Topic: Help with L&H prints
Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler
Registered: Jul 2003
posted March 24, 2007 06:09 PM
The 16mm Laurel & Hardy
releases are generally very good.
But not all are equal.
The worst of the releases are the
dupes released by Walter Reade.
These were duped from the Film Classics
prints, and contains the Film Classics Plaque.
"Original" Film Classics, or Regal Televison
Film Prints from the Film Classics Library
are the best in L&H.
Period. But there are some things to look
for when searching for these because
they are tough to locate.
They too have the Film Classics Plaque.
It is best to inquire if the film stock
is KODAK marked in bold letters along the side
of the spockets. It is also good to
have a Kodak Film chart so that you
can identify the markings along the side
that correspond to the year that the film
I have a bonafide original of Hog Wild
printed in 1948. The picture is crisp
and the sound fidelity is strikingly
bell clear. The best that I have ever
heard on any print. As the boys work
on the roof of Ollie's House, the music
track is as clear as a cheery carnival.
Those sound technicians truly understood
their craft in 1930.
The Plain Kodak stock has a higher
silver content, and a rich
theatrical appearance to the print.
The next to inferior prints were
printed by Blackhawk in the 1960's.
Although they include
the Film Classics Plaque that Stars
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, it can
also be identified by the Blackhawk Films
License Notice which precedes the
Film Classics Plaque - Thus this does
not make the film a bonafide original print down
from Film Classics, so it is good to ask.
Also these prints can be identified as
Eastman Kodak Stock, which is different
than the Plain KODAK stock.
Other prints that have an equivalent
theatrical quality are ones that are
printed on Dupont.
Granted though not all Dupont
prints are equal, but most are very close
to each other.
Blackhawks best production was in the 70's
depending on the neg material that was
available. By this time, these prints are
on Eastman Kodak Stock.
If you were to ask about The Music Box,
I would tell you that the best print was from the
run that was made in 1974.
Aside from The Music Box,
other excellent Blackhawk L&H
prints were made in 1979.
The best Sons of the Desert release by
Blackhawk were printed in 1974. Sometime around
1978, they released the same print with all
of the original MGM titles.
This is one print that has always been on the
soft side. Although this is not perfect it
is the best of all printings.
The best of this in Super 8 was printed in 1979
Otherwise, there is a 16mm reduction/dupe print
of this title which is also circulating and it
is completely unedited with the 'Little Organ Pumper'
line by Charlie Chase and the Excuse me scene,
which is a brief moment when the boys arrive late
at the start of the film. This print is pin sharp in
Chickens Come Home released in 1974 has a 35mm
The releases of Brats, Be Big, and Blotto, tend
to be soft with Brats being the worst of the
early sound releases.
However the best Brats title that I
own is one that was released in 1968, and it
has a Blackhawk title, not a Film Classics Title.
So this does not contradict what I had mentioned
earlier about 60's release prints.
The Best of Way Out West, has a Blackhawk
Main title Card: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
in Way Out West, followed by the original
MGM titles. This is true printdown material
and printed in true 20 minute sections
with a splice at every twenty minute print
Night Owls best print is from a Library Films
material. Library Films had the best on this.
Film Preservation Associates; the New Blackhawk
Films has the most complete material on
Men Of War.
I just donot know how well the film lab is
printing their material now a days? Last
I heard it was just so-so.
Last but not least there are the prints
made for television by Janus Films.
The first batch in 1979 were OK to not very good.
The second batch in 1980 were the best
in the shorts. But the features varied
in quality. These later prints were made
before the program went to video for TV.
Hope this helps and Good Luck searching.
In being comprehensive, I hope that this
did not make you dizzy or with the sense of
loss that it is not worth while.
I only wish to specifically guide
you in the specific direction.
The Boys deserve the best treatment
However I did once view the worst
possible looking Music Box print about
8 years ago at The Cinefile society
in Syracuse, and with a crowd of
400 people, they still roared with
Isn't it great that we can all communicate about this great
hobby that we love!
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Master Film Handler
From: England, Bedfordshire.
Registered: Nov 2003
posted March 25, 2007 12:28 AM
I am really grateful for the lesson, you certainly know your stuff, thanks again for sharing this. I will print this out and keep it for reference. Now where can i get this Kodak chart you mentioned?
Tony, thanks for the offer mate. I do realise that there is good and bad prints in all formats. 16mm is something i once played with and never got serious about. Super 8 is great, but i have been there and can't really bring myself back to it again, although i will hang on to the very little i have. With 16mm it's all new to me, if you know what i mean. VP is still great for the family and for films like Happy Feet that i will be watching tonight, but alas unlikely to be ever avalable on either 8 or 16mm. Now someone is going to come back and tell me different.
Tonight i will be mainly cleaning my new old ELF RT.
The other half thinks i'm up to something. Shes right of course.
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