Laurel and Hardy Restorations Coming to Blu Ray and DVD

3 Stars

Randy Skretvedt, the author of “Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies” posted this on his Facebook page yesterday:

“Whew! At last I can post something about this beautiful, wonderful project that I and others have been working on since October 2018. The films are ASTONISHING. You won’t believe how clear and clean they look, as if they were filmed yesterday. Well, maybe the day before yesterday, but I guarantee you have never seen “Come Clean” or “Hog Wild” or the others in such wonderful quality. As for the eight hours of special features, I have contributed multitudes of material from my own collection, as has Richard W. Bann. There are many exclusives here, such as my filmed interviews with producer Joe Rock, special-effects wizard Roy Seawright and actress Anita Garvin Stanley. Also Babe Hardy’s personal scrapbook of his “Vim Comedy” days in Jacksonville in 1916-17, as well as his own photos from L&H’s 1932 tour of the UK. Marvin Hatley music tracks are here, along with audio interviews with Hal Roach, Richard Currier, Bert Jordan, George Marshall and others. I provided commentaries for 19 movies and Richard for two of them, which give you a guided tour through the production of the films. Photo galleries will take you on both sides of the camera for all of the films, and you’ll see amazing, rare poster art and studio files. Trailers and a *gorgeous* transfer of L&H’s one fully-surviving color film “The Tree in a Test Tube,” as well as the out-takes reel “That’s That” are among the extras. Oh, yes — I almost forgot to mention the video debut of the nearly-complete THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY, the legendary pie-fight silent film which has existed only in part for nearly 90 years. (It looks great and was worth the wait.) This region-free release is a must-have for every Laurel and Hardy admirer!”

I have spoken with Randy about this and can tell you that most of these transfers are taken from the UCLA restorations and look incredible. THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY is as complete as is known to exist and SONS OF THE DESERT finally looks and sounds pristine. I believe the street date is sometime in early summer, with preorders going up in May.

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  1. Doug Otte

    Where does he state that it'll be DVD and/or Blu-ray?

    From Thad Komorowksi's Post:

    So that Laurel & Hardy restoration project I'm involved with is coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations. June 16, 2020, from Kit Parker and Sprocket Vault. These are the versions Jeff Joseph produced with UCLA and LoC. I helped oversee these new digital restorations. You will love it.

    Contents as follows:

    Feature Films:
    Sons of the Desert
    Way Out West

    Short Subjects:
    Berth Marks (both the original and reissue soundtracks)
    The Battle of the Century (with new music track by Donald Sosin; virtually complete and restored)
    Brats (both the original and reissue soundtracks)
    Busy Bodies
    The Chimp
    Come Clean
    County Hospital
    Helpmates
    Hog Wild
    Me and My Pal
    Midnight Patrol
    The Music Box
    One Good Turn
    Scram!
    Their First Mistake
    Towed in a Hole
    Twice Two

    Bonus Materials:
    Commentaries by Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann
    Never before seen video interviews as well as audio interviews with L&H co-workers
    Over 2,500 rare photos, posters, scripts and studio files
    Alternate Soundtracks
    Music Tracks
    "Ship's Reporter" Oliver Hardy Interview (restored)
    "That's That" (restored/first time on video)
    "Tree in a Test Tube" (restored from 16mm Kodachrome)
    L&H off-camera pix from Hardy's collection
    Restored Trailers

    I'm fully prepared for the onslaught of "Why isn't it complete and in order?" questions. For the same reason the Warner Archive Tex Avery discs aren't, I suspect. There is a lot of work involved restoring and releasing classic films (even the most in-demand titles like these), and a lot of obstacles to overcome, so we have to do the best with what we got, when we can. But, I can guarantee that good sales on this will ensure further volumes. Pre-order details coming soon.

  2. mark brown

    Is the project still a work in progress or is it complete? From what elements were the restorations made? Will there be any separate screenings of any of the films? CANNOT WAIT!

    The transfers have been completed. As far as the source elements are concerned, you'd have to ask someone who is knowledgeable about the UCLA restorations. They have been screened at various film gatherings, such as UCLA's Festival of Preservation and Cinecon in Hollywood and at various classic film gatherings in other parts of the country, but for most of the country, these have not been seen before and are a revelation. For just one example, the print of Hog Wild contains visual information on the left side of the screen that hasn't been revealed since the last time the short was screened with sound on disc. All sound on film prints since then were visually cropped.

    I have before never seen SONS OF THE DESERT look virtually pristine, with no overly tight overscanning cropping off the sides. This is a big deal for all L&H fans!

