Buster Keatons' talents as a performer,gagman,writer,director,et al are in evidence here to their fullest and greatest degree.
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.It has the original two tint opening and I have never ever seen such a clear and crisp print of this film anywhere.
And as if getting ALL of Busters' features wasn't enough to satisfy even the most dedicated of Keaton-philes,Kino has inserted an extra DVD with some rare and hard to come by features on it.There are clips from his early 50s TV show,TV commercials,a couple of 30s shorts,The Awakening, a dramatic play aired on Douglas Fairbanks Jr.s' show(which I never tire of watching!),an interactive tour of Busters' film locations prepared by the author of Silent Echoes,John Bengston,and much more.
When it came to purchasing this set I was probably like many of you and balked when looking at the price tag.I finally took a deep breath and took the plunge and I'm SO glad I did and I know you won't be disappointed.The most important thing to remember when deciding is just think about the amount of material here and all in one place,at your finger tips.That finally decided it for me.
I hope it decides it for you too.And enjoy Buster at his finest!!