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SPHE Press Release: The Buster Keaton Anniversary Collection

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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 02 2006 - 10:10 PM

The Great Stone Face Breaks His Silence! “The Buster Keaton Anniversary Collection” 10 Short Films Starring One of the Greatest Comic Actors of All Time Two-Disc Set Available on DVD March 7, 2006! Culver City, CA (January 3, 2006) – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Buster Keaton Collection, a two-disc set containing 10 short films starring the incomparable Buster Keaton, on March 3, 2006. The set includes all-new commentary, a 30-minute documentary and a reproduction of an original, annotated script from one of the shorts, with a foreword from Buster Keaton’s granddaughter. Known affectionately as the “Great Stone Face,” Keaton enjoyed a career that began in Hollywood’s Golden Age and continued until his death in 1965. With his relentlessly deadpan expression, Keaton garnered big laughs early in his career and made a name for himself in such highly regarded films as Sherlock, Jr. and The General. Working almost constantly, Keaton had a rebirth of popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s and enjoyed featured roles in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sunset Boulevard and Around the World in Eighty Days. Spanning his middle period, The Buster Keaton Collection offers a selection of shorts from the 1930s and ‘40s and is priced at $24.96 SLP. Keaton was a major star in Hollywood, working with such legends as Fatty Arbuckle, Jack Benny, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and while he made a name for himself in silent films, he was one of the few early stars to make the successful transition to the “talkies.” Working throughout the 1930s and ‘40s, he starred in a number of acclaimed short comedies which are represented in The Buster Keaton Collection. In 1960, Buster Keaton was presented with an honorary Academy Awardâ in recognition of his unique talents which brought immortal comedies to the silver screen. The Buster Keaton Collection features classic Keaton in “Mooching Through Georgia,” “General Nuisance” and eight other hilarious shorts. In addition to the shorts, the collection contains an all-new 30-minute featurette on Keaton as well as commentaries for several of the films, and a reproduction of an original, annotated script from one of the shorts, with a foreword from Buster Keaton’s granddaughter. Synopses GENERAL NUISANCE (1941) Buster, as an eccentric millionaire's son, encounters two young army nurses. He decides to join the army and attracts their attention in a variety of ways. HIS EX MARKS THE SPOT (1940) Buster devises a novel solution to paying alimony by allowing his obnoxious ex-wife (Elsie Ames) and her even more obnoxious boyfriend (Matt McHugh) move in with him and his second wife (Dorothy Appleby). MOOCHING THROUGH GEORGIA (1939) A man relates how he outwitted the Yankee army during the Civil War. NOTHING BUT PLEASURE (1940) Keaton and wife (Dorothy Appleby) combine a car-buying spree in Detroit with what they assume will be a pleasant drive home that naturally turns into a nightmare. PARDON MY BERTH MARKS (1940) Whether in the newsroom or on board a speeding train, aspiring reporter Buster Keaton is determined to get his story and end up on the front page. PEST FROM THE WEST (1939) A millionaire vacationing in Mexico falls for a local girl and sets out to win her. SO YOU WON'T SQUAWK (1941) Keaton works as a clerk in a nightclub run by a mobster who defies the syndicate and ends up landing Buster in hot water. THE TAMING OF THE SNOOD (1940) Buster stars in this comedy about the capture of a jewel thief. “The Taming of the Snood” marked the Keaton series debut of Elsie Ames, an eccentric dancer who was being groomed for stardom. THE SPOOK SPEAKS (1940) A famous magician has perfected a host of new illusions and tricks. Leaving on vacation, he is aware that his secrets may be stolen and so he hires Buster and Elsie as caretakers. SHE'S OIL MINE (1941) Elsie, an oil heiress being wooed by a phony foreign nobleman, takes refuge in a plumbing shop where Buster hides her. Eventually, Buster ends up in a duel with the nobleman, but as the duelists step off their paces, a hunter fires a shot and the nobleman and his entourage flee. PRODUCT SPECS Not Rated DVD Order Date: 2/2/06 DVD Catalog # 12137 Running Time: 200 minutes SLP: DVD, $24.96