  3. Astairefan

    Definitely another great release to look forward to in 2020! I just wish I knew what it's gonna cost!

    I eagerly await word on that, as well! I'm fairly confident an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) will be listed before too long.

    CHEERS! 🙂

  4. Ronald Epstein

    Been a huge L&H fan since owning a lot of their films on Super 8mm.

    Anything restoration like this is most welcomes and appreciated!

    It was L&H that got me into Super 8mm film collecting. We wait … but it's not easy.
    The last time I was this happy about a release was when the Thin Man Blu Ray finally came out.

  5. More information, including specifics on the contents, courtesy of Randy Skretvedt:

    Here are the contents of the DVD edition of LAUREL & HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS. The official release date is June 16, 2020 (the 130th anniversary of Stan Laurel’s birth); pre-order will be available on Amazon in May.

    All of the material on the six disc DVD edition is included in the four disc Blu-ray version, in different configurations. These will be region-free.

    Presented by Kit Parker Films, The Sprocket Vault and Cinedigm.

    All films — including the interview films, the trailers and the audio interviews — have optional English subtitles. The theatrical films (including The Tree in a Test Tube and That’s That) have optional commentaries by Richard W. Bann (for The Battle of the Century and The Music Box) and by Randy Skretvedt (all others).

    Film preservation by Richard W. Bann, The UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Library of Congress

    Digital restorations produced by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat and performed by Thad Komorowski/Cineaste Restoration. A.R.T. by Point 360. Final Conforming and Clean Up by The Finishing Touch.

    Laboratory Services: The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Audio Mechanics, Simon Daniel Sound, DJ Audio, Inc., Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, Roundabout Entertainment, Inc., FotoKem, Pacific Title & Art Studio, Film & Video Transfers, Chace Audio, YCM Laboratories, The Cinemalab.

    Funding provided by Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund, Sons of the Desert Tents, Jeff Joseph/SabuCat, The George Lucas Family Foundation, The Film Foundation, The Packard Humanities Institute, Friends and Family of Ron Isroelit, The Stanford Theatre Foundation, The Winklevoss Foundation, The Carl David Memorial Fund for Film Preservation, Turner Classic Movies, Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer, Julie Huntsinger.

    Special thanks to Richard W. Bann, Ray Faiola, David Gerstein, Jon C. Mirsalis, Sonar Entertainment, Paramount Pictures Archives, Michael J. Sheridan, Lou Sabini, Ralph Celentano, Les Perkins, Gary Lacher, Steve Slocum, Mike Mashon/The Library of Congress, RHI Entertainment LLC, The Museum of Modern Art, Katie Trainor, The British Film Institute, Nigel Algar, Katrina Stokes.

    Disc 1
    Feature:
    Sons of the Desert, preserved by UCLA Film and Television Archive
    Short:
    The Battle of the Century, presented nearly complete with original amber tint and a new score by Donald Sosin.

    Photo Galleries:
    Sons of the Desert Publicity Portraits • Scene Stills • Deleted and Candids • Posters and Publicity • Early Script • Dialogue Continuity • Contracts and Documents
    Battle of the Century (including Press Sheet and publicity material)
    Early Career: Stan
    Early Career: Babe

    Anita Garvin Interview film from October 1981 (in color)
    Sons of the Desert trailer (in Spanish)

    Disc 2
    Shorts:
    Berth Marks, with original 1929 soundtrack and 1936 reissue soundtrack
    Brats, with original 1930 soundtrack and 1937 reissue soundtrack
    Hog Wild (from full aperture 1:33 source)

    Photo Galleries for Berth Marks, Brats, and Hog Wild including production stills, press sheet articles, music cue sheets, poster and lobby card art.

    Audio Interview excerpts from Randy Skretvedt (accompanied with photo galleries):
    Billy Bletcher, actor
    Joe Rock, producer
    Hal Roach, producer
    Anita Garvin Stanley, actress
    George Marshall, director
    Roy Seawright, special effects designer
    Venice Lloyd, widow of cameraman Art Lloyd
    Richard Currier, film editor
    Bert Jordan, film editor
    Walter Woolf King, actor
    Lucille Hardy Price, Babe’s widow
    Marvin Hatley, musical director (including performances of “Ku-Ku,” “Honolulu Baby,” and “Will You Be My Lovey-Dovey?”)

