Laurel and Hardy HD restorations – Blu-rays coming?

These HD transfers had been prepared in the event of a subsequent Blu-ray release that sadly, has not happened, and I suspect may never occur! 3 Stars

From the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34607205

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

45 Comments

  1. No, most likely it is the Kirch Group prints that were part of the UK 21 disc dvd set over 10 years ago that were later remastered for the US set released in 2011.

    According to L&H expert Richard W. Bann there is no plans for a bluray release in the near future but all are in HD and available on iTunes.

    "Way Out West" did get a full restoration a few years ago and if this is now going out into theatres, it will be a sight to behold (and minus a very badly timed jumpcut during the song "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" which was in the Kirch version of the movie)

  2. I was under the impression that the UCLA restoration of the talkies would take several years to complete. And I assume it's the Roach talkies, apart from Bonnie Scotland, Fra Diavolo, Babes in Toyland

  3. As a non U.S. Resident, I'll choose this topic to voice my profound disappointment in being denied access to the Laurel & Hardy HD restorations, which can only be accessed via the U.S. version of iTunes! I have no doubt this is due to U.S. only release rights issues, that don't include Canada in the mix! It's the same issue that prevents Turner Classic Movies from airing the bulk of the Hal Roach Film Library on their Canadian feed. Based on what I've heard from a most reliable source, this would require additional sublicensing fees that evidently neither TCM, nor Sonar Entertainment deemed to be worthwhile shelling out for. Thus this situation is by their own choosing, despite what has been posted on the TCM Message Boards, regarding their unsuccessful attempts to acquire Canadian Broadcast rights for the 1937 Hal Roach Cary Grant feature comedy, TOPPER.

    I'll state further that as the shift continues away from importable physical media toward the strictly digital formats, it will likely become ever more difficult to legally obtain titles that are only available internationally, but on digital platforms that can only be accessed by a specific nation's residents. For instance, unlike the UK based Network On Air Blu-ray of the L&H Public Domain title, THE FLYING DEUCES (1939), there's no way for me to order the U.S. iTunes based HD version of WAY OUT WEST as an import! I would if I could!

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ushabye

    Do you know, are the ITunes editions just uprezed versions of the remastered DVD box from 2012?

    The iTunes versions are from the actual HD Transfers that were previously used for the 2011 RHI/Vivendi (Now Sonar Entertainment) release of the 10 DVD set of LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION, for which they were actually downrezzed. These HD transfers had been prepared in the event of a subsequent Blu-ray release that sadly, has not happened, and I suspect may never occur!

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Bob Furmanek

    Those HD masters are also available for purchase now on Amazon streaming. I've bought a few and they look great!

    Hi Bob!

    Did you happen to check out SONS OF THE DESERT? If so, does the imaging look less muddy on the HD Masters, or is it essentially the same (Other than the higher resolution, of course!) as on the LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION DVD set?

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tony

  6. The restorations are being made for the Laurel&Hardy talkies. But on ebay there were three nitrate original prints for silent films of the boys, and onne from Stan Laurel film. Frozen Hearts, Why Girls Love Sailors, You' re Darn Tootie, Big Bussines, Frozen Hearts.

    If I'm right, a restorer from Europe managed to buy the prints and will check if it's better or have missing scenes, or if it's a alternate take version or alternate camera version.

  7. JoeDoakes

    It really hurts when the author compares L&H to Dumb and Dumber.

    He is no doubt referring to his mentality and that is being nice.
    Laurel and Hardy are the greatest comedians of all time. I have almost all of their films on dvd. True masters of comedy.

  8. Just noticed today that a batch of Laurel & Hardy silent shorts are available now for free viewing for Amazon Prime members. They're listed as being from a company named CineAmerica. Looked at one on my phone and it looks pretty good. Will have to wait and see what they look like on my bigger screen when I get home.

