The Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 2: The Dancing Masters/A-Haunting We Will Go/The Bullfighters [3 [DVD]

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The Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 1: The Big Noise/Great Guns/Jitterbugs [3 Discs] (DVD)  (Black & White)  (English)  1941 - Larger Front

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Overview

Special Features

  • "A Ship's Reporter"
  • "Laurel & Hardy: The Fox Years"
  • "Tree in a Test Tube"
  • Plus Fox Movietone news footage and commentaries
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Tree in a Test Tube
This short educational film, produced by the United States Department of Agriculture, offers a look at just how many products are made from wood, and stresses the consequential importance of forest cultivation. The film is best remembered today for a cameo appearance by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, in which the comic team show off a number of wood-based items; it was the first and only time Stan and Ollie appeared in a full-color film. Pete Smith, who was best known for his short comedies for MGM, serves as narrator. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Dancing Masters
This lesser Laurel and Hardy vehicle casts Stan and Ollie as the proprietors of the "Arthur Hurry" dance studio. Despite a rather sizeable student body (consisting mainly of 20th Century-Fox contract starlets), the boys would starve to death were it not for their only paying customer, socialite Trudy Harlan (Trudy Marshall). Trudy is in love with Grant Lawrence (Robert Bailey), an aspiring inventor who needs financial backing for his revolutionary new flame thrower. Laurel and Hardy undertake several moneymaking schemes to help Grant, most of these coming a-cropper. Finally, Ollie remembers an accident-insurance policy taken out on Stan. He tries to arrange an accident so that the boys can collect a huge fee, but this scheme culminates in a wild bus ride, resulting in Ollie breaking his own leg. The plot of Dancing Masters is a hodgepodge of underdeveloped situations and old gags lifted from such earlier Laurel & Hardy comedies as The Battle of the Century and Thicker Than Water; only occasionally does the comic genius of Stan and Ollie shine through. If the film is memorable at all, it is because of the presence of Robert Mitchum, in an unbilled but sizeable role as an insurance racketeer. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Bullfighters
Laurel & Hardy's last American film is a marked improvement over their previous 20th Century-Fox features, though still not in the same league as their 1930s classics. Stan and Ollie play a couple of detectives from Peoria, Illinois, who fly to Mexico City to arrest the notorious Larceny Nell (Carol Andrews). Their South-of-the-Border visit coincides with the much-anticipated arrival of famed Spanish bullfighter Don Sebastian-who happens to be the exact double of Stan Laurel! When Don Sebastian's Mexican debut is delayed by passport problems, press agent Hotshot Coleman (Richard Lane) persuades Stan to take the toreador's place in the bullring. Stan is understandably reluctant until Hotshot threatens to turn the boys over to his business partner, sports promoter Richard K. Muldoon (Ralph Sanford). It seems that several years earlier, Stan and Ollie wrongly sent Muldoon to prison; upon his release, he vowed to someday catch up with the boys and literally skin them alive ("First the little one, then the big one!") With this threat hanging over their heads, Laurel & Hardy are forced to acquiesce to Hotshot's scheme-leading to a chaotic nightclub incident, a hectic misadventure at a bull farm, and a climactic riot at the bull arena when the real Don Sebastian finally shows up. Though it falls apart in the final reel thanks to an overabundance of mismatched stock footage gleaned from Blood and Sand (1941), The Bullfighters is for the most part a fond throwback to Laurel & Hardy's glory days: the highlight is an egg-breaking routine revived from 1934's Hollywood Party. Curiously, none of the reviewers in 1945 mentioned the film's grotesquely hilarious closing gag, which must be seen to be believed. Rory Calhoun (billed as Frank McCown) shows up in a bit as a rival bullfighter. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A-Haunting We Will Go

Cast & Crew

  • Oliver Hardy
    Oliver Hardy
  • Stan Laurel
    Stan Laurel
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