Items in Cart:
"The greatest of the silent clowns is Buster Keaton, not only because of what he did, but because of how he did it." - Roger Ebert
While Chaplin's Tramp might stand as the most immediately recognized of the silent clowns, the Great Stoneface Buster Keaton was arguably the greater technical genius behind the camera. Perfectly paced and filled with Keaton's legendary stunts, these films are comedy at its most sublime. Our flagship product, this 11 DVD box features Keaton in his prime.
Free-standing box set features 11 full-length comedies, 19 short films, and an additional DVD, Keaton Plus, with over three hours of bonus material.
More than just a silent comedian known for his pratfalls and clever mimicry, Buster Keaton was an unparalleled genius of the American cinema. This DVD presents three of his early works, displaying his extraordinary talents as actor and filmmaker alike.
Keaton stars in The Saphead as Bertie Van Alstyne, the spoiled son of a powerful Wall Street financier. Unable to escape the wealth and comfort that are foisted upon him, he pursues individuality in a series of comic misadventures in the speakeasies of New York, at the altar of matrimony, and even on the floor of the American stock exchange. 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 survial within a chaotic world.
Also featured are two short films which Keaton not only acted in but wrote and directed (with his usual collaborator, Eddie Cline), and which exemplify the complexity and sublimity of his unique filmmaking style.
The High Sign (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1921. 21 mins. B&W.) finds Buster unwittingly involved in a radical secret society known as "The Blinking Buzzards," stumbling from assassin to bodyguard in a romantic adventure that climaxes in a mind-boggling romp through a booby-trapped mansion.
Dreams of placid domesticity are systematically satirized and ultimately demolished in One Week (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1921. 19 mins. B&W. Music by Gaylord Carter.), Keaton's bittersweet parable of one couple's unflagging determination to build a prefabricated honeymoon cottage. Hide this content.
In this exclusive collection of cinematic treasures, Kino on Video pays
homage to the lesser-known works of the screen's most inventive comedian.
Highlights include home movie footage of Keaton in Paris and on the set of
The General, scenes from the never-completed Cinemascope musical Ten Girls Ago, excerpts from the rare TV series Life with Buster Keaton, his first dramatic role (Gogol's The Awakening), two 1930s shorts (Allez-Oop! and Jail Bait), commercials, excerpts from his appearance on TV's This Is Your Life and the newly-restored 1921 short Hard Luck.
Film historian John Bengtson (the author of Silent Echoes) has prepared an interactive tour of locations where Keaton's films were shot. An extensive photo gallery reveals family snapshots, images from Keaton's vaudeville years, fascinating behind-the-scenes stills and more.
A brilliant historical satire teeming with inventive flourishes, Buster Keaton's THREE AGES is a silent comedy of truly epic proportions. This clever parody of D. W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE follows Buster's hard-luck romantic adventures throughout world history: form the dawn of man in the Stone Age, through the gladiatorial arenas of Ancient Rome, to the city streets of the American Jazz Era.
By flavoring the ancient stories with bits of modern comedy (e.g. the "spare tire" with which Buster repairs his chariot, the "home run" that he scores against an angry caveman), Keaton not only won raucous laughter from the audience but forged an original approach to history, humor, and cinema that clearly foreshadowed the Mel Brooks and Monty Python films that followed half a century later. Hide this content.
Brilliantly exemplifying Buster Keaton's ability to mime rich humor from the inanimate, The Navigator is a classic of the Golden Age of Comedy, centered on and about a single extraordinary prop: an immense five hundred-foot yacht.
In a return to the "pampered youth" role he had played in The Saphead (and would return to in 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 except an equally naïve girl (Kathryn McGuire). 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.
They then embark on a series of misadventures on the ocean floor (where Rollo in a diving suit must parry the attacks of an aggressive swordfish) and upon the high seas, surrounded by a fleet of menacing cannibals, where the film reaches its explosively funny climax, with the aid of a crate of rocket flares.
As a special feature, this DVD includes two additional complete films that demonstrate Keaton's penchant for maritime mayhem.
In The Boat (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1921. Color-tinted B&W. 22 mins. Musical setting by Gaylord Carter.), Buster and family set sail aboard the homemade "Damfino," while in The Love Nest (Dir. Buster Keaton. U.S. 1923. Color-tinted B&W. 20 mins. Music arranged and directed by Robert Israel.) -- for decades a lost film until its recent rediscovery and restoration -- he trades sailboat for U-boat to plumb new depths of hilarity.Hide this content.
NOTE: Coming NOVEMBER 11, 2008 - THE GENERAL: THE ULTIMATE EDITION. Click here for more info.
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.
Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marian Mack), young Johnnie Gray (Keaton) sets out to single-handedly win the war with the help of his cherished locomotive. What follows is, without exaggeration, probably the most cleverly choreographed comedy ever recorded on celluloid. Johnnie wages war against hijackers, an errant cannon, and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails -- exploiting the comic potential of Keaton's favorite filmic prop: the train.
Insisting on accuracy in every detail, Keaton created a remarkably authentic historical epic, replete with hundreds of costumed extras, full-scale sets, and the breathtaking plunge of an actual locomotive from a burning bridge into a river. "Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct compostion of a Matthew 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."
In addition to the feature, this DVD also contains two Keaton short films.
Flavored with Americana and loaded with cinematic inventiveness, Steamboat Bill Jr. was Buster Keaton's final independent production before joining MGM (where his work suffered a steady decline in quality), a comic masterpiece that represents the full breadth of its maker's remarkable talents
Set on the Mississippi River in the old sidewheeler days, Steamboat Bill Jr. follows the adventures of a spoiled young man who is forced by his crusty father (Ernest Torrence) to learn the ropes of riverboating. Over the course of the narrative, the scale of comedy gradually expands, from small-scale, nostalgic humor (as when Bill Sr. outfits his son with a new wardrobe) to some of the most elaborate sight gags of Keaton's career. Junior's attempts to single-handedly pilot the rag-tag "Stonewall Jackson" recall the mechanical brilliance of The General and The Navigator, but the film's crowning achievement is its hurricane climax. Highlighted by remarkable special effects (including the destruction of full-sized sturctures), it includes the legendary stunt in which the front of a building collapses over Junior, who passes unharmed through an open window.
Surprisingly dark yet wickedly funny, Convict 13 (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1920. B&W. 20 mins. Music: Robert Israel at the Fotoplayer.) combines gallows humor with rapid-fire slapstick as Buster struggles to survive within, and escape from, prison walls.
In Kino's carefully-reconstructed print of Daydreams (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1922. B&W. 22 mins. Musical setting by Robert Israel.), Buster tries to establish himself in a profession -- from veterinary assistant to street-sweeper to actor -- and, in one of his most cleverly staged chases, is pursued by a herd of New York City "bulls."