The Adventures of Robin Hood - 1938
includes a clip from the lost Rogue Song
I purchased this DVD recently as it has been one of my all time favourite movies. This movie is thrilling, all round family entertainment in glorious Technicolor at its best. So why should it interest the L&H buff? Well for a start it has at least four Laurel and Hardy co-stars, namely, Alan Hale (Groagan in "Our Relations") who plays "Little John", Eugene Pallette (the insurance agent in "The Battle Of The Century") who plays "Friar Tuck", Rychard Cramer who briefly plays the victim of the henchmen in this movie (Judge Beaumont "Scram", nasty Uncle Jack "Pack Up Your Troubles"and Nick Grainger "Saps At Sea")Also seen in brief is Lionel Belmore (The Blacksmith in "Bonnie Scotland")
But best of all is one of the numerous special features titled "Glorious Technicolor" which chronicles the evolution of the Technicolor process showing many rare and unseen movies from the first hand painted movies from 1895, the early "Cinemacolor"process from 1913 and onto hand tinted scenes from "The Birth of A Nation" 1915, Laurel and Hardy used this technique in several of their early silents, most notably in "The Battle of The Century" 1927 and to great effect in 1928's "Leave Em' Laughing" - the film opens at night in a blue tinted bedroom and everytime the light is switched on the scene is tinted amber and vice versa. This use of colour was useful in conveying moods and time, ie. Red was used for war/danger, blue was used for night scenes etc.
But it was Herbert T. Calmus who perfected the Technicolor process. The early movies had 2 individual strips of film, one red and one green, which were cemented together, hence the name "Two-strip Technicolor". A few scenes from what could be called a pilot film for the whole process "The Toll of The Sea" 1922 starring Anna My Wong are also shown. While watching it you can almost imagine what the Boys looked like in the "Rogue Song" their long lost "Two-strip Technicolor" 1930 operetta. While its vividly striking, the absence of blue gives it a tinted appearance, the blue colour strip had not been perfected at this stage. Also shown is a clip of "The Black Pirate" 1926 with Douglas Fairbanks. This early process caused a lot of difficulty in the projection room because the film was double thickness and it tended to crack, warp and scratch. Not only was it expensive to produce it needed special equipment to project. Later on the 2 strips were combined into one strip which made it easier to project. When the process began to wane in the late 20's due to the expense it was relegated to novelty items and sometimes in just a few select scenes from a movie. A notable example is "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" which features L&H. The last scenes were shot (unfortunately not the L&H scenes, they are only in B&W) in this process and a 15 second clip is shown of John Gilbert and Norma Shearer reciting a scene from "Romeo and Juliet". Gilbert's lisp is evident here, he was one of the silent stars who's career came to an end with the talkies. Also of interest to comedy buffs is a clip of a Three Stooges film "Nursery Rhymes" from 1933 - I saw this on TV several years ago as part of a Three Stooges documentary - "The Lost Stooges".
But the real gem is a chance to see a seven second clip from "The Rogue Song" 1930, the lost L&H film - from a 3 minute clip discovered in 1980. The quality of the image is quite poor, it looks very red as most of the green strip seems to have faded. But it must be remembered that this clip was cut out from an original cinema print and simply boxed away until 1980 without the protective environment of an archive. Next is very good footage of The Marx Brothers shot during rehearsals for "Animal Crackers" in 1930.
This begs the question, if Warner Bros. can release a clip of "The Rogue Song" with this film could they not be persuaded to do the same with the L&H titles they currently own. For Example they own the rights to "The Devils Brother", "Babes In Toyland","Hollywood Party" "Bonnie Scotland", "Pick A Star" and 1 or 2 of their later 1940's films.
Here is a list of my dream "extras" with the main features ..
Disc 1. "The Devils' Brother"
Laurel and Hardy in a scene from the "Rogue Song" 1930
Scenes from "The Rogue Song"
"The Rogue Song" Trailer
"The Rogue Song" soundtrack
"The Devil's Brother" Trailer
Disc 2. "Bonnie Scotland"
Laurel and Hardy Telescope scenes from 1933
Disc 3. "Pick A Star"
Clip of "Oliver Hardy and Hal Roach" circa 1938
All of the above material actually exists in an archive gathering dust! Wouldn't it be great to see such gems and more again. Several years ago members were invited to write into this magazine to persuade Warners to Release The Devils Brother, Pick Star and Hollywood Party on VHS. The campaign was a success and led to the release of "Double Features" videos. Well how about it. Do any members want to see such gems? ED NOTE: See Warners reply in our next printed magazine
This DVD is available for EUROPE from our DVDS UK PAL page.
If you are in the USA then follow the link below.
The Adventures of Robin Hood (Two-Disc Special Edition) REGION 1 VERSION for USA
What would it be like if LAUREL & HARDY made ROBIN HOOD find out: When Nights Were Bold
Mickey Mouse In Living Colour 1935 - 1938
A new DVD of some interest to L&H buffs was released on May 4th. Amongst the many entertaining colour cartoons from the famous mouse is one entitled "Mickey's Polo Team" from 1936. This vintage cartoon features an appearance of L&H along with Charlie Chaplin and The Marx Brothers all in cartoon format.
Also of interest is a short cartoon (which is incidentally the first appearance of Mickey Mouse in colour) which was never released theatrically or commercially before called "Parade Of Award Nominees"
This was shown at the 1932 Academy Awards Ceremony. At that same Awards ceremony were L&H receiving an
Academy Award for "The Music Box". Several photos exist of the Boys with Walt Disney at these Awards.
This could be paired with "The Music Box" at future Tent meetings! It should also be noted that Mickey Mouse also appeared with L&H in "Hollywood Party", although not in the same scenes and a monkey played him
in "Babes In Toyland" both in 1934. The DVD is introduced by L&H buff and film historian Leonard Maltin.
The discs (2) come in a nice metal case and retail at 29.99 POUNDS approx. As the DVD format becomes more popular there seems to be an increase in the amount of L&H related material circulating e.g. a clip of L&H's appearance from "The Rogue Song" on "The Adventures Of Robin Hood" DVD.
This is encouraging, hopefully more, unusual material, will surface soon.
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