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Big Business/Liberty

Posted on

Big Business/Liberty

Current Status:
In Season
Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel
Short, Comedy

We gave it an A

Some critics believe that Laurel and Hardy’s sound films, estimable as many of them are, pale before the pair’s cinematically purer silent work, and this new laserdisc of Big Business and Liberty — neither currently available on tape — makes the case compellingly; for sustained belly laughs, these two shorts are hard to beat. Big Business is the more familiar (the boys, as Christmas tree salesmen, get into a shoving match with a customer that escalates into the destruction of his house), but Liberty (in which they have to change their trousers atop an under-construction high-rise) is even more nuttily amusing, and the print quality of both is astounding. Given the 38-minute total running time, one wonders why they weren’t presented in the freeze-frameable CAV format, but that’s a niggling complaint against an otherwise flawless package. A