A few words about…™ The Misadventures of Biffle and Shooster! — in DVD

Highly Recommended 4 Stars

Allow me to position my cinema perspective toward 1930s wise-cracking, physical comedians.

From an earlier era, I love Keaton and Chaplin. as well as early Laurel & Hardy.

Get to the ’30s, Laurel & Hardy reigned, along with The Marx Brothers. I could never stand the Stooges. And then came Abbott and Costello, with their own brand of humor.

But there was a time, as I recall, in the early 1970s, when some nitrate footage was discovered of Biffle and Shooster. It was an incomplete short. It was copied to safety, and I was invited to see the fragments.

I was amazed.

I had heard of this duo, played by Will Ryan and Nick Santa Maria, but had never seen a frame.

I knew immediately, that they were the real thing.

Over the past few years, I’ve been following Michael Schlesinger’s perseverance after prints (there were apparently, 20 in all) of some of the shorts were finally found, mis-marked at a European archive.

The sad truth of the matter is that Biffle and Shooster destroyed the studio, for which they worked.

Literally.

It was a nitrate fire, c. 1939, that took down the stages and destroyed the library. Hence, the fact that their work has gone unheralded.

Thanks to Mr. Schlesinger’s work, you can now bask in the aura of these extraordinary entertainers. It doesn’t get any better.

As an aside, whilst working on the reconstruction of Mad World, I did come upon their scene, included as an extra in Kino’s new disc. I was unable to use it, as it never made it to the final preview.

As far as image and audio quality are concerned, what you’re seeing is the final product of some extraordinary restoration work, with full use of all available digital tools. A bit of occasional movement, but beyond that, perfection.

Image – 4.5

Audio – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

author,member

7 Comments

  1. As a lifelong L&H devotee and a longtime fan of A&C, the Stooges and Gorcey/Hall I am thrilled that Mike S has managed to rescue these treasures from the ravages of time so that modern audiences can enjoy them.

    Since RAH has indicated that 20 were produced that leaves only 15 more to be “found”. No pressure Mike – we’ll wait until 2019 for Vol 2!

    Thanks to Kino for distributing these.

  2. Just finished watching this last night…literally watched everything on the disc in one session! Thoroughly enjoyed myself, these guys are spot on with humor of this vintage. Very much a cross between A&C and The Stooges. There are so many little pearls for folks familiar with 30s and 40s comedy. My favorite short was IMITATION OF WIFE, although they are all well done.

    I have the same question for Kino posed by others: why no blu ray? Were these filmed in SD? I seriously doubt it.

    I would double dip on this in a second if a blu ray release is in the offing. Hear us, Kino?

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