Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

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Max von Mayerling
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:02 pm
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Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#26 Post by Max von Mayerling » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:49 pm

And I completely defer to matrixschmatrix on the question of judging the quality of the commentaries. One is better off trusting his take over mine.

masterofoneinchpunch
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:24 pm

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#27 Post by masterofoneinchpunch » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:24 pm

RE: La vida nocturna (1930: James Parrott) on the second disc.

For some reason I had a lot of trouble playing this on my DVD. It ran into pixalization and then stopping late in the movie. In order to finish it I had to chapter skip and rewind back a little bit (but not to the part where it freezes). It was consistent in its freezing and the disc is new with no scratches. So far everything else plays fine. Anyone else have this issue?

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knives
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Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#28 Post by knives » Fri May 18, 2012 3:50 am

So any word on the silent sequel to this?

Jonathan S
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Location: Somerset, England

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#29 Post by Jonathan S » Fri May 18, 2012 6:15 am

I don't think there can be a sequel, at least not from the same source, as the silents are owned by a different company to the talkies (in the US). Last I heard, the announced "definitive" US collection of the L&H silents had completely fizzled and customers who'd paid up-front were filing mail fraud charges to recover their money. Also, it has been revealed that the producer who was put in charge of the surviving camera negatives let them rot in his California garage....

From Nitrateville:
Bor Enots (Rob Stone) wrote:I can tell you where a number of the original camera negatives for the silent went.... into barrels of water to be incinerated. I know because I did it. Nothing is more sickening for a film fan (much less a big L&H lover) then to have to do that, but HABEAS CORPUS was a solid brick... completely beyond ANY chance for restoration. Why? because Michael Agee kept it, and many of the silent nitrate negatives he has in his trust, in his garage. His un-air conditioned, gets hotter than 100 degrees Yorba Linda, California garage!!!! He finally after it was too late for much of the material give it over to UCLA and we had to get rid of a good amount of it. If there had been a single frame we would have saved it... but in many cases the reel was a total loss.

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hamsterburger
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Laurel & Hardy on Blu-ray in Norway

#30 Post by hamsterburger » Fri May 18, 2012 10:27 am

I just noticed that the six 20th Century Fox films have been released on Blu-ray/DVD combos in Norway by a company called Foreign Media Group.

They appear to be pan Nordic editions, and judging by the cover art on-line the packaging is in English. The titles released are

A Haunting We Will Go (1942)
Jitterbug (1943)
The Dancing Masters 1943)
The Big Noise (1944)
Great Guns (1941)
The Bullfighters (1945)

Perhaps this bodes well for future releases of the Hal Roach films too?

http://www.platekompaniet.no/Search.asp ... ay&x=0&y=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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gcgiles1dollarbin
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:38 am

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#31 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Fri May 18, 2012 1:57 pm

Jonathan S wrote:I don't think there can be a sequel, at least not from the same source, as the silents are owned by a different company to the talkies (in the US). Last I heard, the announced "definitive" US collection of the L&H silents had completely fizzled and customers who'd paid up-front were filing mail fraud charges to recover their money. Also, it has been revealed that the producer who was put in charge of the surviving camera negatives let them rot in his California garage....

From Nitrateville:
Bor Enots (Rob Stone) wrote:I can tell you where a number of the original camera negatives for the silent went.... into barrels of water to be incinerated. I know because I did it. Nothing is more sickening for a film fan (much less a big L&H lover) then to have to do that, but HABEAS CORPUS was a solid brick... completely beyond ANY chance for restoration. Why? because Michael Agee kept it, and many of the silent nitrate negatives he has in his trust, in his garage. His un-air conditioned, gets hotter than 100 degrees Yorba Linda, California garage!!!! He finally after it was too late for much of the material give it over to UCLA and we had to get rid of a good amount of it. If there had been a single frame we would have saved it... but in many cases the reel was a total loss.
This is terribly sad. From what I can glean in conversations on forums, in spite of everyone's justifiable anger toward Agee, he seems like a well-meaning guy who wants to be perceived as a champion of film preservation, but can't bear to let anyone (with money, means, knowledge, etc.) to shepherd the project, especially if it means he has to relinquish physical control of the negatives. He's been involved with this for so long, he has confused himself with Hal Roach Studios, even though, judging by the results of his stewardship, he has knowledge and proprietary interests that can never be met with means. The narrative he provides to disappointed customers is so pathologically self-involved, digressive, and overweeningly heroic--with themes of self-sacrifice and isolation amidst hostile resistance--that I can't help but feel a little sorry for him, even if he did end up destroying camera negatives through negligence. What a strange cat.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#32 Post by knives » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:18 am

Which version of A Chump at Oxford is the better one to watch first?

