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FROM ENGLAND TO CANADA! (and well worth it!)
on 25 February 2009
Yep! This second set completes the Marx brothers catologue.
I live in Canada, and whilst looking up the Laurel & Hardy 21-disc boxset, (which I eventually got, and glad I did!), I happened to have found this set. (Had to get a Cambridge Audio DVD99 dvd player to play both regions over here, though, but a great machine nonetheless!).
I got this boxset on sale, and when the bill came in (plus what Canada Post dinged me for), it came to just over $50-something dollars which is still anywhere from $10 to $20 less than the earlier 6-disc Silver Screen collection we have on this side of the Atlantic! I've noticed you have that one as well, but obviously I'm going to go for this 8-disc set.
I was initially attracted by the black cover, which has some attractive computer/lithograph photo/painting type colour pictures inside the fold out sleeves. One, in fact, looks so good, (I think from "Horsefeathers" with a funny shot of Harpo being held up from collapsing in the background), that I really wouldn't mind trying to get it enlarged and printed on a black t-shirt!
As far as the movies go, they pretty much all look, and sound great! I once read a review about "The Cocoanuts" from someone who had purchased the "Silver Screen" edition, complaining that the picture quality was poor. Well, either Universal cleaned it up for this edition, or the fellow didn't watch it long enough to notice that after the first few minutes, the picture gets better and better. Hell, what do you want for 1929?! And, if you have trouble understanding Groucho's quick banter on this one, just throw on the subtitles. The quality of all the other movies is just fine, and although (as far as content goes), "Love Happy" doesn't stand up to the other gems in this set, it's still an interesting movie, and introduces us to Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) and bits of Marylin Monroe (although maybe not the "bits" you'd like to see!). Sorry, must have been the Groucho influence there! Anyway, "A Girl In Every Port" is actually not bad, and Groucho is in fine form, but it's either the direction, or the fact that the other brothers aren't in this (only non-Marx Brothers picture), that doesn't quite make it work.
But it's really the superb "Duck Soup", "Monkey Business", "Horsefeathers", etc., that this is really all about, and "Love Happy" simply rounds out the collection.
But to make it totally complete, you should really get (if you don't already have), the other great boxset which is from Warner Brothers, with "A Day at The Races", "A Night at the Opera", etc., complete with cartoons, newsreels, and other features they probably showed in the theaters before each movie!