Friday, January 11, 2019
The Return of Laurel & Hardy
Stan & Ollie hit the big screen again in January 2019, bringing big laughs yet again to a nation much in need of levity, as the celebrated comedy team did with great success throughout the Great Depression.
While the team has never left the museum and film festival circuits, the Alamo Drafthouse cinemas have brought the duo back to movie theaters and big screen glory in Laurel & Hardy’s Festival of Laffs, featuring restorations of four classic Hal Roach Studio short subjects, Busy Bodies, Come Clean, Helpmates and The Music Box.
The Laurel & Hardy program began playing at Alamo Drafthouse locations right after the new year began (first in Ashburn, VA and Irving, TX) and tomorrow night shall play this blogger's hometown of San Francisco, as well as three Alamo Drafthouse locations in the Lone Star State.
Here's the schedule.
San Francisco, CA - January 12
Austin, TX - January 12
Denton, TX - January 12
Richardson, TX - January 12
Brooklyn, NY - January 13
Woodbury, MN - January 13
Lake Highlands Dallas, TX - January 19
El Paso, TX - January 22
Cedars Dallas, TX - January 26
Charlottesville, VA - January 26
Denver, CO - January 27
If unable to attend these shows, where can one see Laurel & Hardy films (besides, in Northern CA, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and the San Francisco silent film festival)?
The good news is that there's at least one DVD collection of the team's sound films, Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection.
The L&H silents are for the most part not available on DVD or Blu-ray, but some of the solo films have turned up on the Slapstick Encyclopedia box set, as well as such Kino Video "Slapstick Symposium" releases as The Stan Laurel Collection and The Oliver Hardy Collection.
A Blu-ray of the uncut, original Atoll K, the last film of Laurel & Hardy, is out as well, but you'll need a region-free player to play the new restoration, a 2k transfer from the 35mm nitrate source materials by the British Film Institute.
Amazon Prime is offering a fair number of their silent movies, as individual downloads; these include both L&H starring vehicles, their pre-team solo films and appearances with Vitagraph Pictures slapstick-meister Larry Semon and other comedians.
In addition to the theatrical release of Stan & Ollie, co-starring English actor and comedian Steve Coogan as Stan and John C. Reilly as Babe, the Laurel & Hardy’s Festival of Laffs program brings the beloved comedy team back to the spotlight where they belong.