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The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection

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Director : Herbert Blaché
Starring: Buster Keaton, Carol Holloway, Edward Connelly, William H. Crane
Composer s : Ben Model, Robert Israel
Country : U.S.
Genre s : Blu-ray, Buster Keaton, Comedy, Silent, Slapstick
Type: Tinted B&W
Year: 1920
Language: English intertitles
Length: 77
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

SYNOPSIS

All of the Kino Classics' Ultimate Edition releases are now together in one super-sized high definition boxed set. This Blu-ray exclusive set includes: SHORT FILMS COLLECTION: 1920-1923, THE SAPHEAD (1920), OUR HOSPITALITY (1923), SHERLOCK JR./THREE AGES (1923/1924), THE NAVIGATOR (1924), SEVEN CHANCES (1925), GO WEST/BATTLING BUTLER (1925/1926), THE GENERAL (1926), COLLEGE (1927), STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928) and LOST KEATON (1934-1937).

Films

The Saphead (Ultimate Edition)

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  • Director: Herbert Blaché
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1920
  • Language:English intertitles
  • Description:
THE SAPHEAD was instrumental in establishing Keaton as a bona fide star and greatly influenced his formulation of the Buster persona: a lonely, stone-faced soul thwarted by circumstance yet undauntedly resourceful and indefatigable in his struggle for love and survival within a chaotic world. See more.

In 1920, having served a slapstick apprenticeship in the shorts of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Buster Keaton had earned the opportunity to headline his own series of two-reel comedies. The very moment at which he emerged as a star of his own shorts, Keaton was recruited to appear in his first feature film, THE SAPHEAD, based on a popular stage play. Though Keaton was not the primary creative force behind THE SAPHEAD, as he was on his short films, it became hugely important in shaping the actor's on-screen persona: the lonely, stone-faced man thwarted by circumstance, inept at the art of romance, yet undaunted in his struggle for love within a chaotic world.

Keaton stars as Bertie Van Alstyne, the pampered son of a powerful Wall Street financier (William H. Crane). Having no other lifestyle but privilege, he wanders through a variety of misadventures - an attempt at courtship, a trip to an illegal gambling den, and a tumble onto the floor of the Stock Exchange - oblivious to the obstacles that stand before him. Hide this content.

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection (1920-1923)

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Authorized by the Buster Keaton estate and mastered in HD from 35mm archival film elements, The Short Films Collection gathers all of Keaton's solo silent comedies in one monumental three-disc set. Widely considered to be among Keaton's finest work, the nineteen two-reel shorts are loaded with laughs, punctuated by breath-taking stunts, and bursting with raw creativity. See more.

Authorized by the Buster Keaton estate and mastered in HD from 35mm archival film elements, The Short Films Collection gathers all of Keaton’s solo silent comedies in one monumental three-disc set. Widely considered to be among Keaton’s finest work, the nineteen two-reel shorts are loaded with laughs, punctuated by breath-taking stunts, and bursting with raw creativity. Over the course of this three-year period, Keaton evolved from a successful slapstick comedian into one of cinema’s most inventive visual stylists, and became an enduring icon of American popular culture.

DISC 1
After serving a three-year apprenticeship under slapstick superstar Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, former child vaudevillian Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton was promoted from supporting player to comic lead, and hired to star in a series of twenty two-reel comedies (usually written and directed with Eddie Cline). This collection of Keaton’s seven initial solo efforts—authorized by the estate of Buster Keaton and mastered in HD from archival 35mm elements—reveals his cinematic genius just as it was beginning to flower. Already one can see the qualities that would define his later work: the fascination with oversized mechanical props (the prefabricated house of ONE WEEK), dynamic stunts and chases (THE SCARECROW, THE HAUNTED HOUSE), and a penchant for dark
comedy (CONVICT 13, HARD LUCK).

THE “HIGH SIGN”
1920/21 B&W 19 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton
and Eddie Cline
Also presented in a digitally enhanced version.
Visual essay by R. Emmet Sweeney

ONE WEEK
1920 B&W 24 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by David B. Pearson

CONVICT 13
1920 B&W 19 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline

THE SCARECROW
1920 B&W 18 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Ken Gordon

NEIGHBORS
1921 B&W 19 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline

THE HAUNTED HOUSE
1921 Color Tinted 20 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Jack Dragga

HARD LUCK
1921 B&W 21 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Bruce Lawton

DISC 2
Spanning the central phase of Keaton’s solo silent shorts, this collection observes the young actor/director as his films were becoming increasingly ambitious. In some ways, these cinematically adventurous two-reelers are like prototypes of the features yet to come. The massive police chase of COPS would evolve into the bridal stampede of Seven Chances, the Western-themed THE PALEFACE is an obvious precedent to Go West, the camera trickery of THE PLAY HOUSE foreshadows Sherlock Jr., and THE BOAT might be viewed as a smaller-scale version of The Navigator. However, these films are anything but practice runs.  To many viewers, the fleet-footed comedies presented here showcase Keaton’s genius for comedy in its purest essence: brief, energetic, recklessly creative, and unencumbered by the
narrative complexities requisite to a feature film.