Jonathan S
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Location: Somerset, England

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#33 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:19 am

^ If you're watching it mainly for entertainment (and particularly if you might never get around to both) I'd say go for the extended version - the only one I ever saw for 45 years! But if you're watching them more or less back-to-back, and have a scholarly interest in comparing them, it might be easier - and ultimately more satisfying - to start with the short version.

It always used to be claimed that the only difference was the addition of the dinner party sequence, but in fact there are minor editing changes throughout, including the opening street-sweeping scene.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#34 Post by knives » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:10 pm

Thanks, I'm just trying to burn through my kevyip before a massive workload hits so I'll just watch the long version.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#35 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:09 am

I'm watching through this whole thing, and really enjoying it, but it's driving me crazy that there doesn't seem to be a good way to get the silent shorts- should I just buy the massive R2 brick? I feel like it would make the Essential set redundant, but it seems preferable to spending what would apparently be about $2500 on the Image discs for the missing parts.

Jonathan S
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Location: Somerset, England

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#36 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:07 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I'm watching through this whole thing, and really enjoying it, but it's driving me crazy that there doesn't seem to be a good way to get the silent shorts- should I just buy the massive R2 brick? I feel like it would make the Essential set redundant, but it seems preferable to spending what would apparently be about $2500 on the Image discs for the missing parts.
I own both and bought the Essential set long after the UK one, mainly because the foreign-language versions are subtitled on the R1, but not on the R2 (unless they've added them since the set's initial release). There are also a few exclusive items on the Essential set and, generally speaking, the prints are slightly cleaner or otherwise superior to the R2 talkie transfers. And of course there's no PAL speed-up.

Note the print quality of the silents varies greatly on the UK set. I haven't seen enough of the R1 Image releases to compare visually but I do believe the scores on the R2 are generally much better, in some cases specially tailored to the films. From what I've seen/heard of the R1 silents, they use the same vintage needle-drop tracks, crudely stitched together, which quickly become annoyingly repetitive.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#37 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:13 pm

Ok, thanks very much- I'll just wait for a good price on that giant R2 set, and then I can stop driving myself crazy about this.


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Caligula
Carthago delenda est
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Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#39 Post by Caligula » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:20 am

From the reviews on Amazon.co.uk it appears that these are unrestored upscales and best avoided

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hearthesilence
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Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#40 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:29 am

Anyone get the Definitive Restorations Blu-ray box set? I've only seen caps on blu-ray.com, but it looks very disappointing. The review claims that the restorations without UCLA's title cards (i.e. probably older restorations) tend to look more filtered and scrubbed, but pretty much ALL of the caps have that waxy, smeared look to them, especially the ones that DO look like newer restorations from better elements (much better contrast, no scratches or lines, etc.)

A shame because I saw a bunch of these projected at MoMA's restoration festival (To Save and Project) around 2014 and/or 2015 - they looked GREAT and I was expecting the BD's not to botch it.

Stefan Andersson
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#41 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:29 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:29 am
Anyone get the Definitive Restorations Blu-ray box set? I've only seen caps on blu-ray.com, but it looks very disappointing. The review claims that the restorations without UCLA's title cards (i.e. probably older restorations) tend to look more filtered and scrubbed, but pretty much ALL of the caps have that waxy, smeared look to them, especially the ones that DO look like newer restorations from better elements (much better contrast, no scratches or lines, etc.)

