Opinions on The Art of Buster Keaton box set?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick McCart, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I'm seriously considering buying the Kino box set of Buster Keaton films sometime this year.

    How is the video quality? Are the musical scores good? What kind of supplements are on the individual discs and also the Keaton Plus disc?

    Thanks ahead of time...
     
  2. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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    I have only seven of the Keaton DVD:s. (I don't have Navigator, College, Saphead or Plus) They generally look good and have good, well fitting music.

    I was disapointed with "The General". It looks very soft in comparison to my 15 (!) year old VHS of the Photoplay Productions version - and NO, it's not becouse of edge enhancement. PP must have had better film material or something.

    Sherlock JR is sharp and have good contrast but is unsteady. This is not so horrible in itself, but video-noise-reduction artifacts makes different parts of the picture "float" independent of each other becouse of this. Also the music is very different from the other films in that it is a more modern, experimental score. I personally don't like it, but that is a question of taste I guess.

    "Seven Chances" looks very, very good. Rock steady, pin-sharp and good grey-scale. The Technicolor section is somewhat deteriorated but is still also pin-sharp and rock-steady.
     
  3. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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    I would like to add that the features generally have better picture quality than the shorts. But that has to do with the surviving source material.
    In some cases, better material have surfaced since the transfers were made circa 7 years ago. Some newly discovered material on some of the shorts is on the "Keaton Plus"-disc.
    The music varies from newly recorded orchestral tracks and older organ recordings. This, of course, give them different technical quality.
    The menys are a bit clumsy made, You have to step a lot to get to the short films or second feature.
    All in all I'm very glad to have them on DVD!
    There is a 4-DVD-box released in France (PAL) with all the shorts in newly mastered versions. I have not seen this.
    You can find reviews of meny of the Keaton DVD:s at: http://www.touchstone.freeserve.co.uk/keaton/index.html
     
  4. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Most of the transfers are from the laserdisc days, which explains the less-than-stellar quality. Go West and a few others that were iffy were redone by David Shepard, but the economics just aren't there to remaster the set completely, he tells me. I found them to be perfectly acceptable, though not drop dead gorgeous. The musical scores are high quality.
    I'm still waiting for the Keaton Plus disc to be released separately, since I bought all of the discs individually before the boxset came along. [​IMG]
     
  5. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    I thought the transfers were pretty good, though not very good for the accompanying shorts on each disc - but those are generally older.
    The menus are a travesty though. They will make you think that you are in 1997 again.
     
  6. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Patrick,
    You can’t go wrong with this box set. Although there are no supplements on the DVDs apart from the shorts themselves, the bonus KEATON PLUS disc redresses the balance somewhat with 3½ hours’ worth of interesting, as well as entertaining (not to mention very rare), material. The quality of the prints varies from film to film, but they are generally quite good and we should be glad they have survived after all these years!
    Take a look at these links for reviews of individual DVDs, including the bonus disc:
    THE SAPHEAD/ONE WEEK/THE HIGH SIGN:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=564&story=
    THREE AGES/THE GOAT/MY WIFE’S RELATIONS:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=563&story=
    OUR HOSPITALITY/SHERLOCK JR.:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=565&story=
    THE NAVIGATOR/THE BOAT/THE LOVE NEST:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=566&story=
    SEVEN CHANCES/NEIGHBORS/THE BALLOONATIC:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=568&story=
    GO WEST/THE SCARECROW/THE PALEFACE:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=567&story=
    BATTLING BUTLER/THE HAUNTED HOUSE/THE FROZEN NORTH:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=569&story=
    THE GENERAL/COPS/THE PLAYHOUSE:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=570&story=
    COLLEGE/THE ELECTRIC HOUSE/HARD LUCK/THE BLACKSMITH:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=571&story=
    STEAMBOAT BILL JR./CONVICT 13/DAYDREAMS:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...&id=572&story=
    KEATON PLUS:
    http://www.silentera.com/DVD/keatonPlusDVD.html
    As you can see, these reviews are quite thorough and I need add nothing to what the reviewers have written, except that I recommend this wonderful box set without reservations! Keaton Rules!
     
  7. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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  8. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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    ...and me also!
     
  9. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Take it with a grain of salt, but an Amazon user comment claims the Keaton Plus bonus disc will be released as a stand-alone on October 15! It's the first comment on the Art of Buster Keaton box set page on Amazon.com.
    BTW, how much does this box set usually go for? Amazon has it for a whopping $179 (or so; I'm not looking at the listing right now). I was in Borders today, and they said their price was $109! Could that be anywhere close to right? Could they have been looking at the VHS box set?
    Before you wonder why I couldn't just look myself, they didn't have any in stock. They were consulting their computer. [​IMG]
     
  10. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  11. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Damin. I was wondering if there might be a price-checker like that!

    If the price I was quoted is correct, it's one hell of a bargain. $10 cheaper than the cheapest on-line price, and $70 cheaper than what Amazon wants? Wow.
     

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