    Available are: BIG BUSINESS, HABEAS CORPUS, FLYING ELEPHANTS, DOUBLE WHOOPEE, YOU'RE DARN TOOTIN', DO DETECTIVES THINK?, LIBERTY, THEIR PURPLE MOMENT, THE FINISGING TOUCH and LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING.

  9. battlebeast

    The Only One I really want to see is BATTLE OF THE CENTURY.

    Unfortunately, that one's tangled up in ownership/release rights HELL! :angry:

    I know that it's titled THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY, but why does the struggle to get the near complete version released on Home Video have to live up to the bloody title? :angry::angry:

  10. Tony Bensley

    Hi Bob!

    Did you happen to check out SONS OF THE DESERT? If so, does the imaging look less muddy on the HD Masters, or is it essentially the same (Other than the higher resolution, of course!) as on the LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION DVD set?

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tony

    Just a repeat of the unanswered question above that I asked almost 2 years ago.

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Fries Film Archief, who with Lobster Films, restored the 1924 Stan Laurel short DETAINED (Including the complete hanging scene, and the long lost second part of the film!), and has made it available for viewing on YouTube:

    In keeping with part of the topic theme, the above is presented in 720p, or entry level HD. :thumbs-up-smiley:

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. battlebeast

    The Only One I really want to see is BATTLE OF THE CENTURY.

    cinemiracle

    I have that short on DVD -released by UNIVERSAL studios.

    Sounds like you might mean the 21-disc set released by Universal in the UK several years back. If so, it wouldn't include the restored version with the newly-found missing sections.

  13. Just to provide further clarification, the existing home video editions of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) contain the following:
    Reel One:
    – Opening Titles
    – Fight Scene
    (Followup Insurance scene with Eugene Palette is missing.)

    Reel Two:
    – Consists of less than 4 minutes of footage from the condensed pie fight footage, lifted from Robert Youngson's THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMEDY (1957) silent comedy compilation feature.
    (More than half of Reel Two is missing.)

    In contrast, the unreleased near complete version of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) includes the following:
    Reel One:
    – Opening Titles
    – Fight Scene
    (Followup Insurance scene with Eugene Palette is missing.)

    Reel Two:
    – Now complete. Includes lead in footage of Stan and Oliver walking down a street, that precedes the tripping on the Banana Peel which leads to the now complete massive Pie Fight sequence; plus Oliver's long unseen final exchange with a cop, following the messy proceedings.

    In my opinion, the continued absence of the near complete edition of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) on home video is a crime against humanity. The rights holders seriously need to get their act together and make this comedy gem available to the masses in some form, if not on physical media, then at least in the form of digital downloads / streaming that's not limited by the exclusion of non U.S. territories, if that is even possible. Continued isolated presentations at festivals and conventions over 2 and a half years on just doesn't cut the mustard anymore!

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Paul Penna

    Sounds like you might mean the 21-disc set released by Universal in the UK several years back. If so, it wouldn't include the restored version with the newly-found missing sections.

    BATTLE OF THE CENTURY came with a 5 dvd pack released in Australia. The DVD was listed as being disc 19 so I imagine it was part of a much larger dvd set released in both the UK and Australia.

  15. Konstantinos

    Arrow had said they're looking into it I think…
    A set of these films and shorts would be wonderful!

    Arrow? Criterion? Heck, I so want to see the near complete edit of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927), that I'd even accept a Hallmark DVD release, at this stage! ๐Ÿ˜€

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I have seen the restored Battle of the Century several times now, thanks to the TCM and San Francisco Silent Film Festivals. What's interesting is that Youngson actually shortened some of the existing shots when he excerpted the pie fight scenes. In the restoration you can quite clearly see a jump in quality mid-scene when the existing shortened footage (from 35mm ) is spliced to the 16mm footage found on the collector's print, resulting in longer shots in the original cut of the film, along with the missing scenes.

