Another Fine Mess [1930]

Genre: Comedy, Short
For one-stop convenience, you can't beat this handy compilation of Laurel & Hardy classics. Although it's modestly priced and packaged, this DVD packs plenty of extras along with Stan & Ollie's finest feature and several of the comedy duo's best-loved "talkie" shorts. Sons of the Desert (1933) is the crown jewel in any L&H collection, and with Charley Chase as their stellar comedy costar, the boys reached the pinnacle of their unique partnership, playing a pair of Fez-wearing "Sons of the Desert" sneaking off to a convention in Chicago, but their wives discover the ruse with hilarious results. For L&H fans, it simply doesn't get any better than this, although 1932's "The Music Box" shares equal status--and a 1932 OscarĀ® for Best Comedy Short--in the L&H pantheon. The remaining shorts on the disc ("Another Fine Mess," "Busy Bodies," and "County Hospital") were produced during the prime of Stan & Ollie's sound-era success (1930-33), each boasting their own timeless bits and flawless routines. Abundant laughs are virtually guaranteed. Most of the bonus material pays tribute to legendary comedy producer Hal Roach, who first partnered Stan & Ollie in 1926. A film-clip tribute includes interviews with comedy greats like Mel Brooks and Steve Allen, and on-screen articles explore Roach's career in greater detail. A "then and now" photo tour provides an historic tour of Roach Studio locations in Culver City, California, and text biographies are provided for Roach, Laurel, and Hardy. In addition to the films themselves (which never looked or sounded better), these extras make this Laurel & Hardy DVD a perfect choice for old and new fans alike. --Jeff Shannon

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