Once upon a time Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy romped through the streets of Los Angeles practicing their special brand of magic for Hal Roach Studios. UCLA Film and Television Archive celebrates their enduring legacy on Wednesday Oct. 26 with a screening of two of their best loved comedies: “The Music Box” (1932), their Academy Award-winning short, and “Way Out West” (1937), the team’s only Western and my personal favorite of their feature films, newly restored by the Archive.
The screening at The Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood coincides with the release of RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment’s new 10-disc DVD box set, “Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection.”
Speaking of clowns, Italian DVD label RaroVideo made their first US foray into Blu-ray last week with Federico Fellini’s “The Clowns.” This seldom-seen 1970 film, which I delighted in when first released, blends memoir and documentary into a circus of fiction and reality with Fellini in the role of tongue-in-cheek ringmaster. The carnival-like score by Nino Rota, and an appearance by Anita Ekberg (“La Dolce Vita”), enhances the Felliniesque experience, at once silly and surreal.
DVD extras include a rare short film by Fellini, a video essay on the director’s lifelong fascination with the circus, and a 50-page booklet with reflections and drawings by Fellini.
Lorber Films follows up its recent Sophia Loren box set with the Blu-ray release of the outrageous “Bocaccio ’70” (1962), an anthology of comic moral tales co-starring Loren and Ekberg and co-directed by Fellini, Vittoria de Sica, Luchino Visconti and Mario Monicelli. The Fellini episode stars Ekberg as a busty model (no typecasting for Federico) in a milk advertisement, while the Visconti sequence stars Romy Schneider. The Monicelli episode, a frothy tale of young love and office politics, was deleted from the film’s US release.
Also new on Blu-ray from Lorber is “Casanova ‘70” (1966), a bawdy Italian sex comedy directed by Monicelli. This one stars Fellini regular Marcello Mastroianni (“8 ½”) and Virna Lisi and boasts an Oscar-nominated screenplay. Bonus material on both Lorber Blu-rays includes theatrical trailers and still galleries.
More from Jordan:
Loren, Mastroianni, De Sica get royal treatment on Blu-ray/DVD
Alec Guinness, Ken Russell films on DVD, Noël Coward in NoHo
Halloween shows at Hunger Artists & Gallery leave you in… suspense
Barclay screens National’s ‘Guvnors,’ Stages throws ‘Party’
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