    UCLA is continuing with their project to restore and protect the sound shorts and features photochemically on 35mm film.. Work has now begun to digitize and clean up the film elements. Here is a comparison between the current DVD version of Hog Wild with the new, digital clean-up from the 35mm elements :

  17. Could these new UCLA restorations be part of this collection? I suspect they’ll be probably be the 2004 transfers now on bluray (including the jumpcut in the middle of “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” in “Way Out West”) — they are great versions of these movies and look best on big displays —

    Still, after seeing that trailer for “They Will Not Grow Old” and what they did with 100 year old film, I know the L&H movies have been “loved to death” as RAH puts it, and the new “Stan and Ollie” movie in theatres in most of the world early next year, could it be time for these restorations to be let loose in theatres and/or bluray or even 4K bluray?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Very-Best-Laurel-Hardy-Collection/dp/B07JG786KX/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1539836118&sr=1-1&keywords=the+very+best+of+laurel+and+hardy+bluray

  18. Tony Bensley

    As a non U.S. Resident, I'll choose this topic to voice my profound disappointment in being denied access to the Laurel & Hardy HD restorations, which can only be accessed via the U.S. version of iTunes! I have no doubt this is due to U.S. only release rights issues, that don't include Canada in the mix! It's the same issue that prevents Turner Classic Movies from airing the bulk of the Hal Roach Film Library on their Canadian feed. Based on what I've heard from a most reliable source, this would require additional sublicensing fees that evidently neither TCM, nor Sonar Entertainment deemed to be worthwhile shelling out for. Thus this situation is by their own choosing, despite what has been posted on the TCM Message Boards, regarding their unsuccessful attempts to acquire Canadian Broadcast rights for the 1937 Hal Roach Cary Grant feature comedy, TOPPER.

    I'll state further that as the shift continues away from importable physical media toward the strictly digital formats, it will likely become ever more difficult to legally obtain titles that are only available internationally, but on digital platforms that can only be accessed by a specific nation's residents. For instance, unlike the UK based Network On Air Blu-ray of the L&H Public Domain title, THE FLYING DEUCES (1939), there's no way for me to order the U.S. iTunes based HD version of WAY OUT WEST as an import! I would if I could!

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I'm in your boat, fellow Canuck. ๐Ÿ™

  19. Of the films included in this set, Sons of the Desert and Way Out West have been restored by UCLA. Whether or not Universal UK will use or even has access to these upgraded masters I have no idea. The UCLA Sons of the Desert did run on TCM a few months back for what it's worth. For those interested, here is the current list of what UCLA has restored for its L&H project: https://www.cinema.ucla.edu/support/laurel-and-hardy

    While I'm at it – here's a message for Universal-UK should a representative actually see this thread: we North American L&H fans implore you to do what is necessary to partner with Lobster Films to release on either DVD or blu-ray the restored and reconstructed version of The Battle of the Century. Corinth Films, the firm with the American video rights to the silent L&H films, has shown a shocking amount of disinterest in releasing this film or for that matter the L&H silents. This creates an international opportunity for you. I have actually never imported a DVD/blu-ray before, but should you release the new restoration of The Battle of the Century, I will do whatever is necessary to import the disc and acquire the equipment necessary to run it. I honestly hope that I'm not alone in saying that. Even including this short as an extra on your upcoming blu-ray set would be highly welcomed and perhaps entice people to buy this set even if they're fairly content with their older DVD sets. Off of my soap box now.

  20. Well said Arthur — I’m in Australia and have had the excellent Universal-UK set released here a few years ago as well as the 20th Century Fox sets — and yes, the restored BOTC I hope does get the release it deserves.

