywrites.) The german discs do NOT have Vol numbers. The order is almost by release date. If there is a "legal" expert, I could send my text via a PM and then if it is OK, release the text on this thread.
     
  9. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Second Unit

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    Ron, is there any way to confirm what the package design will be like? It would be extremely frustrating to have waited all this time and have all this restoration work done for there to be an issue with scratched discs.
    RHI doesn't seem to have a contact page on their site:
    http://rhitv.com/home-video/laurel--hardy-the-essential-collection
     
  10. Scott MacGillivray

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    Amazon is now accepting pre-orders at a 30% discount:
    http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Hardy-The-Essential-Collection/dp/B005BYBZKY/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1311091238&sr=1-1
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Matt,

    Not at the moment, though generally, I never see extensive
    photos of detailed package design with press announcements.

    The PR firm that is handling this product does have a press site
    where I looked to obtain additional artwork, but the product doesn't
    even appear on their site.

    I did, however, submit a request for an advance screener. I may
    seek some of you to give me background history on the problems
    getting L&H complete on DVD for US release.

    I am a huge fan of L&H. Used to order their films on Super 8mm
    back in the 70s from Blackhawk Films. However, I am not really
    up on the problematic history on getting these shorts released.
     
  12. dana martin

    dana martin Cinematographer

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    Lots of forums have there own different takes already on this announcement, and the pre order price reduction almost makes this a no brainer for purchase except for one nagging thought. The minor problems from The Little Rascals set has me wondering, if this shouldn’t have been held off for a little longer. And this is the reason why, I have gotten spoilt by Kino and Criterion’s treatment of Keaton and Chaplin on blu ray. With the ongoing restorations going on at UCLA on the Roach films, UCLA is asking for assistance in funding. RHI could eat the cost of 2 or 3 of their craptacular SYFY Saturday night films and help fund this.

    Damn it its just the principal, that these (sight unseen) and undergoing restoration at the time, could be presented to future generations as they were originally intended and in 1080P, does this mean that I wont buy, hell no, the pre order is done, but back catalog is really having a great year, and was surprised by this announcement. Maybe one day we will hear that New Line/ Harold Lloyd Entertainment are in the works again for and HD release of some of Lloyd’s films as well. would love to hear that announcement!

    As is the release week for this just keeps getting more damn expensive

    Jurassic Park Trilogy blu ray
    Island of Lost Souls blu ray
    Horror Express blu ray
    Tom & Jerry: Volume 1 blu ray
    Zombie (Zombi) blu ray

    And now this, looks like soon I will need to get a 2nd and 3rd job just to keep up with what I would like to have
     
  13. Scott MacGillivray

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    Here's a quick explanation, Ron. In the 1980s the American video rights had been held by Robert Halmi of RHI Entertainment; Halmi licensed the films to the American Movie Classics network and issued them on VHS under his "Video Treasures" label. Then RHI was absorbed by Hallmark (the greeting-card company), which wanted to feature Halmi's television productions (like "Lonesome Dove") on its cable network. Halmi's Hal Roach Studios holdings went along with the deal, but Hallmark had no interest in them and no knowledge about them. (Anyone who tried to license the Laurel & Hardy films from Hallmark was generally ignored, and Hallmark very nearly threw the original Roach negatives in the trash.)
    So Hallmark sat on the films and the rights for many years, which is why most of the Roach titles have been unavailable for so long. Happily for fans, RHI recently reacquired the Roach library, paving the way for this new DVD collection.
    The European video rights have never been a problem, so the L & H films have never gone out of circulation there.
     
  14. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Great News indeed. This is a must buy for me. :)
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Scott,

    Thank you. I may ask permission to quote you in any
    review I may end up doing.

    Thank you so much for that history.
     
  16. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Second Unit

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    Thanks Ron. I'm sorry I can't offer much in the way of their video history, as I'm still learning about it myself.
    Would you mind following up on the package though, if possible? It might not be too late to impress a change upon them if they are planning to use sleeves instead of cases.
     
  17. rdf8585

    rdf8585 Stunt Coordinator

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    There's no excuse to use sleeves in an expensive box set like this. Ideally, they would use slim cases for each DVD, but sleeves are about the worst case scenario. The Little Rascals set was adequate enough as far as packaging. Several of my Lucy discs were scratched even before I touched them (in a new box) and there's little doubt that something like that could happen here.
    As one reviewer of the Lucy set explained at Amazon,
    "The fragile optical discs are stored in folders, instead of being suspended in a stationary position. When the discs are placed in the folders at the manufacturing plant the discs are scratched. When the box set is shipped, the two folders holding the discs move in all directions, as do the discs. The friction between the two result in scratching of the fragile optical side of the DVD. What you should receive from the studio is pristine DVDs, not scratched discs that you will receive."
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3O2LK3U8P1CR9/ref=cm_srch_res_rtr_alt_8
     
  18. GJN

    GJN Extra

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    Pity they'll be on DVD only. A Blu-ray release, like all the Buster Keaton's we've been getting, would have been great. And more compact on the shelf, too.
     
  19. mdnitoil

    mdnitoil Supporting Actor

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    Because Blu-ray discs are thinner?
     
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Been reading other forums, some devoted to classic
    film and it has been highly suggested that there has
    been a restoration being done at UCLA on these films
    and this set is NOT part of that restoration.

    In fact, it is suggested this set is comprised of
    best available materials the company has in their
    possession.
     

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