Misadventures aplenty are in store for our hapless duo. On offer are “Sons of the Desert”(which, at 65 minutes, counts as feature-length), “The Music Box” (which won an Oscar),“Another Fine Mess,” “Busy Bodies” and “County Hospital.” In virtually every case, a simplepremise (such as delivering a player piano or visiting a friend in the hospital) is milked formaximum chaos. A terrific introduction to two comedic geniuses.
There are two versions…of the soundtrack: the original 1.0 mono, and a restored 2.0 mono. Ineither case, there is a fair bit of noise and crackling to deal with, given that the average age ofthese pictures is 70 years. Still, the cleaned-up version has far less noise than I would havethought, and the hilarious yells and sound effects come through very clearly.
The prints are generally in very good shape, with far less grain or flicker than I was preparedto accept. There is some damage, of course, involving speckling and vertical lines here and there.“Music Box” also has an odd moment of what looks like stretched tape, and seems to a be atransfer problem rather than print damage. Still, the picture is eminently watchable and veryenjoyable.
The “King of Laughter Tribute” has such comics as Mel Brooks and Dom De Louisecelebrating the genius of Laurel, Hardy, and producer Hal Roach. There are many clips, but notthat much hard information. In fact, you get more in the provided bios of the three men. The“Then and Now Location Tour” shows past and present pictures of Hal Roach Studios (or ofwhere they used to be). Still are presented in a scored montage, and there are more print featuresin the form of articles on Roach. Finally, there are addresses for “Tent Societies” (fan clubs). Themenu’s main page, intro and transitions are animated and scored.
Five classic routines on one disc. You could hardly ask for a better, more accessible entryinto the world of Laurel and Hardy.
Special Features List
- “King of Laughter Tribute” Featurette
- Then and Now Location Tour
- Articles on Hal Roach
- Scored Photo Montage
- Tent Societies