A shame because I saw a bunch of these projected at MoMA's restoration festival (To Save and Project) around 2014 and/or 2015 - they looked GREAT and I was expecting the BD's not to botch it.
I have not seen the Definitive Restorations Bluray box set --- but here is a thread on the subject, with valuable information about audio, video, restoration technicalities and extras in various posts:
https://www.hometheaterforum.com/commun ... st-4884265

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#42 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:55 pm

Stefan Andersson wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:29 pm
I have not seen the Definitive Restorations Bluray box set --- but here is a thread on the subject, with valuable information about audio, video, restoration technicalities and extras in various posts:
https://www.hometheaterforum.com/commun ... st-4884265
Thanks! I also found RAH's review on that board and unfortunately he seems to confirm the problems with the set:
Robert A. Harris wrote:I'm not quite certain how to review this set, as it's an extremely important document. It bills itself as "Definitive," "2k/4k From Original 35mm Nitrate Sources," and capping those claims with "The best quality since their original release."

Thems big claims!

There are some terrific people and entities behind the set, but it's let down by some of the best hyperbole this side of P.T. Barnum, which I'd surmise came from the marketing side of the project, not being in sync with the restoration and production side.

In short, the claims don't match the finished product.

Here's a sample of what I'm seeing, and keep in mind, everything is publicized to be from 2 and 4k scans of original nitrate:

Some of the M-G-M logos appear tacked on

Berth Marks - Soft, dupey

Brats - Overall soft imagery, with some blown-out whites

Hog Wild - Okay with black levels a bit odd in some shots

Come Clean - Soft and grainless

One Good Turn - Soft and grainless

My and My Pal - Overly digitally soft and grainless

Help Mates - Soft, appears digitally scrubbed. No grain. Lite scratches

The Music Box - Digitally cleansed, no grain, underlying dirt and wear

And the features:

Sons of the Desert - overall dupey, obviously not from original nitrate elements

Way Out West - Nice densities, wonderful audio, overall lack of resolution and detail, soft on the verge of going waxy.
Occasional light positive and negative dirt. A wonderful film that appears to have received an overall digital
cleansing that removed high-frequency definition.

In short, these no longer look like film. They're average appearing video products lacking in overall quality.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#43 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:14 pm

I tried read the rest of Harris's thread but two very hostile posters (including one involved with the restoration, SkreTvedt) jumped in and kept hammering away at Harris, claiming he doesn't know what he's talking about.

The restoration team said they did NOT scrub the grain clean, and they that they did use the best elements possible. Numerous posts put up screen captures and videos comparing older DVDs and the current reissues. Maybe they didn't try to scrub it, but it could very well be the encoding. Who knows, but the point is, the texture is not showing the way it should. I can see "grain" there but it doesn't look the way it should. I believe the film restorations were done properly because I did see them projected, but that's not the same as mastering and encoding it well to a BD.

When the price goes down, I'll buy it, but it's still a disappointment and it's too bad some of the people involved refuse to accept any criticism of their work, even when it's valid and offered in a more even tone.

EDIT: SkreTvedt actually appears in the link Stefan posted, where he carries on accusing Harris's review of being unfair and unbalanced, then criticizes the more favorable review for calling Music Box "waxy." Same response as before - "*I* don't think it's waxy" and therefore everyone is wrong. This is soon followed by a screencap of the BD which does indeed look waxy, especially when compared to the DVD cap of the same frame. It's also revealed that Harris's thread was heavily cleaned up - considering the hostility of the posts still there, it's stunning to think there was a whole lot worse.

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movielocke
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Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#44 Post by movielocke » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:55 pm

wow, I watched it all last summer and all shorts and features all seemed fine, but my only reference point is VHS and they were staggering improvements on that, and the films were a lot of fun (most of the time). but I'd defer to RAH's expert opinion as to restoration details.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection

#45 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:19 pm

movielocke wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:55 pm
wow, I watched it all last summer and all shorts and features all seemed fine, but my only reference point is VHS and they were staggering improvements on that, and the films were a lot of fun (most of the time). but I'd defer to RAH's expert opinion as to restoration details.
There are moments that look great. Like a large chunk of Sons of the Desert came from the original 35mm OCN and that part (at least the detail) looks fantastic...but a lot of it obviously came from a dupe well-removed from the OCN (where the film grain is far clearer than the actual image capture, which almost appears out of focus), and it's a pretty big drop in quality when it cuts to that footage. And furthermore, there's evidence that the whole film has been mastered way too bright. And that's one of the "good" transfers. Disc three with The Music Box has been universally panned over at the blu-ray forum as horrid.

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