    Disc 3
    Shorts:
    Come Clean
    One Good Turn
    Helpmates
    The Music Box

    Photo Galleries:
    Come Clean • One Good Turn • Helpmates • The Music Box (including production and candid stills, press sheet articles, poster and lobby card artwork, call sheets and production reports, music cue sheets) • A Short History of the Hal Roach Studios • Supporting Players • Crew Members • Studio Hijinks

    Trailers for Beau Hunks and Pack Up Your Troubles

    Disc 4
    Shorts:
    The Chimp
    County Hospital
    Scram!
    Their First Mistake

    Photo Galleries:
    The Chimp • County Hospital • Scram! • Their First Mistake (including production and candid stills, press sheet articles, poster and lobby card artwork, call sheets and production reports, music cue sheets) • Snapshots from the 1932 UK Vacation • Babe Hardy’s Vim Comedies Scrapbook • L&H with Hollywood Friends

    Joe Rock Interview and Roy Seawright Interview (both filmed by Randy Skretvedt, October 1981; in color)
    Ship’s Reporter interview with Babe Hardy, June 10, 1950

    Disc 5
    Shorts:
    Towed in a Hole
    Twice Two
    Me and My Pal
    The Midnight Patrol
    Busy Bodies

    Photo Galleries:
    Towed in a Hole • Twice Two • Me and My Pal • The Midnight Patrol • Busy Bodies (including production and candid stills, press sheet articles, poster and lobby card artwork, call sheets and production reports, music cue sheets) • Catalina, July 1934 • Portraits in Costume • Portraits out of Costume • Laurel & Hardy and Golf • Special Occasions • Odd Publicity Shots

    Original trailers for Babes in Toyland, The Flying Deuces, A Chump at Oxford, Saps at Sea

    Disc 6
    Feature:
    Way Out West

    Shorts:
    That’s That
    The Tree in a Test Tube

    Photo Galleries:
    Way Out West: Portrait Stills • Scene Stills • Candid Stills • Pressbook Articles and Artwork • Poster and Lobby Card Artwork • Original 1913 Sheet Music • Script and Synopsis • Dialogue Continuity, Music Cues, etc.
    That’s That • The Tree in a Test Tube • Stan in Retirement

    Marvin Hatley Music Tracks (from Sons of the Desert, Them Thar Hills, Way Out West, Block-Heads, A Chump at Oxford and Saps at Sea)

    Original Trailer for Way Out West

  6. Not that it matters much, but it's interesting he listed the DVD configuration rather than the Blu. I'm curious now how they balance the features with the shorts on 4 BDs.

    It certainly looks like it'll be hard to top this first volume with all those listed extras.

  7. I'm sure your dedication will result in workable chapters on 'Way Out West' instead of the haphazard useless chaptering on the present Blu ray. Anyway, I'll be in for the lot … especially 'Way Out West' and the collection including 'The Music Box'.

  8. This is a brilliant crucial first step in a project that I've dreamed of for many years. THANK YOU. Laurel and Hardy are among the great geniuses of world cinema. I hope that Orson Bean got to see many of these restorations, before his recent death (at 91) as a pedestrian in a grotesque double auto accident. He founded "Sons of the Desert," a Laurel and Hardy fan club. He was public and vocal about how great they were.

  9. Absolutely Frank — the founding members of the Sons of the Desert were Orson Bean, Al Kilgore, John McCabe, Chuck McCann and John Municino — sadly Orson was the last man standing.

    My one hope is that the contents of the Sons of the Desert disc isn't completely locked right now and there is room for a little video tribute to the Founding Fathers of the Sons — not only would it make a great extra but since this set is top heavy with great historical documents, recordings and photos, but the story of the founding of the Sons by John McCabe and co in 1965 would make a perfect extra that brings events and L&H's story right up to the present day.

    As he was part of the Sons as a teenager in 1965, my pick to do this little piece would be Leonard Maltin as he also knew many of the founders personally over the years (he also wrote the 'official publication of the Sons of the Desert', 1973's 'The Laurel and Hardy Book' as well) — Randy and Richard Bann could also do this, but Leonard's outlook to me is one of a kind — I hope if he has time, and that with 6 months before the set hits the streets, it could somehow be squeezed in.

    It would make a great tribute to the Founders — if they were to get any kind of credit, anywhere, it should be part of this L&H Restoration set as they were among those who through their efforts and appreciation of Stan and Ollie, this set (pretty much) exists.

