Quality of Hal Roach Studios Laurel and Hardy DVDs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick McCart, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
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    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    I'm interested in buying some Laurel and Hardy on DVD (mostly for Two Tars, The Battle of the Century, Big Business, and a few others) but I can't seem to find many DVD reviews.

    How is the a/v quality and what are some supplements included?
  2. Page

    Page Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 30, 1997
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    If you're talking about the German imported versions put out by Kinowelt...the quality is excellent. (You'll need a DVD player that can convert PAL to NTSC, however.)

    Which releasing company are you interested in?
  3. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

    Jan 22, 2000
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    No supplements (except for some unlisted Charley Chase comedies on one or two of the discs).
    The video quality is fine, especially given the age of the materials. About on par with the Keaton DVDs, I'd reckon.
    Audio is somewhat of a disappointment mainly because the scores are drawn from a relatively low number of Vitaphone soundtracks (there are some exceptions, like Habeas Corpus). It's not that the music isn't catchy--just repetitive.
    I personally own all of the discs (but then, I'm a monster fan of The Boys).
    In addition to the three films you've mentioned, you should seek out the discs containing The Finishing Touch, Liberty (probably my #2 of their silents), We Faw Down, Wrong Again (with arguably the greatest equine film performance in history), They Go Boom, and You're Darn Tootin'. But truthfully, you can't really go wrong with any of them.
    It's a genuine source of pain to me that the majority (read: all but three non-public domain films) of their sound films remain MIA on DVD for the forseeable future. [​IMG]
  4. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

    Aug 22, 2002
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    Most of the quibbles I've seen are over the soundtracks. Frequently, the same Vitaphone score, originally assembled for one particular film, is reused indiscriminately for various other titles. Sometimes it just gets to be boring and repetitive, at others, the particular musical punctuations just don't fit.

    Picture quality varies, as often the shorts are assmbled from various sources. A lot of material is so astonishingly good it looks like original camera negative. Of course, this makes the frequent switches to lower-quality elements somewhat jarring at times. Occasionally, this happens in mid-shot, and often there'll be a perspective change as well, when the other material has come from one of the adjoining "foreign release" cameras that was cranking simultaneously.

    It's been some time since I checked out my copies (mainly on laser, but some on DVD), but my recollections are definitely positive. Surely a must for L&H fans.

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