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

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

  1. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Thanks, Jim. The stories about the person in question are horrifying. One story is that he kept original camera negatives in his California garage. He never should have been allowed anywhere near the materials if he (a) didn't have the resources to properly care for them and (b) didn't allow others to assist. Roach produced some of the finest comic entertainment in the earliest days of cinema and how the material has been handled is morally criminal.
     
  2. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    Wow! If that's correct, that's major news. Sons of the Desert is their best film and one of the funniest films ever made. If they have the original camera negative and it's in decent condition, we might see a high quality blu ray someday. Personally, I think that they should see what they can do with that with the eye to licensing it to Criterion. That might pay for a good bit of the restoration on the other films.
     
  3. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    A Criterion licensing fee won't come close to dealing with the expense of restoring the library. Below is a post from Jeff Joseph of Sabucat productions that was originally posted on the 35mm forum, for those who would like to make any sort of donation to the project : Please help us save the Laurel & Hardy film library! The Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy shorts and features that we baby boomers grew up on.... those great comedies that played on television constantly...those films are in danger of turning to dust. Although some work has been done over the years for video release (the current DVD boxed set actually looks quite nice), most of the library has not been properly preserved or restored. The reason is simply this: There is no money in it. But if this work isn't done soon, the nitrate (a very fragile and flammable film element) will continue to deteriorate, and these amazing films will only exist digitally--and, even then, in mostly "low resolution" versions. Throughout the years, the Hal Roach film library was sold, resold, leased, and rented, over and over again, and the printing elements were just used up. Hard as it is to believe, most 35mm prints (and even 16mm prints) were struck from the original 35mm camera negatives. Consequently, these original negatives are in awful shape. It is necessary to do both digital and photochemical clean up on them; the soundtracks have to be fixed, the main title sequences replaced, and so forth. (Various reissue companies put their own main titles in place of the original Hal Roach/MGM titles). Since both digital and 35mm preservation is required, the costs are simply enormous. The average 20-minute short will cost around $50,000 to complete. There are more than 60 shorts (and about a dozen features). We need to get this done now, while it's still doable. Waiting even a few more years not only means that more of the original film elements will have turned to dust, it also means that the folks who know this library won't be around anymore to work on it. I find it shocking that movies that were so well known just a few years ago are now almost forgotten; I think it's a crime that material that has meant so much to so many people has been treated in such a shoddy manner....and that future generations may be unable to view these films properly. This restoration project is being spearheaded by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Most of the Hal Roach film elements are at the UCLA, and their archivists are some of the best in the business. But film archives (and schools, for that matter) tend to always need more money than they have. Without donors stepping up, the Laurel & Hardy collection can not be saved. (Many film-archival projects rely on outside donors.) We need your money to make this happen. I have personally made a decent-sized donation to this project to get the ball rolling, but we need quite a bit more if we want to get this done before it's too late. Anything you can donate would be most appreciated. Here is the main website: http://www.savelaurelandhardy.com There is a Donate Here button about halfway down the page, or: https://giving.ucla.edu/Standard/NetDonate.aspx?SiteNum=274 I recently saw the UCLA restored version of the 1933 L&H short Busy Bodies (one of my all-time favorites) in 35mm at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. It looked simply stunning. I've seen this short many times over the years, and it tended to look scratchy, "dupey," and just plain old. Now...it doesn't. It looks like it was shot yesterday. And there's still time to do this for the rest of the library. But this window of opportunity will not stay open for long; every year more and more nitrate film turns to goo and then to dust. Please. Anything at all that you can donate would be most appreciated. As Stan Laurel said in Brats, "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led!" Thanks so much, Jeff Joseph Formerly SabuCat Productions Former owner of the 35mm Forum
     
  4. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Are the silent films also part on the restoration project, and no longer under the (poor) supervision of a lone producer? If so, which films? Also, is UCLA collaborating with the separate European owners/distributors of the Hal Roach library? Sorry for the questions, but I'm most concerned with the silent films of L&H. Also, is UCLA looking into other Hal Roach preservation outside of L&H? Charley Chase comes to mind as some of the earliest sound shorts seem to require a Vitaphone Project-like restoration of possible extant audio discs. The silent Our Gang shorts are also in some serious need of preservation and restoration after being butchered by early television producers in the first few decades of television broadcasting. Hopefully, the L&H project is a step towards that direction.
     