  10. On their DVD 'The Essential Collection released years ago, there are still shorts and a few films that arent included on the new Blu-ray release including Block-Heads, Saps at Sea, A Chump at Oxford. Will the movies and shorts not on this Blu-ray set be released on a future Blu-ray set ?
    I ask because Id like to retire the DVD set one day 🙂

    I copied the list from the essential collection so everyone can see what's not on the upcoming Blu-ray release, but hopefully forthcoming

    DISC 1:
    UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE 1929
    BERTH MARKS 1929
    MEN O' WAR 1929
    PERFECT DAY 1929 [original 1929 track]
    PERFECT DAY 1936 [reissue with musical score]
    THEY GO BOOM 1929
    THE HOOSE-GOW 1929
    NIGHT OWLS 1930
    LADRONES (Night Owls, Spanish) 1930
    BLOTTO 1930

    DISC 2:
    LA VIDA NOCTURNA (Blotto, Spanish) 1930
    BRATS 1937 [reissue, new LeRoy Shield musical score]
    BRATS 1930 [original score of stock jazz-band records]
    BELOW ZERO 1930
    TIEMBLA Y TITUBEA (Below Zero, Spanish) 1930
    HOG WILD 1930
    THE LAUREL-HARDY MURDER CASE 1930
    NOCHE DE DUENDES (The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case & Berth Marks, Spanish) 1930
    ANOTHER FINE MESS 1930

    DISC 3:
    BE BIG! 1931
    CHICKENS COME HOME 1931
    POLITIQUERIAS (Chickens Come Home, Spanish) 1931
    LAUGHING GRAVY 1931
    LES CAROTTIERS (Feature: Be Big! & Laughing Gravy, French) 1931

    DISC 4:
    LOS CALAVERAS (Feature: Be Big! & Laughing Gravy, Spanish) 1931
    OUR WIFE 1931
    PARDON US (Feature, extended version) 1931
    COME CLEAN 1931
    ONE GOOD TURN 1931
    BEAU HUNKS 1931

    DISC 5:
    HELPMATES 1932
    ANY OLD PORT 1932
    THE MUSIC BOX 1932
    THE CHIMP 1932
    COUNTY HOSPITAL 1932
    SCRAM! 1932
    PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES (Feature) 1932
    THEIR FIRST MISTAKE 1932

    DISC 6:
    TOWED IN A HOLE 1933
    TWICE TWO 1933
    ME AND MY PAL 1933
    THE MIDNIGHT PATROL 1933
    BUSY BODIES 1933
    DIRTY WORK 1933
    SONS OF THE DESERT (Feature) 1933
    OLIVER THE EIGHTH 1934
    GOING BYE-BYE! 1934

    DISC 7:
    THEM THAR HILLS 1934
    THE LIVE GHOST 1934
    TIT FOR TAT 1935
    THE FIXER UPPERS 1935
    THICKER THAN WATER 1935
    THE BOHEMIAN GIRL (Feature) 1936

    DISC 8:
    OUR RELATIONS (Feature) 1936
    WAY OUT WEST (Feature) 1937
    SWISS MISS (Feature) 1938

    DISC 9:
    BLOCK-HEADS (Feature) 1938
    A CHUMP AT OXFORD (42 min.) 1940
    A CHUMP AT OXFORD (Feature, 63 min.) 1940
    SAPS AT SEA (Feature) 1940

    DISC 10:
    SPECIAL FEATURES
    A Tribute to Laurel & Hardy
    On Location with the Boys: tour of set locations and interactive map
    Laurel & Hardy Guest Appearances
    Laurel & Hardy Trailers

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  12. TheSteig

    On their DVD 'The Essential Collection released years ago, there are still shorts and a few films that arent included on the new Blu-ray release including Block-Heads, Saps at Sea, A Chump at Oxford. Will the movies and shorts not on this Blu-ray set be released on a future Blu-ray set ?
    I ask because Id like to retire the DVD set one day 🙂

    I copied the list from the essential collection so everyone can see what's not on the upcoming Blu-ray release, but hopefully forthcoming

    DISC 1:
    UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE 1929
    BERTH MARKS 1929
    MEN O' WAR 1929
    PERFECT DAY 1929 [original 1929 track]
    PERFECT DAY 1936 [reissue with musical score]
    THEY GO BOOM 1929
    THE HOOSE-GOW 1929
    NIGHT OWLS 1930
    LADRONES (Night Owls, Spanish) 1930
    BLOTTO 1930

    DISC 2:
    LA VIDA NOCTURNA (Blotto, Spanish) 1930
    BRATS 1937 [reissue, new LeRoy Shield musical score]
    BRATS 1930 [original score of stock jazz-band records]
    BELOW ZERO 1930
    TIEMBLA Y TITUBEA (Below Zero, Spanish) 1930
    HOG WILD 1930
    THE LAUREL-HARDY MURDER CASE 1930
    NOCHE DE DUENDES (The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case & Berth Marks, Spanish) 1930
    ANOTHER FINE MESS 1930

