Buster Keaton Dble Feat.:Gener
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Buster Keaton's career reached its creative apex with the rousing comic adventure The General. Not merely one of the finest silent films, this remains one of the great film comedies of all time. The Great Stone Face stars as Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray, a man with only two loves: the sweet Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack) and his trustworthy engine, the eponymous General. When Fort Sumner is fired upon he's one of the first to enlist, but when the war office rejects him (he's too valuable as a trained engineer) his sweetie rejects him as a coward. Johnny has the opportunity to prove his bravery when Yankee spies steal his engine and inadvertently kidnap Annabelle, and Johnny pursues with all the resources at his disposal: handcar, bicycle, and finally railroad engine. Keaton's love/hate relationship with technology and machinery shines as he becomes one with his beloved locomotive and wrestles with a finicky cannon that threatens to blow his engine off the tracks; with tremendous dexterity, he nails the humor with inimitably deadpan takes. Spunky Marion Mack makes a perfect partner for Keaton, not merely a foil but a gifted comedienne in her own right. Other Keaton films contain more laughs and inspired comic stunts, but none combines romance, adventure, and comedy into a solid story as seamlessly as this silent masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker
In Steamboat Bill Jr., Keaton stars in the story of a college-educated young man who comes home to help his father work on his Mississippi River steamboat and immediately demonstrates just what a landlubber he is. What's worse, the woman he falls for is the daughter of his father's worst rival, a bullying rich guy who wants to drive Buster's boat out of business. Keaton's slapstick is inspired and precise, particularly during an amazing sequence in which he tries to walk across town during a tornado. Watch in amazement as the front of a building falls on Keaton and he walks away without a scratch. --Marshall Fine
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Top Customer Reviews
This DVD set of all of his works as an independant film maker during the 1920s are here for all of us to enjoy and to marvel at once more or for the first time.
Stan Laurel,another one of the true comedic geniuses of the cinema and his contemporary, once said of Buster:
"Another 'great'.....One of the reasons why I love Buster so much is because he lives comedy as well as practices it.Some of his things are better than Chaplins'"(from 'Mr.Laurel & Mr.Hardy'-John McCabe).
Truer words never spoken and this set proves Stans' words in spades.
Instead of getting into a detailed analysis of each film on technical/restoration and artistic merits(which considering the amount of films to review would take up more space than is available!),I will just give you a brief overview of the set.
As already stated the set contains ALL of his shorts AND his features from the 20s.
Now one must realize and be forewarned that the quality of these prints run from excellent to poor.A good portion fall somewhere between them.
The reasons for this are that some of these films I don't doubt strictly speaking from an age and condition standpoint are probably the best that are currently available and that could be obtained for this release.
Some I suspect were not the best obtainable prints available and /or were not restored to their fullest potential.
Some also may be a combination of poor prints and lacklustre restoration work.
However when you view a top notch print it is a revelation.My vote for best film in this set is Seven Chances.Read more ›
Overall, I was not disappointed. The images are extremely sharp and clean for movies of this vintage. They almost look brand new, save for some inevitable, but minor artifacts of age. The General is tinted monochrome. Mostly sepia, with some blue tinted night scenes, a common effect in silent films. Steamboat Bill is straight black and white.
Many people are not aware that The General is based on a true story about a locomotive stolen during the Civil War (see: [...] and that the real locomotive now resides in a museum in Kennesaw, GA. The Keaton film is one long exciting chase scene. The first time I saw it, I was actually a little disappointed. It really isn't a comedy, like most of Keaton's films. Rather it is an action movie with sight gags. Once I understood that, I really appreciated the genius of the film, and it is now one of my all-time favorites. It was filmed on location near Cottage Grove, Oregon.
Steamboat Bill Jr. is pure fun. It ranks among the best of Keaton's works, I think. Its the story of the son of a steamboat captain, who falls in love with the daughter of a rival boat operator. The climactic storm scene boasts a number of special effects that rival, or even surpass, today's computer generated effects for believeability. There is also one really hokey, but funny effect involving a flying tree.
My favorite scene in Steamboat Bill was in a hat shop, where there is an inside joke that will be understood only by those who have seen more of Keaton's work.
I would give this DVD five stars instead of four, except that I have mixed feelings about the Alloy Orchestra soundtrack.Read more ›
This is a huge collection of films (11 features and 19 shorts), so reviewing individual items is not going to be beneficiary. These discs have also been released individually, and I've already written many words on each of them. But in general terms, I did find that I preferred his short films to his longer works. The feature films don't quite have the frantic pace to them that made the shorter films so memorable and enjoyable. Of course, comparisons to his short movies a little unfair, as those shorts are rightly praised as some of the funniest sequences ever filmed. But there are some incredible moments in his features as well as some strong movies.
But those shorts. Wow. Here are some of the most memorable movie scenes I have ever viewed. Once seen, who can forget the literally hundreds of angry police officers chasing Keaton in COPS, or the prisoner bungee jumping from the end of a noose in CONVICT 13, or the DIY house being demolished by a train in ONE WEEK? These films are fast-paced, surreal, bizarre and hilarious. I loved them to pieces.
Prop comedy is something that is now horrifyingly associated with such painfully annoying clowns as Carrot Top (Lord help us). But in the slapstick era, this was something that was not only funny, it could be downright diabolical.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
the old chaplin vs keaton thing seems all the more pointless upon viewing the bulk of keatons work.
comparing them is a bit like the old apples and oranges thing. Read more
Great cinematography and action for one of the most impressive early comedies. Roger Ebert calls the Alloy Orchestra "the best in the world at accompanying silent film". Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by Ardeal
Buster Keaton's love of history, engineering and operatic displays of action are put to their finest use in his masterwork, The General. Read more
This is a very good collection of the "essentials" of Keaton. One problem I have is that the bonus disk includes the complete "Hard Luck" (it adds back in the... Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004 by D. Junius
While the Kino releases of these and other Buster Keaton films are entertaining, this release has the advantage of (1) being taken from excellent prints of the movies, and (2) the... Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by Primadogga
Favorite movies, like books, plays, and music, are purely subjective. "The General" happens to be my favorite film comedy - I have seen no other to match it. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by F. Adcock
I don't disagree with the minor complaints of some of the other reviews of this Kino set of Buster Keaton's 1920s films. The music isn't always at the highest level. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003
Well, at least it's the one I was waiting for. "The General" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and "Steamboat Bill" is my second most favorite Keaton... Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2003 by L. Barden
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