    This may be old news already but here’s some news that might brighten your day — the movie is no masterpiece, but those extras are priceless and if you have a Region B playable bluray player, you have got it made:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Atoll-DVD-Blu-ray-Stan-Laurel/dp/B07JJPCT13/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541125424&sr=8-1&keywords=atoll+k

  21. Promising. I certainly can't complain about the MSRP. Of course blu-ray would have been better, but a well-produced DVD can still provide a high quality product. There are a few curious aspects to this release though. For instance, why are a handful of sound era shorts included? The rights to the silents are held separately from the sound films (for the most part). Also, are we actually getting the full reconstruction of The Battle of the Century? I see a general reference to the use of some of the shorts being being from "newly restored from the original elements" but nothing more specific. Also, what are they doing with the musical scores? Anyway, I just pre-ordered the collection from Amazon so I do look forward to seeing what is exactly being presented.

  22. https://www.mediaplaynews.com/class…ZSpUloNGXoRg_6Ox3ozM4yLThU3___4Es-VpAEzx02csY

    I found another article about this upcoming collection, and this is reported line-up for the two discs:
    "On disc one are The Lucky Dog (1921), 45 Minutes From Hollywood (1926), Duck Soup (1927), Duck Soup (1927/French-Dutch title cards), Battle of the Century (1927), Call of the Cuckoo (1927), Slipping Wives (1927), Do Detectives Think (1927), Their Purple Moment (1928), We Faw Down (1928), Habeas Corpus (1928), Flying Elephants (1928), Youโ€™re Darn Tootinโ€™ (1928/Long), Stolen Jools (1931/Bonus) and Mixed Nuts (1934/Bonus).

    On disc two are Youโ€™re Darn Tootinโ€™ (1928/Short), The Finishing Touch (1928), Leave โ€™em Laughing (1928), Thatโ€™s My Wife (1929), Liberty (1929), Double Whoopee (1929), Double Whoopee (1929/Talking Version), Angora Love (1929), Big Business (1929), Blotto (1930), Be Big! (1931), Twice Two (1933), The Live Ghost (1934), Tit for Tat (1935) and On the Wrong Trek (1936/Bonus)."

    So, sadly this does not look like it is going to be a complete set. The following Laurel and Hardy silents were not referenced at all in the article: Bacon Grabbers, Wrong Again, Two Tars, Early to Bed, Should Married Men Go Home?, From Soup to Nuts, Putting Pants on Phillip, Sailors Beware, The Second Hundred Years, Sugar Daddies, With Love and Hisses, Why Girls Love Sailors, Love 'em and Weep.
    Perhaps this is going to be the first of a two volume set. If that is the case, that should have been mentioned. Honestly, given the strong desire for a high quality reissue of the L&H silents, the way that this set is being handled is seemingly lackadaisical. We're given no proper announcement or press release, information on musical scoring is non-existent, the completeness of The Battle of the Century is still up in the air, no information is given on the promised extras (the mere mention of the participation of Leonard Maltin, Richard W. Bann, and Randy Skretvedt would assuage my concerns), and we have (currently) the unexplained absence of a large number of L&H silents. This is a bit frustrating, but my questions will hopefully be answered in the next week or two. In spite of all of this, I am still cautiously optimistic.

  23. Arthur Powell

    https://www.mediaplaynews.com/class…ZSpUloNGXoRg_6Ox3ozM4yLThU3___4Es-VpAEzx02csY

    I found another article about this upcoming collection, and this is reported line-up for the two discs:
    "On disc one are The Lucky Dog (1921), 45 Minutes From Hollywood (1926), Duck Soup (1927), Duck Soup (1927/French-Dutch title cards), Battle of the Century (1927), Call of the Cuckoo (1927), Slipping Wives (1927), Do Detectives Think (1927), Their Purple Moment (1928), We Faw Down (1928), Habeas Corpus (1928), Flying Elephants (1928), Youโ€™re Darn Tootinโ€™ (1928/Long), Stolen Jools (1931/Bonus) and Mixed Nuts (1934/Bonus).

