Quality of Kino's Buster Keaton DVD's?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick McCart, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    For those who have seen or own any of Kino's Buster Keaton DVD's, how is the quality?

    I'm interested in buying the 10disc set, but don't if it's full of bad transfers. My only silent DVD is Image's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, so I'd like to see what to expect from Kino DVD. (Caligari is excellent, BTW.)
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I might be wrong, but I believe these are the exact same transfers that were earlier distributed by Image and are now just repackaged.

    If that is the case, you can't go wrong with The General, Seven Chances & Our Hospitality/Sherlock Jr. Given their age, they look amazing.

    The Technicolor into to Seven Chances is a bit beat up, but what can you do?
     
  3. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

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    Plenty good, given their age and the fact that you get Buster's equally classic short films along with the features.
    After you get the box, be sure and track down the two DVDs of surviving shorts he did with Fatty Arbuckle in the late teens. I haven't seen them yet myself (expecting Santa to come through for me [​IMG]), but everything I've read about them leads me to believe they're excellent too.
    Evan
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Seven Chances looks pretty darn good once it gets going. The only problem is, watching a tinted feature makes the B&W shorts that follow look kind of bad. I love tinting and am glad Kino/Image offers quite a few tinted silents.
     
  5. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Steamboat Bill Jr. is nice as well. The included shorts are more damaged.
     
  6. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The Kino Arbuckle/Keatons are quite nice, other than Moonshine, which looks like a VHS dupe of an 8mm print that was eaten by someone's dog. I have no idea whether there is any better source material extant on this one, however.
    Silent film impresario David Shepard just disclosed at alt.movies.silent that he's going to be issuing a disc of other versions of the Arbuckle/Keatons, supposedly with some better prints and some of the ones missing from Kino's set, but that it's going to be "a while in the cooker"....no idea how long that might mean. So if you're patient, you might wait on those. But for the features and Keaton solo shorts, the Art of Buster Keaton Kino discs (also produced by Shepard) are as good as it gets for the foreseeable future. Most of them are recycled LD transfers, though Shepard indicated that a new one was done for Go West. I never saw the LDs, but the DVDs I've watched look perfectly fine for material of this vintage.
    Milestone Films will be issuing a DVD in March or so with The Cook and A Reckless Romeo (both long thought lost, and missing from the Kino package of Arbuckle/Keatons), so there's more Keaton to watch for in the offing! These are happy days. [​IMG] That will leave only three of the Arbuckle/Keaton collaborations MIA on DVD (A Country Hero, lost, His Wedding Night, lost, and Oh, Doctor! buried away in a Norwegian film archive, unless Shepard has managed to get the rights to use it on his disc). Then we can start to work on Warner and their MGM Keaton features....ha! I should live so long!!
     
  7. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

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    Great info Mark!

    I was recently looking through Jim Kline's book, "The Complete Films of Buster Keaton," checking out which Keaton/Arbuckle shorts failed to make it onto the DVDs.

    Four of those you mentioned as being lost were also stated as such in the book (copyright 1993). However, Kline's discussion of His Wedding Night contains no reference to it being a "lost" film and, indeed, the structure and description of his review indicates that he had watched the film and had taken notes. When I saw that this wasn't on the DVDs, I was disappointed.

    I wonder what the truth is?

    Evan
     
  8. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

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    BTW,
    Has anyone seen the Double Feature DVD The Railrodder & Buster Keaton Rides Again? How's the DVD?
    I've only seen clips from those latter-day Keaton films and they seem quite good.
    Evan
     
  9. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Sam Graves

    Sam Graves Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple of questions: Is the cover art for the single discs in the Kino box set different from the Image releases? Are the discs in the box set in keepcases or snappers? I would look for myself but have yet to find one in a local B & M.
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Evan, interesting question about His Wedding Night...perhaps it's not lost after all, in which case it might make it to Shepard's disc. I took the 'lost' info on that short from the generally reliable www.silentera.com listing of lost films. I will ask David Shepard if he knows of an extant print.
    In the meantime, here is more jolly Arbuckle/Keaton news on this upcoming disc from Mr. Shepard himself:
     
  12. Eric Thrall

    Eric Thrall Stunt Coordinator

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    Sam - they are all in keepcases. I think the cover art is the same, but I'm not sure. I haven't seen the originals, just the new set.
     

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