My parents, especially my dad, were very good about sharing their enthusiasms with their children: they wanted us to understand why they liked certain records, TV shows, movies, etc. It helped us to know them, the world around us, and made us feel important to them.
Once of my warmest childhood memories is my dad taking us to Hollywood for a Laurel and Hardy film festival, and we all laughed so hard we leaked, and I have a vivid picture of my dad looking over at me as we both howled helplessly at an L&H silent, connecting at an elemental level deeper than words or the mechanics of mere blood. I will never forget Laurel and Hardy for that.
In the news, a rare film with L&H speaking in German has been found in Moscow:
- The 40-minute film, Spuk um Mitternacht (Ghost at Midnight), was a 1931 version of their English hit movie The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case.
….Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy spoke phonetically in German with the help of speech coaches, while native speakers replaced the original supporting cast.
“Because dubbing was still difficult at the start of the sound era, [films] were shot in various languages,” a spokesman for the museum said.
Until the movie was found in July, the only German-speaking piece featuring the two Hollywood stars was a selection of short clips from a German version of their 1931 film Pardon Us.
The museum said Spuk um Mitternacht, advertised as Laurel and Hardy’s first German motion picture with sound, premiered in Berlin on 5 May 1931 and proved a big success.
….The rediscovered print of Spuk um Mitternacht was nine minutes shorter than the original, but it included jokes written specifically for a German audience.
The museum’s director Stefan Droessler told BBC News Online: “In general the film works very well even in this little short version and contains all the unique jokes about Stan’s uncle in Berlin and Julius Caesar.
“Munich Film Museum will restore the film to its full length so that it can be made available for screenings and a future DVD release.” [BBC]