    On disc two are Youโ€™re Darn Tootinโ€™ (1928/Short), The Finishing Touch (1928), Leave โ€™em Laughing (1928), Thatโ€™s My Wife (1929), Liberty (1929), Double Whoopee (1929), Double Whoopee (1929/Talking Version), Angora Love (1929), Big Business (1929), Blotto (1930), Be Big! (1931), Twice Two (1933), The Live Ghost (1934), Tit for Tat (1935) and On the Wrong Trek (1936/Bonus)."

    So, sadly this does not look like it is going to be a complete set. The following Laurel and Hardy silents were not referenced at all in the article: Bacon Grabbers, Wrong Again, Two Tars, Early to Bed, Should Married Men Go Home?, From Soup to Nuts, Putting Pants on Phillip, Sailors Beware, The Second Hundred Years, Sugar Daddies, With Love and Hisses, Why Girls Love Sailors, Love 'em and Weep.
    Perhaps this is going to be the first of a two volume set. If that is the case, that should have been mentioned. Honestly, given the strong desire for a high quality reissue of the L&H silents, the way that this set is being handled is seemingly lackadaisical. We're given no proper announcement or press release, information on musical scoring is non-existent, the completeness of The Battle of the Century is still up in the air, no information is given on the promised extras (the mere mention of the participation of Leonard Maltin, Richard W. Bann, and Randy Skretvedt would assuage my concerns), and we have (currently) the unexplained absence of a large number of L&H silents. This is a bit frustrating, but my questions will hopefully be answered in the next week or two. In spite of all of this, I am still cautiously optimistic.

    Regarding the question of which version of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) is in this upcoming release, I've just posed this to Richard W. Bann's Facebook page.

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Tony Bensley

    Regarding the question of which version of THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) is in this upcoming release, I've just posed this to Richard W. Bann's Facebook page.

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Richard W. Bann replied that he thinks this release has been cancelled. ๐Ÿ™

  25. Tony Bensley

    I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Richard W. Bann replied that he thinks this release has been cancelled. ๐Ÿ™

    Oh well. At least I won't be surprised when I get a cancellation notice form Amazon. To be honest, I was anticipating that we would be likely disappointed with this release. As well as being a producer of DVDs, the Film Detective also hosts a streaming service, and several of the L&H silents are free to view right now on its website. Most of shorts are taken from the 1990s masters used for The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy DVD and VHS series. At least one bore a 1993 copyright date, and several others were sporting the needle-drop scores used for the DVDs. One short curiously was mastered from a Blackhawk print. I was surmising that this set was going to be recycling these twenty to thirty year old SD masters. If I am correct, then we probably would have had the incomplete version of The Battle of the Century. Since this is all still conjecture, I was refraining from commenting until the set was released and those suspicions could either be confirmed or refuted, but that seems to now be a moot point. Actually, I wouldn't have trashed the set so much because I do believe that it would be good to see these shorts again made available, and twenty dollars is hardly highway robbery. However, I would have noted that the work of putting out a high quality HD remastering of the shorts on DVD and/or blu-ray still needs to be done.

  26. Didn't Corinth Films purchase the rights to the Hal Roach silents? Criterion put up a clip from the restored Battle of the Century some time ago on their website with their watermark. And I know Be Big! is in the public domain, but I've never seen the other talkies show up in public domain collections. No wonder it was cancelled since it sounds like it wasn't exactly authorized.

  27. Patrick McCart

    Didn't Corinth Films purchase the rights to the Hal Roach silents? Criterion put up a clip from the restored Battle of the Century some time ago on their website with their watermark. And I know Be Big! is in the public domain, but I've never seen the other talkies show up in public domain collections. No wonder it was cancelled since it sounds like it wasn't exactly authorized.

