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Offline BeAStooge

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Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
« on: July 18, 2011, 07:44:06 AM »
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  • I hope they've done it up right, because this is the one we've been waiting for.



    RHI / Vivendi press release...
    Quote
    TIMELESS SOUND-ERA FILMS FROM THE LEGENDARY HAL ROACH LIBRARY DEBUT IN ONE EXTRAORDINARY DVD SET
    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE U.S.

    LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION


    Digitally Remastered And Digitally Restored, Loaded With Over Two Hours Of Special Features, The Spectacular 10-Disc Set Arrives October 25 From RHI Entertainment And Vivendi Entertainment
     
    UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Celebrating the genius of the most beloved comedy team of all time, LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION debuts in a stunning 10-disc set on October 25, 2011 from RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment. With a comedic style that defined an era and created a legacy that is still celebrated today, 58 of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s talking shorts and feature films, produced under legendary movie mogul Hal Roach from 1929 through 1940, are now available for the first time in the U.S. all together in one magnificent collection.

    Transferred in high definition for the first time and digitally enhanced for home viewing in the finest quality available to date, the set contains favorites that have been enjoyed for generations including Helpmates, Hog Wild, Another Fine Mess, Sons of the Desert, Way Out West, and the Academy Award® winning* film The Music Box.

    LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION comes housed in collectible, book-style packaging with an extensive, detailed film guide. The set also boasts over two hours of special features including exclusive, never-before-seen interviews with comedy legends Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Lewis, Tim Conway and more, who discuss the enduring impact and influence of Laurel and Hardy.

    Additional features include commentaries by Laurel and Hardy aficionados, along with a virtual location map that allows viewers to take an interactive tour of the iconic places in and around Los Angeles where Laurel and Hardy filmed. Available for the suggested retail price of $99.98, LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION showcases some of the most cherished and hilarious films in cinema history and is a must-have for comedy fans and collectors everywhere.
     

    BASICS
    Price:                                    $99.98
    Street Date:                         October 25, 2011
    Order Date:                        September 20, 2011
    Catalog Number: RH3021
    Language: English
    Running time:                         1941 minutes
    Rating: NR

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 08:22:13 AM »
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  • I'll only buy this if they colorize them all and throw in a few John Wayne extras.

    No, but all kidding aside, this is GREAT news!

    xraffle

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 10:11:01 AM »
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  • Even though I don't watch Laurel & Hardy, this looks like a magnificent blind buy!! But wow, that's a hefty price tag. If I can find a good deal on this, I may jump on it.

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 11:01:55 AM »
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  • It's a must get for me. It's years overdue.

    $99 isn't cheap, but it is 10 discs. It feels cheaper when you consider its 10 bucks a disc at that price, but look for Amazon to have it noticeably cheaper.

    I hope these are housed with plastic holders and not in paper sleeves (like the I LOVE LUCY Complete Series set). Putting them in paper sleeves can easily result in scratched discs.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 11:08:52 AM »
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  • Yeah, the price is not an issue for me, and bear in mind that I'm on a budget, my days of big blind buys are long over.

    But $100 for this quantity and quality of films and the fact I've been waiting years for this, an absolute no brainer, provided they don't make any huge error that comes to light beforehand.

    Offline Liz

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 11:41:17 AM »
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  • Wow!  I'd love to get my hands on this!
    IT'S ALIVE!!!!

    xraffle

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 11:54:47 AM »
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  • The main reason price is such an issue for me is because this is blind buy for me. With the exception of "Sons of the Desert" (which was a great film, BTW), I have not seen any of these films. So, I'm forking over $100 for something that I may either like or possibly hate.

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 12:05:41 PM »
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  • The main reason price is such an issue for me is because this is blind buy for me. With the exception of "Sons of the Desert" (which was a great film, BTW), I have not seen any of these films. So, I'm forking over $100 for something that I may either like or possibly hate.