THE GOAT
1921 B&W 23 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Mal St. Clair
Visual essay by David Kalat

THE PLAY HOUSE
1921 B&W 23 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Patricia Eliot Tobias

THE BOAT
1921 B&W 23 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Also presented in a digitally enhanced version.

THE PALEFACE
1922 B&W 20 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Bret Wood

COPS
1922 B&W 18 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Also presented in a
digitally enhanced version.
Visual essay by Ben Model

MY WIFE’S RELATIONS
1922 B&W 17 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Steve Massa

DISC 3
In the last of Keaton’s solo silent shorts, the actor/writer/director seemed to be straining at the limits of the two-reel comedy, both in
terms of length (DAY DREAMS, which exists in fragmentary condition, was originally released as a three-reeler) as well as content. Plotting and romance turned sketchy as Keaton devoted more attention to the visual setpieces that had become his hallmark: stuck within a steamboat’s paddlewheel in DAY DREAMS, victimized by his own mechanical inventions in THE ELECTRIC HOUSE, and caught in an amusement park house of horrors in THE BALLOONATIC. After making nineteen shorts (of a contractually-obligated twenty), Keaton and his partners agreed that he had fully mined the possibilities of the two-reeler and was ready for greater challenges. His
career as a feature filmmaker was ready to begin.

THE BLACKSMITH
1922 B&W 21 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Mal St. Clair
Visual essay by Bruce Lawton

THE FROZEN NORTH
1922 B&W 17 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by Patricia Eliot Tobias

DAY DREAMS
1922 B&W 21 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Visual essay by David B. Pearson

THE ELECTRIC HOUSE
1922 Color Tinted 23 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline

THE BALLOONATIC
1923 B&W 22 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline
Also presented in a digitally enhanced version.

THE LOVE NEST
1923 Color Tinted 20 Min.
Directed by Buster Keaton
Visual essay by David Kalat

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Our Hospitality (Ultimate Edition)

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  • Director: Buster Keaton, Jack Blystone
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1923
  • Language:
  • Description:
Keaton stars as youthful dreamer Willie McKay, who travels westward on a rickety locomotive to claim his birthright, only to find that his inheritance is a shack. This definitive edition of OUR HOSPITALITY features an exquisite orchestral score by Carl Davis, a documentary on the making of the film and a rare alternate cut entitled Hospitality. See more.

Like his 1926 film The General, this elaborate historical comedy broadened the boundaries of slapstick and proved that Keaton was not just a comedian, he was an artist.

Keaton stars as youthful dreamer Willie McKay, who travels westward on a rickety locomotive to claim his birthright, only to find that his inheritance is a shack. And he learns that the object of his affection (Keaton’s real-life wife, Natalie Talmadge) is the daughter of a man with whom his family has been engaged in a long, violent feud. McKay’s personal struggles are punctuated by brilliant slapstick setpieces that involve an exploding dam, raging waterfalls, and a primitive steam engine. Keaton supervised the design and construction of the train, which he revived two years later for the short The Iron Mule (in which he appears without credit as an Native American chief).

This definitive edition of OUR HOSPITALITY features an exquisite orchestral score by Carl Davis, performed by the Thames Silents Orchestra; a documentary on the making of the film; and a rare alternate cut entitled Hospitality.

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Sherlock Jr. & Three Ages (Ultimate Edition)

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  • Director: Buster Keaton
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1923-1924
  • Language:
  • Description:
Containing two classic Keaton comedies, the films in this collection have been mastered in HD from archival 35mm elements, authorized by the Buster Keaton Estate. See more.

Widely regarded as one of the most visually inventive silent comedies ever made, SHERLOCK JR. offers fast-paced slapstick as well as a brilliant deconstruction of the filmmaking process. Keaton stars as a movie theatre projectionist who dreams of becoming a super-sleuth and, in one breathtaking sequence, literally steps into the screen to bring his fantasies to life.

Another comedy for film-lovers (that plays upon the conventions of cinema), THREE AGES is a clever spoof of D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance. In Keaton’s multi-narrative epic, man’s primal quest for love is played out in the Stone Age, Ancient Rome, and the Jazz Age.