    My understanding is that only the L&H silents were involved in the Corinth films purchase. The bulk of the Hal Roach silents still under copyright are a part of the Roach library held by RHI. So silent shorts like "A Pair of Tights," "Movie Night ," and "Pass the Gravy" are still with the Roach sound films. It was a weird, baffling arrangement that allowed the silent L&H films to be detached from the larger library. Anyway, since RHI/Vivendi has been so willing to license to firms like Kit Parker and VCI, I've been hoping some firm would do some release of some of the existing MGM era silent Roach shorts. Maybe someday.

    The news article mentioned that the "prints" were being supplied by Richard Feiner and Associates, and Corinth purchased the rights to the silents from the Feiner estate. Also, Allied Vaughn is supposed to be a participating partner in this release. Since that firm distributes the Vivendi library (which includes the sound era L&H shorts), I simply figured that Film Detective was able to draw from two separate sources of L&H films. Since the names involved seemed to check, I didn't really scrutinize the rights issue much. With Corinth films seemingly not involved, perhaps this was a quasi-bootleg release. As for that Criterion clip, I've heard that that clip was only used to accompany an article about the Mostly Lost film festival.

    I will make one other lament – why did Corinth have to outbid David Shepard for the rights to the silents? Think of the wonderful Flicker Alley release we possibly could have had by now if Corinth did have to intervene.

  28. Arthur Powell

    Oh well. At least I won't be surprised when I get a cancellation notice form Amazon. To be honest, I was anticipating that we would be likely disappointed with this release. As well as being a producer of DVDs, the Film Detective also hosts a streaming service, and several of the L&H silents are free to view right now on its website. Most of shorts are taken from the 1990s masters used for The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy DVD and VHS series. At least one bore a 1993 copyright date, and several others were sporting the needle-drop scores used for the DVDs. One short curiously was mastered from a Blackhawk print. I was surmising that this set was going to be recycling these twenty to thirty year old SD masters. If I am correct, then we probably would have had the incomplete version of The Battle of the Century. Since this is all still conjecture, I was refraining from commenting until the set was released and those suspicions could either be confirmed or refuted, but that seems to now be a moot point. Actually, I wouldn't have trashed the set so much because I do believe that it would be good to see these shorts again made available, and twenty dollars is hardly highway robbery. However, I would have noted that the work of putting out a high quality HD remastering of the shorts on DVD and/or blu-ray still needs to be done.

    Arthur, could you kindly keep us posted regarding your Amazon preorder on the off off chance the release hasn't been cancelled?

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Tony Bensley

    Arthur, could you kindly keep us posted regarding your Amazon preorder on the off off chance the release hasn't been cancelled?

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will do so. As of now, Amazon is telling me that it needs "a little more time" before it can give me a delivery estimate. Another odd thing is that the release date is listed as March 31 – a Sunday. Isn't it traditional that media releases are done on Tuesdays?

  30. This is the word from a rep from the Film Detective on another forum:

    On behalf of The Film Detective I wish to apologize for announcing that we are going
    to have to cancel the release of the Laurel and Hardy project. The group that offered
    us the material to distribute did not have the proper permission to grant us home video
    rights. Once we realized that this was a problem we immediately pulled the release.
    Hopefully at some point in the future we can negotiate with the current rights holder and release most of what we planned on in this collection and perhaps even on Blu-ray too.

    Philip Hopkins,
    The Film Detective

  31. Arthur Powell

    This is the word from a rep from the Film Detective on another forum:

    On behalf of The Film Detective I wish to apologize for announcing that we are going
    to have to cancel the release of the Laurel and Hardy project. The group that offered
    us the material to distribute did not have the proper permission to grant us home video
    rights. Once we realized that this was a problem we immediately pulled the release.
    Hopefully at some point in the future we can negotiate with the current rights holder and release most of what we planned on in this collection and perhaps even on Blu-ray too.

    Philip Hopkins,
    The Film Detective

    This isn't the first time that that group has tried to offer Laurel and Hardy material they don't have home video rights to, if my memory correctly serves. Sorry that The Film Detective was subjected to this b.s. in any case!

    CHEERS! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply