Since the last post, I’ve viewed the shorts Hog Wild (1930), Come Clean and One Good Turn (both 1931), and the feature Sons of the Desert (1933). All have superb commentary tracks by Randy Skretvedt—whose L&H book is absolutely definitive (to overuse the word!). I bought the first edition paperback in early 1988, and this copy is still with me—and in surprisingly good shape! The newest edition is more of the same, only much more, but it’s an indispensible tome whatever edition you own. (I own both. I wouldn’t part with that first edition.)
The two shorts Berth Marks (1929)—their second “talkie”—and Brats (1930) benefit from having their original soundtracks offered as an option, in addition to the more familiar 1937 reissue sound (different music cues and, in some cases, FX).
Picture-wise, neither come off as pristine as the first reel of Battle of the Century, but few things of this vintage do. I felt Berth Marks was the clear winner of the two—Brats seems, at best, occasionally a marginal upgrade on the DVD transfer, but some shots seemed a whole lot softer than I ever remembered them from back in the 1980s on TV and VHS. Neither are in brilliant shape, and sadly it seems they will never look any better. Of course, it is high definition, so is inherently stronger than previous releases, but the condition of the source materials does place limitations on some of these items. I do believe there are much stronger items to come in this set.
I just finally received a copy of Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations on Blu-ray! It has taken a while—it was released back in June of 2020. Fortunately, I had some extra cash from selling some stuff, and it showed up at a very nice price… ’twas a no-brainer.