The films in this collection have been mastered in HD from archival 35mm elements, authorized by the Buster Keaton Estate.

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The Navigator (Ultimate Edition)

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A precursor to his classic The General - only centered around a 500-foot steamship rather than a Civil War locomotive - THE NAVIGATOR demonstrates Buster Keaton's ability to transform complex machinery into large-scale comedy props. See more.

A precursor to his classic The General - only centered around a 500-foot steamship rather than a Civil War locomotive - THE NAVIGATOR demonstrates Buster Keaton's ability to transform complex machinery into large-scale comedy props. In a return to the "pampered youth" role he had played in The Saphead and Battling Butler, Keaton stars as Rollo Treadway, an inexperienced lad of extraordinary wealth (and surprisingly little common sense) who finds himself adrift on the Navigator with no one else on board excerpt an equally na�¯ve girl. After discovering each other's presence in an ingenious ballet of unintentional hide-and-seek, the couple resourcefully fashion a home for themselves aboard the derelict boat, in spite of their unfamiliarity with the tools of domesticity. A series of mis-adventures ensue: on the high seas, on the ocean floor, and in the face of a fleet of angry head-hunters. Hide this content.

Seven Chances (Ultimate Edition)

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  • Director: Buster Keaton
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1925
  • Language:Silent with English intertitles
  • Description:
This dazzling comedy showcases Keaton’s genius for super-sized slapstick as it tells the story of an eligible young bachelor who must marry by 7:00 p.m. in order to receive a $7 million inheritance. See more.

This dazzling comedy showcases Keaton’s genius for super-sized slapstick as it tells the story of an eligible young bachelor who must marry by 7:00 p.m. in order to receive a $7 million inheritance. After bungling a proposal to his longtime sweetheart (Ruth Dwyer), Jimmie (Keaton) embarks on a desperate quest for a bride. He experiences a hilarious series of rejections, until a newspaper announcement of Jimmie’s predicament provides him with more fiancées than he can handle, setting in motion the most epic and surreal chase sequence of Keaton’s career.

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Go West & Battling Butler (Ultimate Edition)

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  • Director: Buster Keaton
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1925, 1926
  • Language:English intertitles
  • Description:
With his trademark deadpan demeanor and his gift for inventive visual humor, Buster Keaton's unique brand of comedy has proven to be a timeless source of laughter and an enduring influence upon several generations of screen comics. This Ultimate Edition showcases two of Keaton's lesser known films, newly mastered in HD from the 35mm nitrate elements preserved by the Library of Congress. See more.

With his trademark deadpan demeanor and his gift for inventive visual humor, Buster Keaton's unique brand of comedy has proven to be a timeless source of laughter and an enduring influence upon several generations of screen comics. This Ultimate Edition showcases two of Keaton's lesser known films, newly mastered in HD from the 35mm nitrate elements preserved by the Library of Congress.

In GO WEST, Keaton plays an idealistic young man known as "Friendless," who rides the rails to a dude ranch, forms a sentimental attachment with an especially lovable cow, and, in the film's breathtaking climax, finds himself at the center of cattle stampede through the streets of Los Angeles.

Based on a popular stage musical, BATTLING BUTLER stars Keaton as a pampered socialite who pretends to be a famed prizefighter in order to impress his girlfriend's bullying brothers. Once begun, however, the charade is not easy to end, and Butler - aided by his personal butler (Snitz Edwards) - must endure physical training, sparring, and, unless he can stop it, a title bout with the "Alabama Murderer." Hide this content.

The General (Ultimate Edition)

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Mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print struck from the original camera negative. Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL is so brilliantly conceived and executed that it continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. See more.

Mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print
struck from the original camera negative

Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL is so brilliantly conceived and executed that it continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. This Kino Ultimate 2 Disc Edition was mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print struck from the original camera negative.

Rejected by the Confederate army and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive. Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails. "Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct composition of a Mathew Brady Civil War photograph," wrote film historian David Robinson, "No one - not even Griffith or Huston and certainly not Fleming (Gone With the Wind) - caught the visual aspect of the Civil War as Keaton did."

US 1926 Color Tinted 78 Min. Full-frame (1.33:1)
Written and directed by
Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman
Adapted by Al Boasberg and Charles Smith, from
William Pittenger's "The Great Locomotive Chase"
Photographed by
J. Devereaux Jennings and Bert Haines
Technical Director: Fred Gabourie
With Buster Keaton, Marion Mack

Carl Davis score © 1987 Carl Davis. All rights controlled worldwide by Faber
Music Ltd., London. Robert Israel score © 1995 Film Preservation
Associates. Lee Erwin score P Piedmont Music Co. Digital restoration and
supplemental material © 2008 Kino International Corp.

