Laurel & Hardy - The Collection (21-disc Box Set)

 

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." -Old English Proverb
 

Whoever said that could've easily been a Laurel & Hardy fan. Just about everything they did went wrong providing audiences with loads of hilarious slapstick comedy in the process. As this collection of videos show, their work was often uneven and, at times, repetitive. But, the true magic of Stan and Ollie wasn't in their gags. It was in their personas and their relationship to one another. Despite all the "fine messes" they got themselves into and all the disputes they had their friendship and mutual reliance remained unshaken.
One reason that Laurel & Hardy's popularity remains so high is that they are like a lot of nice guys. They don't often win - but they endure.

Gregg Ferencz

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 26, 1926 (45 Minutes From Hollywood) - May 3,1940 (Saps At Sea)

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal Pictures Video, UK (21 Disc Box Set) - Region 2,4 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Universal Pictures Video, UK

Region 2,4 - PAL

Runtime 3957' (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.16 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English, Spanish, French (mono), English (Dolby 2.0)
Subtitles English and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Pictures Video, UK

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 20 DVD's sourced from the German Beta Kinowelt Masters (also available separately)
• alternate colourized versions of many of the films
• some alternate foreign language versions with L&H phonetically reciting their lines
• Exclusive Bonus DVD containing:
• Brats - original 1930 version
• Thundering Fleas - b&w silent w/music (Our Gang w/ Oliver Hardy)
• Fluttering Hearts - b&w silent w/music (Charley Chase 2-reeler w/ Oliver Hardy)
• Prudence - b&w silent w/music (Max Davidson comedy, reportedly written by Stan Laurel)
• Laurel & Hardy - A Tribute to the Boys - 1991 TV documentary originally aired on The Disney Channel

DVD Release Date: May 3, 2004
21 Keep Cases in a Box

Chapters N/A

 

Comments This box set showcases most of the 97 shorts and features that Laurel & Hardy made together for Hal Roach Studios between 1926 and 1940. For fans of the boys this box from the UK and its German (Kinowelt Home Entertainment, Leipzig) and Dutch (Universal Pictures Video Benelux, Amsterdam) counterparts are the most comprehensive collection of Stan and Ollie's body of work to date. Among the conspicuously missing titles from the UK set are Flying Deuces, Babes In Toyland and Fra Diavlo.

The source material varies in quality from superb to poor. The shoddiest prints are mostly found in the silent shorts. Hal Roach Studios has released a 10 volume series, The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy, that are said to be mastered from the (mostly) original 35mm negatives. Sadly, that is not the case here though these DVD's are better than any I have seen previously from Hallmark and public domain releases.

Audio for the sound films is in mono while some of the silent shorts have a more recent stereo music soundtrack recorded by the Beau Hunks.

Each DVD was packaged to be sold individually so the films are put together thematically rather than chronologically. A 21st disc containing bonus materials is included in the box and is not available separately.

Included are few alternative foreign language versions of the films. These versions were remade shot for shot with Laurel & Hardy phonetically reciting their lines in the given language. Ironically, there are no English subtitles provided for these versions while there are removable subtitles for the English versions, presumably for the hard of hearing.

My biggest problem with the set is the inclusion of computer colorized versions of over half the contents. Not only are they unwatchable but they needlessly double the amount of discs in the collection.

The captures below demonstrate the variable quality of the source material. Considering the age of some of these prints it might be unreasonable to expect a package of this size to contain all pristine elements. For the hard core fan it is a set well worth owning.  out of  

Set contains:

1. A Chump At Oxford/Related Shorts
2. Classic Shorts/Someone's Ailing
3. Way Out West/Shorts
4. Classic Shorts/Ollie And Matrimony
5. Our Relations/Dual Roles Shorts
6. Classic Shorts/Murder In The Air
7. Blockheads/Themed Shorts
8. Classic Shorts/Blackmail
9. The Bohemian Girl/Related Shorts
10. Classic Shorts/Be Big/Laughing Gravy
11. Saps At Sea/Themed Shorts
12. Classic Shorts/Laurel And Hardy And The Law
13. Sons Of The Desert/Related Shorts
14. Classic Shorts/A Job To Do
15. Pack Up Your Troubles/Related Shorts
16. Classic Shorts/Maritime Adventures
17. Swiss Miss/Animal Shorts
18. Classic Shorts/Married Life
19. Pardon Us/One Prison Short
20. Classic Shorts/More Brushes With The Law
21. Bonus disc: Original version of Brats (1930), extracts from German version of Pardon Us (1931), Thundering Fleas (1926), Fluttering Hearts (1927), Prudence (1927) and the documentary Laurel & Hardy - A Tribute To The Boys (1991)

NOTE: The computer generated colorized versions look terrible. Even damaged black & white source material looks better than colorized video from a cleaner source. Almost half the material in the box set gives you the choice between the two essentially doubling the volume of the set.

 - Gregg Ferencz

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle Sample from Brats

 

 

 


 A Chump at Oxford (1940)

 

 

 


 A Chump at Oxford (1940)

 

 

 


 County Hospital (1932)

 

 

 


 County Hospital (1932)

 

 

 


 Leave 'Em Laughing (1928)

 

 

 


  The Second Hundred Years (1927)

 

 

 

Thicker Than Water (1935)

 

 

 


 Thicker Than Water - Colorized (1935)

 

 

 


 Me and My Pal (1933)

 

 

 


 Me and My Pal - colorized  (1933)

 

 

 


 Berth Marks (1929)

 

 

 


 Berth Marks - colorized (1929)

 

 

 

Come Clean (1931)

 

 

 


  Sugar Daddies (1927)

 

 

 


 Saps At Sea (1940)

 

 

 


 Saps At Sea (1940)

 

 

 


 The Music Box (1932)

 

 

 


 The Music Box (1932)

 

 

 

Double Whoopee (1929)

 

 

 


 Be Big! (1930)

 

 

 


 Pardon Us (1931)

 

 

 


 Pardon Us (1931)

 

 

 


 Bacon Grabbers (1929)

 

 

 


 Do Detectives Think? (1927)

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Universal Pictures Video, UK

Region 2,4 - PAL

 




 

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