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Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection [14-Disc Blu-ray Box Set]
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(Dec 11, 2012)
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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 the following “Ultimate Edition” releases of: BUSTER KEATON: 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) (exclusive to the box set until 2013), STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928) AND LOST KEATON (1934-1937)
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As for the 3 discs with the earliest shorts of Buster, some of them are improved, especially Cops, The high sign, The balloonatic and The Boat because they were enhanced so they are clearer, I don't know why they chose only 4 because a lot more of them could use restoration. That was my biggest disapointment of the box set, not much effort to restore these shorts, they look a little better and that's it.But I love the fact that they were in chronological order and the little commentaries on most of them, those 2 things were fun. As for the feature lenght movies, The Saphead is interesting because you have 2 different versions of the film, but the improvement picturewise was small. Our hospitaly for the feature films is my biggest disapointment, I compare with my DVD and there's not much improvement. A thing that bugged me also was they kept the old title cards, a little restoration could have been interesting for a clearer reading of the cards. Sherlock Jr. also not a great difference with the old DVD but there's 3 soundtracks to choose from so that's interesting. The 3 ages also not a great improvement picturewise. After that, it starts to get better, Seven chances is amazing the image is clear with a lot of detail, good improvement against the DVD. The Navigator, very good also much clearer image than the DVD on the old set. Go West and Battling Butler, the image was pretty good ans stable on DVD and now it's a little better, a little more detail and clarity. The General, amazing!! this is the masterpiece improvement and it's my favorite movie, so I was happy when I saw that.
College, the print was good and now it's better, this one is a very good improvement. Steamboat Bill Jr. the movie looked good on DVD and now it's more clear so another good improvement here. Overall, the picture quality on theses features movies and shorts is better than DVD at different degrees, I learned by comparing DVD movie by blu-ray movie that Kino is not Criterion, they don't spend a lot of money on improving the quality of there titles. I know they could but restoration is expensive and I accept the fact that they're doing what they could. There is an improvement but it could have been a little better. I'm still happy because these classics never looked better and some of them looked amazing, almost every film got a 5.1 DTS ausio track, the extras are great and they gave me a few audio commentaries on my favorites Buster features so I loved that. The packaging is wonderful too, the box contains 4 discs and everything is in there. So my final words are, if you're a fan of Buster and you don't have the other box-set it's a no-brainer that this is a must buy. But if you have the old DVD box-set, you need to be a big fan of picture quality like me or be a big a fan of sound quality because the improvement is there but the old DVD set can do the job too.
Buster Keaton is a cinematic legend for a reason...purchase this set with the highest recommendation possible!
(My only "complaint" for this set is that the included synopses of the films often spoil the best gags, which isn't a problem for the films I've seen already, but it's a warning I'd like to give to just hold off on reading those until after you've watched everything.)