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College (Ultimate Edition)

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In one of his most successful films, Keaton stars as an intellectual weakling who tries to earn the love of a young coed by demonstrating his athletic abilities. More than in any other feature, Keaton stretches the boundaries of solo physical comedy. See more.
Buster Keaton goes back to school and stages a hilarious send-up of university life in COLLEGE. Keaton stars as Ronald, an idealistic freshman who attends Clayton College in pursuit of higher learning, but finds himself instead embroiled in a war of athletics as he fights for the heart of his beloved coed, Mary (Anne Cornwall).

More than he had in any other feature, Keaton stretched the boundaries of solo physical comedy. In a series of unforgettable vignettes, stone-faced Ronald tries his hand as a baseball player, soda jerk, waiter, coxswain, and track star, perfomring each task with a steady determination but with consistently disastrous results. These scenes are especially amazing because in demonstrating Ronald's athletic inadequacies, Keaton reveals a surprising degree of physical prowess and finesse, particularly during the film's exhilarating climax. Hide this content.

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Ultimate Edition)

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  • Director: Charles Reiser
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1928
  • Language:
  • Description:
2-DVD Set. The last of the independent features made in the prime of Buster Keaton's career, STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. is a large-scale follow-up to The General, substituting a Mississippi paddlewheel for the locomotive, and replacing the spectacle of the Civil War with a catastrophic hurricane. See more.

ULTIMATE 2-DISC EDITION

STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.

The last of the independent features made in the prime of Buster Keaton's career, STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. is a large-scale follow-up to The General, substituting a Mississippi paddlewheel for the locomotive, and replacing the spectacle of the Civil War with a catastrophic hurricane. Keaton stars as William Canfield, Jr., a Boston collegian who returns to his deep-southern roots to reunite with his father, a crusty riverboat captain (Ernest Torrence) who is engaged in a bitter rivalry with a riverboat king, coincidentally, the father of Willie's sweetheart (Marion Byron).

Keaton's athleticism and gift for inventive visual humor are in top form, and the cyclone that devastates a town (and sends houses literally crashing down around him) is perhaps the most ambitious, awe-inspiring and hilarious slapstick sequence ever created.

In the silent era, it was common practice for filmmakers to create two separate negatives of their films, each comprised of differing takes and camera angles. This definitive DVD edition contains both versions of STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., each mastered from archival 35mm materials, as well as a thirteen-minute documentary comparing the two.

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Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts (1934-1937)

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  • Director: Al Christie, Charles Lamont, Mack Sennett, Raymond Kane
  • Country: U.S.
  • Year:1934-1937
  • Language:
  • Description:
16 classic Keaton shorts from 1934 to 1937 that pay homage to his brilliant earlier comedic work in an era when sound was becoming prevalent over the film industry. See more.

For Buster Keaton, the era of the talkies was a tumultuous time. After signing with MGM, the quality of his ambitious, eclectic comedies began to decline, leading to a period of personal setbacks. In 1934, he signed a contract with Earle W. Hammons’s Educational Pictures which, despite its name, specialized in comedy short subjects (“The Spice of the Program”). Keaton’s move to Educational was a return to his roots, crafting a stream of two-reel comedies in rapid succession, as he had done in the early 1920s, when he first refined his cinematic craft.

The films Keaton made at Educational (all sixteen of which are collected here) pay homage to his earlier work while exploring the possibilities of “Elmer,” his new comic persona.

  • THE GOLD GHOST
    1934 21 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • ALLEZ OOP
    1934 20 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • PALOOKA FROM PADUCAH
    1935 20 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • ONE RUN ELMER
    1935 19 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • HAYSEED ROMANCE
    1935 20 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • TARS AND STRIPES
    1935 20 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • THE E-FLAT MAN
    1935 20 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • THE TIMID YOUNG MAN
    1935 20 Min. Dir: Mack Sennett
  • THREE ON A LIMB
    1936 18 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • GRAND SLAM OPERA
    1936 20 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • BLUE BLAZES
    1936 19 Min. Dir: Raymond Kane
  • THE CHEMIST
    1936 19 Min. Dir: Al Christie
  • MIXED MAGIC
    1936 16 Min. Dir: Raymond Kane
  • JAIL BAIT
    1937 19 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • DITTO
    1937 17 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont
  • LOVE NEST ON WHEELS
    1937 18 Min. Dir: Charles Lamont

These discs were mastered in HD from 35mm negatives and fine grain masters from Keaton’s personal collection and other archival sources by Raymond Rohauer. Some films exist in less-than-perfect condition, which is not atypical for low-budget “orphan” films such as these.

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