As a feverish Laurel & Hardy buff, when I read Randy Skretvedt’s Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies in 1987, I didn’t think that any L&H biography could top it. Nearly 30 years later, Skretvedt himself has proven me wrong. Skretvedt has published a massively updated “Ultimate Edition” that far surpasses even the high standards of the earlier book. (This is actually the second update of Skretvedt’s magnum opus, but who’s counting?)
Everything you could possibly want to know about every movie featuring both Laurel & Hardy (not always as a team, as in their early movies) is contained in this 630-page volume. The past 30 years have seen remastering of the original prints of L&H movies, as well as rare L&H movie “finds” that were thought to be lost to history; Skretvedt meticulously documents those as well. In addition, the book generously details L&H movie locations, then and now; vintage press releases, promotional photographs, and posters for L&H movies; and surprisingly fun and useful information on L&H’s many co-stars.
But don’t think it sounds like some massive homework assignment. As with the ‘87 book, Skretvedt writes in the manner of a detailed but most articulate Laurel & Hardy buff. As a result, the book’s breezy style draws you in and lure you through dozens or hundreds of pages before you stop to take a breath.
We might never find Hats Off or any other Laurel & Hardy movie rarities (at least in our lifetime). But having Skretvedt’s encyclopedic Laurel & Hardy tome at hand is akin to finding a long-lost film that you never even knew was lost. It’s a gem.
(This is a limited-edition book that will not be republished, so click here to get it at Amazon.com while you can!)