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#2 of 11 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx


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Posted January 02 2006 - 10:53 PM

more Keaton at last


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#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted January 03 2006 - 09:56 AM

The price is right, but how are these films? I'm not really familiar with Keatons work, but I never have heard much praise for his sound films.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted January 03 2006 - 10:15 AM

It's great that these "acclaimed" short films are coming out, for us Buster completists, but...acclaimed by whom? We're not talking about his silent days here. Now, I admit I haven't seen these yet, but I've heard largely terrible things about his sound work in general...

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Rodney


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Posted January 03 2006 - 10:28 AM

this is why I really love DVD's. The ability to see something like this. Who would have ever thought they would be available for us to enjoy? Now we can find out for ourselves if his "talkies" were good or not.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Tory


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Posted January 04 2006 - 09:39 AM

From what I have seen that statement is false, perhaps he is being judged at a higher standard, but really he is one of the greatest competing in the field he is playing in at the time.
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#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted January 05 2006 - 04:57 AM

What the heck "anniversary" are they talking about? They missed the centennial of his birth by many years. And yes, his sound shorts that I've seen don't measure up to his silent work, but it's still pretty good. I'm looking forward to this set.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   LaurenceGarvey


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Posted March 08 2006 - 07:09 AM

The new 2-disc set from Sony is admirable; I just wish the movies were better!

All ten of Keaton's 1939-1941 Columbia short subjects are included here, and they range from very good (PEST FROM THE WEST) to the worst he ever made (THE SPOOK SPEAKS). The problem is that Jules White directed these things as if he were making Three Stooges comedies (MOOCHING THROUGH GEORGIA was remade a few years later as the Stooges' UNCIVIL WAR BIRDS, and it's practically the same film, demonstrating how White's films depended on slapstick and physical gags with the stars being interchangeable).

The films -- which have never been available in any format for decades -- look and sound terrific, and have been well restored. There's commentary on all 10 of the films, and a replica of a shooting script (with White's notes all over it).

A full review is up at www.inthebalcony.com

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Bert Greene

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Posted March 08 2006 - 08:55 AM

Indeed, it's a nice set. I picked it up yesterday. Being familiar with some of these beforehand, I knew what I was getting into. Some fans of Keaton's marvelous silents might be a tad aghast at seeing him in some of these rambunctious Columbia shenanigans. Generally, I'm not much of a fan of Jules White's style of knockabout humor myself. Even so, I'm getting a goofy kick out of viewing these. Probably due to the sheer audaciousness of some of the slapstick. I'd be open to more Columbia shorts collections. The early Andy Clyde ones were really quite good at times. Anyway, Sony made a very attractive set out of these. The shorts probably don't merit it, but I'm glad nonetheless.

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   JohnPM


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Posted March 08 2006 - 09:16 PM

The Keaton Columbias were a pleasant surprise for this viewer. They're never less than fascinating to watch, and it's interesting to see Keaton doing stunts and falls in some, while leaving it to his doubles in others. DVD quality, of course, is fantastic.

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#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Jakerman1988



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Posted August 24 2010 - 06:00 PM

The Buster Keaton Columbia shorts get a lot of crap from people, but I personally enjoyed all of them since I bought it off of DeepDiscount at a reasonable price. The video and sound quality are superb, the picture is grainy, but it looks better than ever. This is also the first of the non-Three Stooges Columbia shorts to be released by themselves. The first one was a Monte Collins/Tom Kennedy horror comedy "Midnight Blunders" which was included as an extra on the "Sam Katzman DVD Collection". The Keaton set was worth every cent. I really wish Sony would release more of the non-Three Stooges Columbia shorts onto DVD. They were planning to release all of Charley Chase's shorts in a box set, but it was pulled.

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