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Great retrospective of early Laurel and Hardy movies...
on 27 November 2005
Laurel and Hardy’s Laughing 20’s is a 90 minute feature-length compilation of their silent films. Produced by Robert Youngson in 1965, it features a wealth of funny moments and excerpts from lesser known material.
When Robert compiled this retrospective he preserved the work of great comedians during a time when old nitrate film negatives were rapidly deteriorating and the major film studios remained disinterested in spending money to preserve the work of a bygone era. Youngson found the way to preserve these films was to generate cash for the film studios by making compilations and creating renewed interest in the stars of yesteryear; 'Laurel and Hardy's Laughing 20's' is just one of these compilations. And a great retrospective it is too.
What initially astounded me about this DVD - given the competitive price – is the picture quality; it doesn’t seem to be transferred from old video source material. Certainly, ‘The Finishing Touch’ appears to be much sharper print than the one included in the recent Universal Studios Laurel and Hardy box set release.
Also included in more-or-less complete form is ‘From Soup to Nuts’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Putting Pants on Philip’ and ‘Wrong Again’.
As well as the usual Laurel and Hardy cast members (Charley Chase, Anita Garvin, Edgar Kennedy), Youngson also includes a tip of the derby to Max Davidson – seeing this funny man broadside his talents next to these film greats will only make viewers want to search out more footage of this overlooked comedian.
The concluding part of ‘Laughing 20’s’ showcases best moments from ‘Two Tars’, ‘The Second Hundred Years’, ‘Habeas Corpus’, ‘You’re Darn Tootin’’, ‘We Faw Down’ and the climax of the pie fight scene in ‘Battle of the Century’.
Although these are silent films, commentary by Jay Jackson is included throughout the feature.
The artwork of Laurel and Hardy on the case is a nice departure from the usual stock photos used by some DVD producers that are often out of context with the actual production itself.
There are no extras on the DVD which in one sense is a good thing because you can focus on the main feature – however, it would have been nice to see a theatrical trailer for the movie included.
All-in-all, this is a fantastic retrospective compiled by someone who undoubtedly had genuine warmth and affection for his subject matter.
This DVD is certainly worth the money – not only will it appeal to fans of Laurel and Hardy but also to comedy film buffs and those interested in movie history.