Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Stan Laurel Collection 2 |
Actors: Stan Laurel, Larry Semon
Director: George Jeske
Genres: Classics, Comedy
Twenty-One Comedy Shorts From 1918-1926 on Two DVDs. — Prior to forming a fruitful partnership with funny man Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel was a slapstick headliner in his own right. This two-DVD set continues Kino Internation... more »
Not the persona of Stanley in the Laurel & Hardy comedies, b
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 05/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a big fan of silent comedies, I want to give this ***** five stars, but I realize some fans may be hoping for the Stan Laurel persona in the Laurel & Hardy Comedies. For the most part these are very different.
Much of Stan's early comedies are satires of then-popular dramatic movies. While this satire may be lost to today's audiences, Stan's performance still pulls off the comedy and make these very enjoyable.
This set is a bit of a misnomer being called Collection 2, as most of the comedies here predate the previous KINO collection. These are the earliest of Stan's surviving comedies! Some of them may be a little raw, while others are well polished.
Two of Stan's three appearances in Larry Semon Comedies are presented here: HUNS AND HYPHENS (The ealiest known complete surviving Stan Laurel comedy) and FRAUDS AND FRENZIES. In watching 'Frauds' you will see how easily Stan steals the show from the main star, this would lead to stories of Larry refusing to have Stan in his films again. While this story has been disputed, this film does show some credence to the story. It is too bad that a third Larry Semon Comedy, 'Bears And Bad Men' is not here as I would like to see a watchable 35mm presentation of this mountainside comedy.
There are signs of things to come. My favorite in this group is SMITHY, in which Stan is mistaken for a contracter and put in charge of building a house. This house building comedy forshadows his future comedy with Oliver Hardy called "The Finishing Touch". I won't spoil the gags by telling them here.
***Note*** "Kill Or Cure" is listed on the DVD case (and here) as being the last short on disc 1, it is not there. You will find it at the beginning of disc 2.
PICTURE QUALITY: Most of these shorts are sharp, mastered from 35mm with only a few defects. "Kill Or Cure" is in such pristine shape you would think it was filmed last year.
A few early shorts are in rougher shape, with multiple prints used in an attempt to complete the film. Contrasts on these will shift from early generation negatives to 4th or 5th generation, but I am glad Lobster attempted to complete the films.
The famous "Mud And Sand" is slightly soft in focus, not bad, but not as sharp as the other films.
The music score is acceptable, not overbearing.
This is a MUST HAVE for any Stan Laurel fan, and an addition to lobster's other collection The Stan Laurel Collection (Slapstick Symposium) you get a good protion of Stan's solo career in nicely restored prints.
Also check out his future partner's solo workThe Oliver Hardy Collection (Slapstick Symposium).
If you like those, you will also want some other Hal Roach comedians collections:
The Charley Chase Collection, Vol. 1 (Slapstick Symposium)
The Charley Chase Collection, Vol. 2 (Slapstick Symposium)
The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vols. 1-3
The Harold Lloyd Collection, Vol. 1 (Slapstick Symposium)
The Harold Lloyd Collection, Vol. 2 (Slapstick Symposium)"
More Stan Laurel Treasures to savour!
Robert Badgley | London,Ontario,Canada | 06/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Volume#2(two disc set) of the Kino "Slapstick Emporium" series,featuring the great Stan Laurel.Lobster films of France who produced not only Volume#1 of this series but also the highly recommended special edition "Flying Deuces",has again gone to great pains to bring out a product both they and the buying public can be proud of.There are 21 shorts here ranging from 1918 up to 1926 and most are in the best shape I have ever seen them in.The majority(as in Vol#1)delightfully come with most of their original title and inter-title cards in tact;just great to see.
The only entry of lesser distinction,technically speaking, is "Mud and Sand" the take off on the Valentino film "Blood and Sand".This print is just about the same as I have ever seen it.It seems to be a poor dupe of a multi generational print,but Lobster films has at least tried to improve the contrast and detail as much as it will allow.
We have some real gold here folks.All the shorts with Larry Semon are present as is Stans' first foray with his later-popular nemesis James Finlayson.Again,as in Volume#1,this is a comic in transition so we don't see the Stan of the team(with Hardy) which is in his future.Instead we see a comic looking for that special something that the public will latch onto.Most of the gags you see in these films are Stans in thought and execution.He has been praised by many as even a better gag man than Chaplin and in these films it is easy to see why.Some of his ideas are priceless and very,very funny to watch.Even though most were quite popular with the general public this is an entertainer that is all over the proverbial comic map.They are far more frentically paced than the later team films would be but then again that was what the public and most comedians' films of the day were like.It is also not hard to see a Chaplinesque influence in his mannerisms and camera looks.So even though Stan had some of the most brilliant gags going there just wasn't that certain something to stand him apart from the reigning comedy kings like Chaplin,Arbuckle,Semon,Langdon or Keaton.As a result from 1918 to the early 20s Stan was in and out of films like a yo-yo;back and forth from the Vaudeville stage with his then partner Mae Dahlberg,who incidentally can be seen in some of these shorts.
With the release of Volume#2 Lobster films has now released a good 60% of all the Stan Laurel solo films;that is all the ones he appeared in pre-teaming,whether directing and/or co starring in.I would like to see more volumes and the release of all the rest his pre-team works.Lobster films has done such a tremendous job here in restoring and releasing these films that it would be a shame to see the series stop at this juncture.I would also really LOVE to see Lobster films release the Laurel and Hardy silents.They could only be a tremendous improvement over the poor patchwork films released by Image Entertainment in recent years.
For all Laurel and Hardy fans and especially those of Stan Laurel himself,I recommend this Volume#2 of his earlier works very highly to you.Because it is even more varied in its' content and covers a longer period(two years in the first release as opposed to the eight here)it is overall an even more satisfying release than Volume#1.These are very well restored historical comedy treasures and deserve a wide audience and most importantly our unwavering support."
Better Than The First Set.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 06/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kino's new 2 disc set of Stan Laurel comedies in their ongoing SLAPSTICK SYMPOSIUM series is better than the earlier set which was released in 2004. Whereas that set concentrated on the mid 1920s comedies, this one features a broader overview of Stan's career starting in 1918 and chronologically going up to 1926 just before his teaming with Oliver Hardy. By doing this we get to watch Stan evolve from supporting then star comic Larry Semon (who would later use Oliver Hardy) to one of the best gag comedians in the business.
The early Semon shorts (HUNS AND HYPHENS, FRAUDS AND FRENZIES) introduce the derby hatted Stan who in F&F is very much like his later self. We then go through the Hal Roach Pathe' series and the Joe Rock produced Stan Laurel Comedies and get to witness the recycling of gags that would reach their final form with Laurel & Hardy. In particular there are a number of construction gags (THE NOON WHISTLE, SMITHY) that crop up in L&H's THE FINISHING TOUCH.
The other great asset in this set are the best of Stan's parody shorts (MUD AND SAND, UNDER TWO JAGS, RUPERT OF HEE HAW) which show a side of his comic writing that would disappear after 1926. This is not surprising for it was his teaming with Hardy that allowed him to settle into the character that we all know and love. Still with almost 6 hours of material here there's plenty of Stan to see and it makes this set a real bargain.
The overall visual quality of the shorts is quite good and the piano accompaniment by Neil Brand and Eric Le Guen is fine however more instruments would have added greater variety but then there's the budget to consider. Serge Bromberg and Lobster Films have done their usual fine job in making these films available to us. The other two releases in the SLAPSTICK SYMPOSIUM series are Mabel Normand's THE EXTRA GIRL (finally!) and a Harry Langdon double feature."