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Discussion in 'DVD' started by Patrick McCart, Dec 15, 2004.
But I want Hollywood and Turner Classic Movies' MGM: When The Lion Roars!!!
It's also worth noting (in answer to my own 2-year-old question a few posts above) that Buster Keaton's General (with Carl Davis score) and Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow were made available by Network in the UK this year (and can be found at Amazon's UK site). The General appears to be only available as part of The Buster Keaton Chronicles, but this comes at a fairly cheap price. Anybody have comments on the Chronicles set? I have yet to spring for Kino's and wouldn't mind a less expensive alternative, especially with the Carl Davis scores for The General and Our Hospitality. Sorry for the thread distraction (though with an obvious Brownlow element). . . .
If it's Thames, it'll go to A&E.
I found the transfers of the films in 'Chronicles' quality variable, from the pretty good (the 'Thames Silents' - complete with the Davis scores you mention) to the downright awful. The documentary included was pretty disposible - far better to buy Network's Buster Keaton - A Hard Act to Follow. On my wish-list is the MoC The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films, and I can heartily recommend this excellent version of The General, plus this set, both from 'Cinema Club' via the excellent French 'Lobster Films' restorations.
Ah, well. Thanks for the info.
I knew this news is too good to be tue.
At least Unknown Chaplin made it. I'm wondering what's keeping it back, though. Cinema Europe has also been taken out of print.
I'm glad you cleared that up; I've been puzzling over that for ages.
Thank you John & Jonathan for your very valuable clarifications. Pity about the Network issues. So for a guy in the states right now, the MoC set is the best presentation for the shorts (better than the much more expensive Kinos)?
It does look that way Douglas.
Before this thread, I was not aware of the these different Keaton presentations. I've owned The Art of Buster Keaton on both laserdisc and DVD, but I am interested in these new and different editions, and have a few questions. 1.) Does the MoC version of the shorts use the same scores as The Art of Buster Keaton? (The quality of the French version actually looks better in the DVD beaver captures, but apparently the titles are in French.) If not, are they good? 2.) John Hodson had a link to a new version of The General, as well as a set that features the Carl Davis version. Apparently, the video quality of the Carl Davis version is scarcely better than VHS. However, I am interested in that newer BBC version. I realize it does not have Davis' score, but does it have a good one? I already have THIS VERSION which has (IMO) a poor score but a great transfer. The Robert Israel version in the Kino set has a decent score but a fairly poor transfer. I'm just looking for the best version. Thanks in advance for your advice.
The transfer of the 'Cinema Club' The General is exactly the same as the Mk2 French version reviewed at DVD Beaver; you have a choice of scores, Robert Israel's mono score recorded in 1995, or a quite fabulous new score in 5.1 surround by Joe Hisaishi, one of the most charming, sympathetic new silent film scores I've yet to hear. Add to that an unrivalled list of extras, a beautiful transfer, and you the best presentation of the film extant. Disc 1: A fully restored High Definition version of film Introduction by David Robinson (5 mins) 'Movie Restoration' featurette (3 mins) 'Recording The 2004 Score' featurette (8 mins) Disc 2: An extract from the tinted version of the film (7 mins) 'The Railroader': a follow up film to 'The General' (25 mins) 'Buster Keaton Rides Again' documentary (55 mins) 'Filming The General' featurette 'Orson Welles Presents The General' featurette (11 mins) 'Return Of The General' short film (11 mins) 'The Iron Mule' short film (13 mins) 'Alice's Tin Pony': a Walt Disney cartoon (6 mins) 'Filmography' featurette (11 mins) 'The Great Locomotive Chase' trailer BTW, the transfers on the other R2 'Cinema Club' Keaton set are just as impressive.
Another vote here for Hollywood. A truly wonderful series and the opening credits combined with the score are extremely moving. I watched The Unknown Chaplin and thought this an intersting piece too. I own most of Chaplin's work on DVD, but nothing of Keaton or Harold Lloyd. I have ordered The General (2 disc edition with the 5.1 score), but could someone indicate what other collections I should buy/are worthy of buying (in terms of quality of presentation). I am not so much interested in whether a film is thought to be better or worse than another one, but more in terms of the transfers. Any help would be appreciated.
This thread may help Nick.
Yesterday I finally got hold of the R2 WB Vol 2 Charlie Chaplin Collection for a bargain price. I know what I'll be watching Oscar
Thanks for the link John. So, if I am reading you right, you say that you got rid of the Network set in favour of the Masters of Cinema 4 disc edition? A quick run through of the titles available on the Network set reveals the following not on any of the other sets you mentioned: The Saphead, Our Hospitality, Sherlock Jr, The Navigator, Seven Chances, Go West, Battling Butler and the documentary The Great Stone Face. Have I read that right and if so is the Network edition not worth having for these titles alone (ie the Network set and the other DVDs you mention?).
I weighed it all and figured that something better had to come along at some time and it simply wasn't worth the shelf space (which is at a premium). I'm a patient guy. I got a decent price for the Network set, and I'll pick the MoC set up somewhere down the line.
Absolutely you should rush out and get the Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection box from New Line as soon as possible. The films for the most part are in spectacular shape. It really is one of the best DVD sets I've ever seen, and it contains most of Lloyd's features and many shorts too, along with some great extras. I was always a Chaplin guy, but after buying the Harold Lloyd box, I think I've grown to like him the best of all the silent comedians.
I second the Lloyd recommendation. If quality of transfers matters, you will be impressed by the collection. Lloyd and his heirs did a great job of preserving his films, and the versions in the set have great musical scores by Robert Israel and Carl Davis. I also agree that I sort of like Lloyd's films more than Chaplin's. Lloyd is not funny per se, as are Chaplin and Keaton (that is, Lloyd's characters are not peculiar little guys with a funny walk, strange costume, etc), but the stories, situations and gags are funny (and often quite thrilling).
Yesterday, I received the MK2 version of The General from Amazon.UK. It really is a remarkable special edition, with lots of great bonus material. The film itself was wonderfully restored, IMO, and looked more like it was shot in the 40's or 50's rather than in 1926. I've never seen such a sharp and blemish-free presentation of this film before. However, I was not overly fond of the music score. It sounded great in 5.1, and was, for the most part, servicable, but I strongly disliked the "main theme" which is heard in the opening sequence when the train is returning to the station. I expected some sort of Americana theme, as would be apropos in a film set in Georgia during the American Civil War. The composer gives us a rather heavy handed waltz theme in a minor key that simply does not fit this film (it sounds rather like Khatchaturian's Masquerade waltz). The theme probably would have sounded great in a costume film set in Europe in the 19th century, but seems incongruous (to my ears) in a Civil War comedy/adventure. Fortunately, this theme is used sparingly, mainly at the beginning and end of the movie. The rest of the score is OK. Luckily, they thoughtfully included Robert Israel's 1995 score, which works fine for me. It would have been nice to have the Carl Davis score, but, considering how great the film looks, Israel's is certainly good enough, and does not distract from the visuals, so it's all good.