Monday, March 09, 2015

The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy (1967)

A feature-length compilation of highlights from Laurel and Hardy's films, produced by Jay Ward and written by Bill Scott, and obviously modeled on Robert Youngson's anthologies, such as The Golden Age of Comedy and Laurel and Hardy's Laughing '20s. With its more focused approach and drawing on fresh material, it actually works a bit better than the later Youngsons, since the narration (by Garry Moore) is less intrusive and Jerry Fielding's music score is a bit more effective. It also makes good use of clips from the sound shorts, albeit with new underscoring and sound effects (and in some cases, voice dubbing of supporting players!)

Working with the cooperation of Hal Roach Jr. and Raymond Rohauer, Ward and Scott were able to gain access to clips that had not been previously used in any of the Youngson compilations, most notably the silent Bacon Grabbers, as well as highlights from numerous sound shorts and features, including extensive extracts from The Music Box, Towed in a Hole, Way Out West, The Bohemian Girl, and Swiss Miss, which represent some of Laurel and Hardy's very best work. Though there's nothing new here that won't be familiar to long-time Laurel and Hardy fans, it's nevertheless a sincere tribute and a solid collection of some of the team's best scenes.

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