    Try THE MUSIC BOX on for size, just about universally seen as one of their best. One of the few films of there's you can find online.

    http://www.veoh.com/watch/v19938981hEDH2GPG

    xraffle

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 12:15:58 PM »
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  • Try THE MUSIC BOX on for size, just about universally seen as one of their best. One of the few films of there's you can find online.

    http://www.veoh.com/watch/v19938981hEDH2GPG

    Cool! Thanks! I may see if I can watch a handful of these first. If I like them, then I'm definitely grabbing a copy of this set.

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #9 on: July 18, 2011, 04:00:42 PM »
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  • No price on Amazon yet, but classicflix.com has a pre-order for 74.99.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #10 on: July 18, 2011, 04:44:02 PM »
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  • The main reason price is such an issue for me is because this is blind buy for me. With the exception of "Sons of the Desert" (which was a great film, BTW), I have not seen any of these films. So, I'm forking over $100 for something that I may either like or possibly hate.

    Oh yeah, in your case I'd definitely dip my toes slowly in the water since you've seen so little.  For me, I've seen every feature and all but two of the shorts and I know I'm a fan.  Can't wait to see those other two shorts (Come Clean and Any Old Port, I believe), and see the other films hopefully looking pristine.  The extra features sound promising, I'm wondering if it will be as good as the Harold Lloyd set, which is the gold standard of comedy boxes.

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #11 on: July 18, 2011, 04:49:11 PM »
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  • The Lloyd set could have been better. Using double-sided discs is a bad/cheap practice, but to use them in an expensive box set makes it all the worse. Inexcusable, really.

    The best comedy box set I've seen, at least the way it was packaged and produced, was the A&C Universal one.

    Offline falsealarms

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    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 10:15:57 PM »
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  • Amazon: 69.99 pre-order
    http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Hardy-The-Essential-Collection/dp/B005BYBZKY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1311022792&sr=8-3

    Just realized this comes out the same day as the Tom & Jerry box set. Going to be an expensive day for some here.

    Offline QuinceHead

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 01:52:44 PM »
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  • I used to watch these with my father when I was growing up -- one of the local UHF stations in the Boston area used to show these about once a week, wish I could remember which one it was!   :-\

    I caught some of their shorts when TMC had the L&H marathon not long ago -- I remember being very fond of Hardy's "slow burn"...

    For duty and humanity,
    JohnH aka QuinceHead

    Offline BeAStooge

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #15 on: July 20, 2011, 10:19:12 AM »
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  • Follow-up information/details from Richard W. Bann, consultant and producer of this DVD collection, and L&H/Roach historian...

    Quote
    LAUREL & HARDY VIVENDI PRESS RELEASE ADDENDA

    Having been besieged with inquiries, e-mails, and phone calls yesterday and today, there is only time for a fast summary response in hopes of clarifying some few details beyond what was conveyed in the much more official Vivendi press release.

    First, no colorization. Second, no silents. Third, we do have all the sound shorts and features still part of the HRS library, including all extant foreign versions, except for the Spanish PARDON US.

    Fourth, or number four, or quatro, as the case may be, if you are serious about understanding what's happening here, please read the four part essay on film preservation at http://www.laurel-and-hardy.com.

    Once you comprehend everything there, I can add (or repeat) that we spent millions of dollars (bought with Euros) painstakingly restoring and preserving the Hal Roach library between 1985 and 2002. The work was done for the copyright proprietor in the Eastern Hemisphere, CCA, which licensed the Universal boxed set in England. We did this work in Los Angeles at Film Tech, relying primarily on the nitrate that came out of the HRS Culver City vaults and its labs and its storage depots on the East Coast in the 1960s that were subsequently housed for years at the LOC before we pulled everything out of there and brought it all back to Los Angeles to do this project, before I finally steered these same elements to UCLA where they reside today. And as Hal Roach would ask if he were explaining this, "Is that clear?"