  5. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    I'd like to see the MGM Silent "Out Gang" (ore "Little Rascals" era) shorts restored.
     
  6. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    Sound films only
     
  7. Brian McP

    Brian McP Second Unit

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    So-- according to Jeff, at around $50,000 for a 20 minute two-reeler, for 60 shorts the cost would come to around $3 million, and a dozen features with running times around 60-80 minutes, the cost for those would come to around $4 to $5 million -- just to give the movies as good a riestoration as possible, I'd budget $10 million for the whole thing. Right -- just so I know what to do the time I win 1st division in lotto or the sweepstakes....and hopefully enough to help RAH and friends to restore "The Alamo" (with Oliver Hardy's "Fighting Kentuckian" co-star, John Wayne)
     
  8. Trenton9claude

    Trenton9claude Auditioning

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    Will keep all of you posted when this becomes available for preorder.
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Trenton, Once could be pretty. Eight times or morei s boring and tiring. Stop that, especially when itw orks like insulting some of our members. Cees
     
  10. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    'Way Out West" went through a one-off restoration a few years ago ( also by UCLA I believe ) so that's $150,000 saved already !
     
  11. Brian McP

    Brian McP Second Unit

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    You little beauty -- you are quite right Rob, as did "Helpmates", "County Hospital" and a couple of other shorts UCLA have in the works -- so, around $9 million should do the trick -- well, at least it's something to aim for....
     
  12. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hopefully THE MUSIC BOX can get an upgrade, provided a better quality third reel can be found to replace the one that looks like it was duped from a TV print! Apparently, the negative for reel 3 disappeared around 1983. CHEERS!
     
  13. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection can currently be had at U.S. Amazon for $51.99. While Amazon's Canadian counterpart is currently charging the ridiculously exorbitant $103.83 (We Canucks are seemingly never given a break by CDN Amazon with this set!), Canadians can use Amazon.ca Third Party Vendor Import CD's to shave $20 or so from that price ($80.68 + $3.49 Shipping.).

    Below are the Amazon links.

    U.S. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Hardy-The-Essential-Collection/dp/B005BYBZKY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377221682&sr=8-1&keywords=laurel+and+hardy+the+essential+collection

    CDN Amazon Third Party Vendors: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/offer-listing/B005BYBZKY/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1377221631&sr=8-1

    CHEERS!
     
  14. TheSteig

    TheSteig Supporting Actor

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    I considered this but I kept that huge Universal overseas set. that thing is awesome :)
     
  15. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    I generally heard better things about picture quality in the U.S. set. Moreover, there's not much on the English set that's not here.
     
  16. Sumnernor

    Sumnernor Supporting Actor

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    Sorry but the english set has the silent films
     
  17. stevenHa

    stevenHa Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a little confused, are any of the three UCLA restored shorts included in the recently released Laurel and Hardy Essentials collection ?
     
  18. Albert71292

    Albert71292 Stunt Coordinator

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    Nope.
     
  19. TheSteig

    TheSteig Supporting Actor

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    Yes, the English set has more and Im happy with PQ of it. Plus it took wonders to get it shipped to me. It was the most expensive DVD set I ordered over here :)
     
  20. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    The main thing regarding the U.S. Essential Collection is that MOST of the sound films on the UK set that don't have the original Title Cards can be found on the U.S. set (IE. HOG WILD and THE CHIMP; though not BRATS.). The overall video quality (With SONS OF THE DESERT being unfortunately a notable exception!) is also better on the Essential Collection. Of course, for those who also want the Laurel & Hardy Silents (And don't already have them!), the UK Universal 21 DVD set is currently the only real viable go to (Though It's now also rather pricey!), as the long out of print Lost Films Volumes are far too exorbitantly priced for most consumers these days!

    The L&H 21 DVD Universal set has recently been released in Australia, and is currently priced at $76.98 in Australian Currency, though not on Amazon, but on an Australian website called JB Hi-Fi. The set is much more compact than the UK issue, and does not have any inserts! For those who wish to look into this set further, here is the link for it: http://www.jbhifionline.com.au/dvd/dvd-genres/comedy/laurel-hardy-collection/686527

    CHEERS!

    Tony
     
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