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on 30 May 2017
Recommended
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on 2 May 2017
A great piece of nostalga.
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on 29 March 2007
I love these Laurel & Hardy themed compilations, as of the 18 I own, each one provides a fascinating insight and overview of the career of these two Hollywood legends. They tend to contain a 'talkie', a silent film, and a foreign language film. Unlike other entries in this excellent collection, this volume contains only short films which tend to be either 20 or 30 minutes in length. From the title of this collection, these short subjects all revolve around the theme of blackmail, which is one of the common elements of many Laurel & Hardy films. Regular supporting cast members are here, with Mae Busch (a personal favourite of mine in any of Laurel & Hardy's films) making memorable appearances, and Charlie Hall and James Finlayson returning to satisfy fans.

The first of the films, Chickens Come Home, is the longest of the films on this set at 30 minutes, and is also one of the later ones too. It revolves around an old flame (Mae Busch) of a candidate for Mayor (Oliver Hardy) trying to get money out of him to keep their past secret and out of the papers. He foolishly employs the services of Stan to help keep her distracted! This is a great entry in the series and a very entertaining short film. All 3 leads are a joy to watch, and James Finlayson even crops up in a small role! Politiquerias is basically the same film, except in Spanish with Laurel & Hardy speaking their dialogue in Spanish. This technique of re-shooting films in other languages was used before the technology of dubbing and/or subtitles was settled upon. It's worth a watch though, as this alternate version contains some scenes which weren't included in the English language version, including a couple of cabaret acts from the period.

The next film, Come Clean, is perhaps my favourite of this volume. I love the interplay between Mr and Mrs Hardy and Mr and Mrs Laurel in the first half, and I love how things escalate when the boys try to do the right thing by saving a woman from drowning, but it all blows up in their faces when she demands they take care of her and they try to keep her from their wives! A ridiculous plot, but it works so well and yields some fantastic comedy as the pair are slowly but surely found out.

Love 'Em and Weep is an early silent comedy which was remade as Chickens Come Home. This followed a pattern by Laurel and Hardy of remaking many of their silent successes as talkies. The next silent film in this series, Early to Bed, is my favourite silent film in this series, featuring Ollie inheriting a fortune and giving Stan a job as his butler. Ollie takes advantage of Stan, but inevitably the tables are turned. Hardy really seems to cut loose in this film and it's a pleasure to watch him engage in some great slapstick moments with Stan. The final film in this volume, Sugar Daddies, features both Laurel and Hardy, but in an early film before they were officially teamed together. It revolves around a millionaire who wakes from a drunken evening to find he's married, and instructs his butler (Hardy) to summon his lawyer (Laurel - absolutely hilarious here!) to sort it all out with his new in-laws, who are demanding money from him. It's great to see how Laurel and Hardy worked in their early days, and to see them developing the comedy that would make them legends for decades to come.

As with the other 21 volumes in this collection, the spine makes up part of the picture of 2 bowler hats when all the volumes are placed next to each other. The artwork on the case is fantastic, featuring a lovingly restored picture from Chickens Come Home. The disc art is excellent, using an elegant combination of silver, black and white which is respectful of the look of the films themselves. The films have been wonderfully restored for these releases, and look better than many other films I've seen from this period. Inevitably, due to their age of 70-80 years, they don't look as good as films released yesterday, even after extensive restoration, but they probably look as good as they did when they were first filmed, and you can't really get better than that.

This is another excellent addition to the Laurel and Hardy collection, and Universal should be proud to have released such a wonderful series of DVDs. All in all, a very enjoyable DVD, great value for money, and a wonderfully entertaining set of films from one of cinema's finest comedy double-acts.
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on 15 September 2001
The 20 minute shorts featured in this video are some of Stan and Ollie's most early and fantastic works. Chickens Come Home is a brilliant case of classic comedy with Hardy tring to prevent his female blackmailer from spoiling his campaign and letting his wife find out! Stan has the task of sorting out the problem, but ends up in the biggest of knots. A superb case of fate and great acting by all the cast makes this a perfect short film for everyone to enjoy. The Chimp and Dirty Work are the duo's finest movies of farce ever created. After all how do you book a chimp in a hotel and how can you unblock a chimney which hasn't been cleared for 30 years. Brilliant timing leads to a great video and another classic moment for Stan and Ollie.
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on 1 July 2016
Well what can you say,laurel and hardy,classic comedy at it's very best,after all these years they still manage to raise a good laugh,and they are fun to watch over and over again,black and white and colour version of each film very welcoming,they certainly beat Un funny so called comedians that are around today.A big fat cheer to Stan and laurel!!!!!
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on 18 June 2013
I'm a big Laurel and Hardy fan but watching these, shortly after watching their last film Utopia (aka Atol K) made me long for their great mid-period work when they were at the heights of their powers and furnished with great scripts and direction. This, I feel, is for completists only,
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on 20 May 2016
Again...colour front cover and no "Hat" section on the spine. I don't mine the cheap black DVD cover but if you advertise a B&W cover...that is what you should be sending out to customers...don't you think?
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on 17 March 2015
Have to ask myself the question can they ever get better they never fail every single film they make is brilliant, utter honest to goodness comedy.
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on 23 May 2007
GUY'S,

I have to say these are some of the funniest shorts L/H ever made.

The spanish version of chickens come home is hillarious.Also the

restored silent shorts such as SUGAR DADDIES,are very funny.These volumes,

are well worth your money.

ANONYMPOUS IN THE UNITED STATES.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 December 2007
Volume 8 of this marvellous set of DVD's contains only short films. I haven't watched the whole DVD yet, but based on the 3 films I've seen it only confirms my view that L&H are the greatest comedy double act in history.

'Early to Bed' is the weakest of the three. A 1928 silent where their traditional roles are reversed. Stan is the butt of most jokes. Whether this is because their characters were not yet fully developed, or it was simply a one-off, I don't know, but it certainly doesn't work as well.

'Love 'em and weep' is a pre-teaming ealy silent (1927) which primarily features Stan Laurel, Mae Busch and James Finlayson. Oliver Hardy only has a minor role. Still its an entertaining short film and Finlayson is always worth watching - Doh (long before the Simpsons)! It will also be interesting to compare it with 'Chickens come home' (also on the DVD) which is a remake with the Oliver Hardy in the Finlayson role. I shall be watching this next.

'Come Clean' is the best of the 3 films I've watched. This is a 5 star short. There are a number of brilliant sequences: Mr & Mrs Laurel outside the Hardy's apartment, Stan and Ollie inside the apartment and then outside getting confused over the lifts to name but three. The film is laugh out-loud funny and reminds you very quickly why Laurel & Hardy remain unsurpassed in their ability to make people laugh.

Buy the whole set - you won't be disappointed!
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