Today marks 2 years since the release of LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. Since shortly after its release, this marvelous 10 DVD Set has brought me much pleasure and enjoyment. In the process, I've also made some connections and friendships on this and other Forums!
We can only hope that sometime in the not too distant future, there might be a new Region 1 release of the boys' team silents. I can't really comment further for the moment, but I have some reason to think this may be a least a faint possibility!
I'm now able to comment the cause for my hope regarding to possible North American reissue of the Laurel & Hardy Silents. Richard Feiner, who had held the rights to the boys' team Silents in the Americas (And would not re-release them under anything but the most unrealistic terms!), recently passed away at the age of 85. The reason I couldn't say anything initially was that his family needed to be given the time to grieve privately. It is my understanding that his son currently holds the licensing for the L&H Silent Films.
In my opinion, which I know a number of people share with me, the best way to present these silents would be to issue them as a compact version of the 2011 Essential Collection release. Ideally, this 3 or 4 DVD Collection would include only the Silents which include BOTH Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy (Not also including their respective solo Films and other fillers that won't likely interest MOST consumers, as Michael Agee and I believe, Richard Feiner had previously stipulated!), from 45 MINUTES FROM HOLLYWOOD to ANGORA LOVE. As a bonus, THE LUCKY DOG and the surviving second reel of Charley Chase's NOW I'LL TELL ONE could be included as extras, provided the rights to those titles can be sorted out! In my opinion, LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL SILENTS COLLECTION has a nice ring to it!
I would be amiss to not mention at least one possible obstacle to the realization of the above scenario. The film stocks for many of the Laurel & Hardy Silents that were used as the source for the 1990's VHS issues of THE LOST FILMS OF LAUREL AND HARDY, having languished in Michael Agee's Non Air Conditioned Garage have sadly, deteriorated beyond use! Richard W. Bann himself has stated this as one reason his acquiring the rights from the late Richard Feiner's son wouldn't be worth the trouble, as the Silent Film Stocks are simply beyond rescuing. Perhaps one alternative might be if the European Film Stocks for the Laurel & Hardy Silents could be accessed. Obviously, we can't expect the quality to be up to the LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION'S standard. However, at this point, I for one, would be happy with capable hands (IE. Richard W. Bann and his team!) doing their best, utilizing the best possible Film Stocks available to put together a cohesive collection for current and future Laurel & Hardy Enthusiasts to enjoy!
Edited by Tony Bensley, October 27 2013 - 11:48 AM.