    As we labored long at Film Tech, we sent both a 35mm fine grain and 35mm dupe neg overseas to Munich, and offered a twin of the fine grain to RHI in Los Angeles, at cost. They elected to take fine grains on all the sound Our Gangs and Laurel & Hardys, which were supposed to last from here to eternity (1953). Almost immediately, however, RHI (including when it was controlled by Hallmark, now happily out of the picture) proceeded to misplace or lose a bunch of them. Hence the several unpleasant circumstances surrounding the Our Gang DVD release by the ironically named Genius Products, LLC. Leonard Maltin and I tried to tell them… they wouldn't listen. So now they're out of business.

    RHI's new licensee, however, is Vivendi. We made sure that this time RHI physically turned over to Vivendi's standards conversion house the 35mm fine grains I gave them originally, and for the ones they lost or misplaced we got access to the corresponding duplicate 35mm film elements in Munich.

    That leads to the answer many want to get at: yes, these are newly performed conversions of 35mm fine grains. We did not rework old tape masters. We went back to Kodak Fine Grain Film. F-I-L-M. So we did not start with video; we started with film, the kind with sprockets. Plus, the new masters derived therefrom have indeed been digitally enhanced, so that these subjects can be presented in superb Hi-Def for the first time anywhere by anyone.

    Are they perfect? No. Are you perfect? Probably not. Joe E. Brown said it for everyone, "Nobody's perfect." Is any little frame missing? Is anything missing? What are you missing? Do you look as good as you did 80 years ago? Do you notice any new lines and abrasions? Are you as sharp as you were 40 years ago? How about 10 years ago? How much is a digital enhancement going to improve any of us?

    So, again, brand new film transfers in High Definition using the same 35mm fine grains we created between 1985 and 2002 from the best surviving nitrate preprint material we could locate anywhere in the world. Plus digital cleanup, digitally enhanced. In addition, we have also just restored – again, for the first time ever, anywhere – all of the original, authentic distributor opening title card sequences with their unique and imaginative design, so coveted by fans for so long. Including by me, as my old boss Kent D. Eastin of Blackhawk Films could testify if he were still here.

    The Vivendi DVDs are not connected to the new, long term project now just beginning at UCLA, which will first have to raise the money for this task, then do the work. WAY OUT WEST and HELPMATES were done within the last few years, and I believe SCRAM! is next in line. So the worthwhile but lengthy and arduous UCLA effort is only beginning. In any case, remember the copyright rests with CCA and RHI in their respective halves of the world, not with UCLA.

    I hope all that will answer some of the key concerns.

    Finally, some comments on UCLA’s project, and the essay they asked me to write, the full version of which, as mentioned, appears on our website in Munich.

    All of us want to believe we are doing something useful with our lives, something that matters, something that leaves lasting marks. Something that speaks to future generations, to show we were here, and made a difference. Time travel is an important component of my attraction to classic films. Did all that talent in these great Hal Roach comedies realize they were communicating with millions of people not yet born at that time? Those of us who receive that communication today and in the future... how can we respond? What should we do?

    We want to let these artists and technicians know they didn't do all that work for nothing. That we enjoy and honor the entertainment value offered, and that we treasure the living history they have unwittingly given us. And one meaningful thing we can do and one way we can respond is to support film preservation efforts. It is important to do so. Yes my essay will make some fans cringe. The story is painful; in fact it is worse than you know. I softened and concealed some of the worst incidents. And yes it is easy for us to look back and criticize the careless custodians of these treasures. The studios, the distributors, the exhibitors, and all those people weren't perfect. We are not perfect, either. In fact we have some responsibility here too, because we have an opportunity now to be part of the film preservation effort at UCLA. To make another run at saving these films, from a different point of view. The more preservation the better. Corporate preservation in Munich. Institutional preservation in Los Angeles. This second opportunity is something all of us can get involved in, at any level of participation.

    If these films mean something to you, please do get involved. Or, as recruiting Sergeant Tom Kennedy said so eloquently in PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES, "How about it?"

    Meanwhile, if laughter is what you are after, sit back; relax in depth, anticipating that very soon you will be able to enjoy the best of all shows – the immortal Hal Roach comedies of Laurel & Hardy. This cherished collection brings them all back, into exceedingly sharp focus. They look better than ever.


