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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Rob_Ray, Feb 10, 2020.
Done deal. Bluray for me. Simply must have this!
I've been a L&H fan (thanks to my late dad) for about 50 years. I was so happy to recently attend the Chicago chapter of Sons of the Desert (the Bacon Grabbers!) showing of Bacon Grabbers, Big Business and Sons of the Desert! Between that and seeing Stan and Ollie it's renewed my interest in them. Definitely planning on getting this set.
I was craving L&H and was about to buy everything available on iTunes.
Then...this! Glad I waited. Really exciting news.
Respect & gratitude to the folks that made this happen.
This set has been years in the making. UCLA did some of the photo-chemical 35mm restorations in 2014. As far as I know they only have one more restoration (in English) finished which is not on this collection, "Perfect Day." Sorry to tell you that "Men o' War" is not on the forthcoming collection; I would love to have a proper restoration of that one as well, along with "Blotto," "Them Thar Hills," "Tit for Tat," "Block-Heads" and others. It all depends on the condition of available 35mm materials. A few months before my updated edition of "L&H: The Magic Behind the Movies" was published in June 2016, I'd gotten an email from Scott MacQueen at UCLA bemoaning the particularly sad state of "The Chimp," which was just in tatters -- dupe footage, slugs, splices and tears; a hoped-for better source from the BFI turned out to be unusable. So I wrote about this in the updated chapter and concluded with, "One hopes that 'The Chimp' can be taken off the endangered species list." Right after the book's publication, Scott called with the jubilant news that he had located a fine-grain master positive on "The Chimp" in beautiful condition, so it went from worst to first and was quickly restored on 35mm -- this after he had feared that a restoration on film was not possible. If funding comes in, and if 35mm materials are discovered in good shape, then we'll have more restorations. (Donations are welcome here.... https://www.cinema.ucla.edu/support/laurel-and-hardy)
Wonderful story, Randy, thanks for sharing. *wipes away tear*
It would be wonderful if a percentage of the sales from this DVD/BD collection could go back into the UCLA Preservation fund for more Laurel and Hardy preservation.
I'm happy to see that the original MGM title cards have been maintained.
Yes, we'd also like OUR GANG, please.
The post-Paramount Marx Bros films are in need of a Blu-ray release also.
Yes. All the MGM titles.
It looks like we have Richard W. Bann to thank for that. In some cases it appears they were replaced on the original negatives. When Bann worked for Blackhawk Films, the Roach studio would loan them the masters, and Blackhawk would make their own negatives. Then they'd replace the original titles with their own remade titles with Blackhawk's name. Bann evidently saved the "trims" and in some cases (IIRC "The Chimp," "Hog Wild," "One Good Turn," "Their First Mistake," maybe others) that's why we have them today.
I note on the "Essential Collection" DVD set, it appears many of the M-G-M lion intros were edited back onto films that were missing them, and the audio doesn't always match up. The roaring lion was mute at first, accompanied by a musical fanfare. Then briefly they had the lion audibly roaring along with the fanfare. Then no fanfare, and one version of the roaring audio, which was later re-recorded. On the DVD set, these are often mixed and matched. "Pardon Us" actually has the unique lion intro from the "Crane Twins" shorts. But at least they are there.
It seems like the negatives of the Our Gang films were kept in better shape than Laurel and Hardy.
It might be premature at this point, but a set in this series really should include a featurette on UCLA and the story behind these restorations, which would no doubt be nearly as fascinating as anything else included among the extras.
I agree 100% regarding this!
As a side note, I'd also like to note it was last year that *Sprocket Vault had previously announced a similar release, which would have also included the restored version of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927), but had to be pulled back due the lack of necessary home video release rights for that title. Huge kudos to Richard W. Bann and Sprocket Vault for ultimately working all of that out, and for working together in making this set a reality!
What a shame that the last founding member of the "Sons Of The Desert" Orson Bean missed out on seeing the release of this excellent set! It was great to see Laurel and Hardy author Randy Skretvedt pull through his recent health crisis, though!!
* EDIT: The previous aborted release that would have included THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927), was to have been issued by The Film Detective in a 2 DVD, 10 hour long set.
I thought that it was the Film Detective that announced that mostly silent L&H set and then had to pull it. I don't recall at the time any news about that announced set having the restored "The Battle of the Century." My conjecture was that we were just going to be getting the 1990s era masters. From what I have been hearing, the rights situation for the silents is a nightmare so we should be grateful that "The Battle of the Century" has been ransomed for this release. My personal hope is that once the copyright lapses in a few years that we will finally see the silents given a new release. Perhaps Lobster will do something since it has been doing some restoration work on the L&H silents. Its recent restoration of "Duck Soup" has been making the festival rounds.
My pre-order is in and I'm looking forward to what may very well be the release of the year - perhaps even decade. I do have one minor piece of criticism. The Spanish language version of "Pardon Us" has been restored by UCLA as a part of this L&H project. Since that film was left out of the 2011 DVD set it would have been nice to see it included here. However, I can imagine why it was left out as they would probably prefer to see it accompany a release of the English version of the film. Oh well - I don't think I'll be losing any sleep over this.
I do stand corrected regarding that! This is what I get for relying on my increasingly flawed memory.
Here's the source of that subsequently aborted release:
While it was a nice price point for the above, that the running time for 2 DVDs was round 10 hours, I'd have to think visual quality would have been somewhat compromised, and no Blu-ray option would have also been a bummer.
It's fantastic that terms were able to be worked out with Sprocket vault (Albeit, minus the other silents besides TBOTC!), at any rate!
It will be interesting to see what "lost " Laurel and Hardy negatives , intrapositives , and fine grains turn up in the future from far corners of the globe .
Crossed fingers for the recovery of "Hat's Off." Being distributed by MGM does stack the odds against it (MGM was more vigilant in seeking the return of film prints), but there's still the occasional discovery.
HAT'S OFF !! Yes that's one we all want to be found !!
Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
coming to DVD and Blu-ray on June 16th
"It's no exaggeration to say that the films haven't looked this good since
they were first released in the 1930s." - Leonard Maltin
The comedy films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have been beloved around the world since they were first released between 1927 and 1940. So beloved that many of the available copies are blurred dupes printed from worn-out negatives. Now, the best of their short comedies and two of their finest features have been fully restored. They look and sound as spectacular as when they were first released... Here are a few videos that prove it:
* NEW! 2K and 4K transfers from the finest original 35mm materials in the world.
* WORLD PREMIERES! Laurel and Hardy's legendary 1927 silent "pie fight" film THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY makes its video debut after being "lost" for 90 years! The only reel of L&H bloopers and out-takes, THAT'S THAT!
* Classic short comedies BERTH MARKS, BRATS, HOG WILD, COME CLEAN, ONE GOOD TURN, HELPMATES, THE MUSIC BOX (the legendary Academy Award winning "piano moving" short), THE CHIMP, COUNTY HOSPITAL, SCRAM!, THEIR FIRST MISTAKE, TOWED IN A HOLE, TWICE TWO, ME AND MY PAL, THE MIDNIGHT PATROL, and BUSY BODIES in addition to the feature films SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST (which includes the team's famous soft shoe dance routine).
* EIGHT HOURS of EXCLUSIVE extras - 2,500 rare photos and studio documents, audio and film interviews with L&H co-workers, original music tracks and trailers plus a full restoration of their one surviving color film, THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE.
* Commentaries by L&H historians Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann
*Restorations provided by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with UCLA Film & Television Archive and Library of Congress.
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