Since their early films were produced by independents and the Sennett studio, original negatives were used to strike prints and few have survived. Some productions have no 35mm lavenders, or later masters, and many have no 35 dupe negatives. When 16mm survives, we can consider ourselves lucky.
The story here is the passion, work and funding that has gone into creating Year One, which not long ago would have been considered an impossible task.
For those who love the works of Laurel & Hardy, we owe a great debt of gratitude to finally have these equally films on Blu-ray, with Serge Bromberg and the late David Shepard at the top of the list. Normally, I would consider these restorations, but as has been noted in other threads, that term no longer applies.
I’ll just say that these films have been stuck together from a multitude of different elements in various gauges, and thanks must go to Archives, Collectors and other sources – whether the contributed element is a full film or a scrap.
A monograph (Souvenir booklet) at 36 pages is a nice addition, as are the myriad of quality extras.
I’ll allow readers to wonder through this release at their own speed. It’s not a sit down – one and done situation.
What I personally found most interesting viewing these early shorts was that we can literally see the two actors at the beginning of their careers as the separate players in a single film, who are in no way connected, begin to grow into one of the finest comedy teams in the history of the cinema.
To my way of thinking, this should be an award-winning creation, that deserves a place in every serious cinema library, and especially in those who have yet to experience the works of the very English Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Oliver Norvell Hardy of the great State of Georgia.
This is a big deal.
It’s even a bigger deal that whatever was done to make the films prettier was done nicely, and the films still look like film.
I’ve sampled enough of the shorts – going back to the 1921 Lucky Dog, which although from disparate elements, looks fine. Others, based upon 35mm appear gorgeous. So zero concerns for quality.
This is a gift for the ages from Flicker Alley! Anyone balking at the $40 MSRP should be advised that this worth that and more – in spades!
Image – n/a – but generally lovely
Audio – n/a
Pass / Fail – Pass
Plays nicely with projectors – Yes
Worth your attention – 10
Slipcover rating – n/a
Very Highly Recommended
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