Two years ago we presented some Laurel and Hardy comedies beautifully restored for the big screen. Now we happily offer you “another nice mess,” in the form of a new batch of restorations to savor.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were the most beloved double act in the movies. Laurel (1890-1965) was English, a talented mime who understudied Charlie Chaplin in the music hall troupe that brought them both to America. Hardy (1892-1957) was an actor-singer from the American South. Both knocked around in silent comedy shorts for several years until 1927, when producer Hal Roach made them a pair. Stan was thin and innocent, Oliver heavyset and haughty. In their movement, dialogue and childlike behavior, they complemented each other perfectly.
Of all the silent comics, Laurel and Hardy made the smoothest and most successful transition to sound, and our presentations focus on several talkies and one extremely rare silent. The films were restored by Jeff Joseph in conjunction with the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and it’s safe to say they haven’t looked this good since they were first released.
SONS OF THE DESERT
PRECEDED BY HOG WILD
THURSDAY, SEPT. 13 • 7:30
SUNDAY, SEPT. 16 • 4:30
Acclaimed by many as Laurel and Hardy’s finest feature film, Sons of the Desert (1933) finds The Boys as loyal members of the eponymous fraternity who have to deceive their wives (Mae Busch and Dorothy Christy) to attend the annual convention in Chicago. From such a basic sitcom premise, Laurel and Hardy could spin comedy gold, and this terrific little gem deserves renewed appreciation. Featuring Charley Chase, a fellow Hal Roach star. Director: William A. Seiter. Preceded by Hog Wild (1930), one of the best of their early sound shorts, in which Mr. Laurel assists (?) Mr. Hardy in installing a radio antenna on the roof. Program approximately 85 min.
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RESTORED LAUREL AND HARDY SHORTS
SUNDAY, SEPT. 23 • 4:30 (Art House TheaterDay!)
THURSDAY, SEPT. 27 • 7:00
This program of four Laurel and Hardy shorts opens with an authentic rarity: Battle of the Century (1927), a “lost’ silent classic only recently found and repaired, which climaxes in an epic pie fight. Berth Marks (1929), one of their first talkies (with a restored Vitaphone soundtrack), finds the two traveling musicians trying to share the upper berth of a Pullman car. In Brats (1930, with restored Vitaphone soundtrack), Stan and Ollie play themselves and their own children, thanks to clever optical work and clever oversized sets. In The Chimp (1932), their threadbare circus goes belly up, and instead of back pay, The Boys are given “Ethel the Human Chimpanzee” (played by Hollywood gorilla specialist Charles Gemora). Program approximately 85 min.
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