    -- Richard W. Bann

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #16 on: July 20, 2011, 01:37:52 PM »
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  • That's all fine and dandy, but ultimately, it won't matter how well the material looks if shoddy packaging results in people getting scratched discs. That's bound to happen with cardboard sleeves if that's what they're doing.

    Offline 7stooges

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #17 on: July 20, 2011, 02:35:13 PM »
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  • Finally, the long wait for this set has paid off. From what people like Richard Bann and Scott McGillavary indicated, this set will not be dissapointing (and it's also nice to know that Richard Bann and Leonard Maltin were not behind the dissapoinments of the Little Rascals set that came out a few years ago). Among the rare gems that will be included is the 42-minute version of "A Chump at Oxford" (along with the standard 63-minute version). This rarely seen version was actually quite different from the commonly seen version, as it not is not only missing the early mansion scenes (these were added in later), but also includes several alternate takes and bits of added dialogue.

    Offline locoboymakesgood

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #18 on: July 22, 2011, 07:38:53 PM »
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  • It's sad and pathetic that it's taken THIS long to get this collection in the states since the UK has had it for 8 or so years.. but it's great news. I don't know if I'll be picking it up though since the UK set seems much more complete to me and can be had for less than the price of this set even imported. That and the packaging overseas is superior. Normally I wouldn't c are but the "sleeve" format that Vivendi is using for this set is absolutely atrocious. The discs are going to scratch to hell and will have to be stored in something else which defeats the purpose of this space-saving measure.

    They're kind of alienating the people that want to buy this since it's only going to appeal to a niche demographic anyway and they're not putting out the bells and whistles.

    I guess I was kind of confused by the article, are these different prints than what's in the UK set?
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    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #19 on: July 22, 2011, 08:23:07 PM »
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  • The transfers are supposed to be improved and there's some new extras, but like I say, who cares if the discs are compromised?

    You're 100% right about the packaging concerns, which I usually don't care about either. People who don't care about that now sure will if they drop $70+ and get damaged/compromised goods come November. It's not guaranteed to happen, but the potential sure is there.

    What should have been a no brainer purchase for me is giving me second thoughts.


    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #21 on: July 22, 2011, 09:29:25 PM »
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  • I have a few CD and DVD sets with slip packaging like that (the Cheap Trick BUDOKAN CD/DVD set comes to mind), and I've never had an issue with scratching.  I'm just extra careful with how I handle the CD's and there's no way in hell I'm missing out on this set over the way the CD's are packaged.  Would I prefer another method?  Yes, but I'm sure they have their reasons and the good far outweighs the bad here.  This release is something to celebrate, as it's been a long time coming.

    Offline ILMM

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #22 on: July 23, 2011, 01:13:39 AM »
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  • If anyone has a scratched disc they might want to try out a company called Skippy Discs.
    They say they can fix most discs, as long as the scratches aren't too deep.
    I've been meaning to try them out, and will tell you about it if I do.
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    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #23 on: July 23, 2011, 01:34:10 AM »
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  • I guess I'll just have to wait until October to see how people fare with this set. Worst case, I save $70 bucks.

    Offline 7stooges

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    Re: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
    « Reply #24 on: July 23, 2011, 02:59:15 PM »
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  • Check out what some of the people behind this set had to say about it at:

    http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/592813-laurel-hardy-essential-collection-10-25-11-a.html

    and

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/forum/thread/313141/vivendi-and-rhi-press-release-laurel-hardy-the-essential-collection

    Though the prints being used aren't associated with the recent UCLA Laurel and Hardy project, I'm sure they'll still look considerably better than the copies on the UK set, and much better than the old AMC copies. There is a possibility that the original versions of both "Perfect Day" and "Hog Wild" will be included. I know that both the original and re-issue version of "Brats" will be on the set, as well as the complete "Pack Up Your Troubles" and the extended versions of "Pardon Us" and "Laughing Gravy" (I think the commonly seen 2-reel version will also be included). Plus, there's audio commentaries (I know Randy Skredvedt and Richard Bann did one together for "Way Out West") and a brand new documentary.

     


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