They are, without a doubt, the greatest comedy team to have ever graced the big screen. The laughs! The slapstick shenanigans! The homoerotic moments. (No, Ollie and Stan were not gay . . . but think back: They slept in one bed. Stan was married four times; Ollie three time.)
But it’s the laughs and slapstick and laughs and slapstick that we remember after all these years. (L&H made 106 films as a team, including guest appearances.
How did Stan and Ollie get together in the first place? They had appeared together by chance in an earlier film called The Lucky Dog, but it was not until each had joined Hal Roach that their teaming began.
Stanley and Ollie were appearing in the same films at Roach when director/supervisor Leo McCarey recognized the comic contrast between them and encouraged their teamwork. They first appeared in something resembling their eventual format in a 1927 release called Duck Soup.
And oh, by the way, Hardy’s most famous catchphrase is often misquoted, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten us into.” The incorrect “another fine mess” comes from the name of one of their short films, made in 1930.
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 and collected in Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations (MVD Entertainment Group). Save the date: The set goes on sale June 16.
This is, so far, the most exciting news about a DVD release this year.
These new prints, 2K and 4K transfers from the finest original 35mm materials in the world, look and sound as spectacular as when they were first released. Just how great are these prints?
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the films haven’t looked this good since they were first released in the ’30s'”, gushes Leonard Maltin.
Check out the clips below!
Other reasons you must own this set: There are world premieres of the L&H legendary “pie fight” from their 1927 silent film The Battle of the Century; here it makes makes its video debut after being “lost” for 90 years! Want more? There’s also That’s That!, the only reel of L&H bloopers and out-takes.
The set contains the classic shorts Berth Marks, Brats, Hog Wild, Come Clean, One Good Turn, Helpmates, Scram!, Their First Mistake, County Hospital, The Chimp, Towed in a Hole, Twice Two, Me and My Pal, The Midnight Patrol, Busy Bodies, The Music Box (which won the first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Comedy in 1932); also included are their two best feature-length films, Sons of the Desert and Way Out West.
Not enough? There are eight hours of exclusive extras, including 2,500 rare photos and studio documents; audio and film interviews with L&H co-workers; original music tracks and trailers; and a full restoration of their one surviving color film, The Tree in a Test Tube.
Well, here’s another nice mess they’ve gotten us into!
We are always delighted whenever we hear what treasures Cohen Media Group will be releasing on DVD and Blu-ray. The duo of November treats makes us tell the fine folk at Cohen thanks, yet again!
First up: He has been one of the art world’s most successful and controversial figures of the past 30 years. And a new film offers an intimate look at his life and work. Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait arrives on Cohen Media Group Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital platforms, on November 7.
The flick chronicles the personal life and public career of the celebrated artist and filmmaker. Written and directed by Italy’s Pappi Corsicato, the film details the Brooklyn-born Schnabel’s formative years in Brownsville, Texas; the beginning of his professional career in New York City in the late ’70s; and his rise in the ’80s to superstar status in Manhattan’s art scene as well as international acclaim as a leading figure in the Neo-Expressionism movement.
As the film details, Schnabel came to be acknowledged for his extroverted, excessive approach to his work and life (frequently seen in silk pajamas, he lives and works in Montauk, Long Island, and in a 170-foot-tall pink Venetian-styled palazzo in Manhattan’s West Village) as he moved into filmmaking with 1996’s Basquiat. He has since directed four other films, including the award-winning Before Night Falls (2000) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007).
With a kaleidoscopic blend of material from Schnabel’s personal archives, newly shot footage of the artist at work and play, and commentary from friends, family, actors and artists including Al Pacino, gallery owner Mary Boone, Jeff Koons, Bono and Laurie Anderson (not to mention Schnabel himself) Corsicato creates a fascinating and revealing portrait of the modern art world’s most boisterous and provocative maverick.
Then there’s My Journey Through French Cinema, in whichBertrand Tavernier, one of modern cinema’s most revered directors, gives a personal guided tour of his country’s film history. The mammoth, stirring and widely acclaimed undertaking will arrive on Cohen Media Group Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital platforms, on November 21.
Tavernier became an internationally acclaimed director with his first feature, 1974’s The Clockmaker, and in the more than four decades since, he has created such classically rigorous masterpieces as The Judge and the Assassin, Coup de Torchon, A Sunday in the Country, Life and Nothing But and It All Starts Today. Now, in My Journey Through French Cinema, he looks back over his nation’s rich, complicated legacy in a deeply rewarding and highly personal documentary that is both educational and revelatory.
He discusses and shows copious clips from films he enjoyed as a boy to those of his contemporaries and his own early career. The three-hour-plus film is told through portraits of key creative figures, including such towering directors as Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Pierre Melville, as well as Jean Gabin (regarded by many as the “French Spencer Tracy”) and the composers who’ve added so much to the films.
Leonard Maltin perhaps raved the best: “This is a tapestry of French cinema like no other. Bertrand has given film lovers around the world a gift that can never be repaid.”