It hasn't been hard to find something approaching the complete works of Keaton, Chaplin, Lloyd, and Langdon on DVD in recent years, but when I wanted to purchase the Laurel & Hardy opus, I had to order a 21-disc box set available only in the UK and deal with all the region and formatting conflicts. All that has now changed with the release of a 10-disc box set suitable for the region 1, NTSC market, Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection. True, this has only 32+ hours of footage, as opposed to 68+ on the British set, but then who's counting?
I haven't reviewed the British box set because, not surprisingly, I haven't found the time to plow through it, and I haven't seen this one yet either, but there's a big article on it in today's New York Times, which you can read here. Here's a brief excerpt from the review:
Maturity remains a fluid and frequently elusive concept in Laurel and Hardy, which is certainly one of the reasons they appeal so much to children and remain a favorite of adults, who know how thin such facades can be. But what remains constant at every phase is the unbreakable bond of affection between the two friends, who seem at first so radically mismatched, both physically and temperamentally, but are ultimately inconceivable without each other. Among many other things “Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection” contains one of the most beautiful love stories the movies have ever told.
The list price is $100, but Amazon is selling it for $65.