    DISC 3:
    BE BIG! 1931
    CHICKENS COME HOME 1931
    POLITIQUERIAS (Chickens Come Home, Spanish) 1931
    LAUGHING GRAVY 1931
    LES CAROTTIERS (Feature: Be Big! & Laughing Gravy, French) 1931

    DISC 4:
    LOS CALAVERAS (Feature: Be Big! & Laughing Gravy, Spanish) 1931
    OUR WIFE 1931
    PARDON US (Feature, extended version) 1931
    COME CLEAN 1931
    ONE GOOD TURN 1931
    BEAU HUNKS 1931

    DISC 5:
    HELPMATES 1932
    ANY OLD PORT 1932
    THE MUSIC BOX 1932
    THE CHIMP 1932
    COUNTY HOSPITAL 1932
    SCRAM! 1932
    PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES (Feature) 1932
    THEIR FIRST MISTAKE 1932

    DISC 6:
    TOWED IN A HOLE 1933
    TWICE TWO 1933
    ME AND MY PAL 1933
    THE MIDNIGHT PATROL 1933
    BUSY BODIES 1933
    DIRTY WORK 1933
    SONS OF THE DESERT (Feature) 1933
    OLIVER THE EIGHTH 1934
    GOING BYE-BYE! 1934

    DISC 7:
    THEM THAR HILLS 1934
    THE LIVE GHOST 1934
    TIT FOR TAT 1935
    THE FIXER UPPERS 1935
    THICKER THAN WATER 1935
    THE BOHEMIAN GIRL (Feature) 1936

    DISC 8:
    OUR RELATIONS (Feature) 1936
    WAY OUT WEST (Feature) 1937
    SWISS MISS (Feature) 1938

    DISC 9:
    BLOCK-HEADS (Feature) 1938
    A CHUMP AT OXFORD (42 min.) 1940
    A CHUMP AT OXFORD (Feature, 63 min.) 1940
    SAPS AT SEA (Feature) 1940

    DISC 10:
    SPECIAL FEATURES
    A Tribute to Laurel & Hardy
    On Location with the Boys: tour of set locations and interactive map
    Laurel & Hardy Guest Appearances
    Laurel & Hardy Trailers

    I think your question was already addressed.

    Rob_Ray

    From Thad Komorowksi's Post:

    I'm fully prepared for the onslaught of "Why isn't it complete and in order?" questions. For the same reason the Warner Archive Tex Avery discs aren't, I suspect. There is a lot of work involved restoring and releasing classic films (even the most in-demand titles like these), and a lot of obstacles to overcome, so we have to do the best with what we got, when we can. But, I can guarantee that good sales on this will ensure further volumes. Pre-order details coming soon.

  13. warnerbro

    For sale now on amazon for 80 bucks. Use the above link so they can get credit here. MEN O'WAR is my favorite and I'm glad it's on there! Thanks for all the info!

    Thanks, guys, for using the link. Much appreciated.

    I just put my order in. Anything Laurel and Hardy is a must-buy for me.

  14. Thanks,
    seriously we are living in amazing times,Laurel & Hardy, Mary Pickford, 3D Rarities vol II, Abbott & Costello and Africa Screams, Tex Avery and fingers crossed more Popeye possibly in 3D even, and hopefully the next Mack Sennett collection?

    when people complain about the quality of releases, they must not look very hard, because surprising quality releases are happening, restorations are making it to physical releases. I just hope the numbers do well enough to continue this trend, especially if it lead to another group of Roach shorts The Our Gang comedies, treated with the same care and love theses have seen.

    Everyone of the titles in this Laurel and Hardy collection, looks amazing from the comparisons on YouTube,

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. Skretvedt

    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.

    Wonderful story, Randy, thanks for sharing. *wipes away tear*

  18. Skretvedt

    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)

    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.

  19. Drew Salzan

    I'm happy to see that the original MGM title cards have been maintained.

    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.

  20. 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.

  21. Traveling Matt

    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!!

    CHEERS! 🙂

  22. Tony Bensley

    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!!

    CHEERS! 🙂

    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.

  23. Arthur Powell

    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:
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rel…rel–hardy-one-fine-collection-300812051.html

    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 Richard W Bann and Sprocket vault were able to work things out (Albeit, minus the other silents besides TBOTC!), at any rate!

    CHEERS! 🙂

  24. LouA

    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 .

    :emoji_fingers_crossed: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.

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