The General('27,Buster Keaton)...Which to buy/quality?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Tony Scello, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. Tony Scello

    Tony Scello Second Unit

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    I'm thinking of picking up Buster Keaton's silent comedy classic on DVD and found that there are at least two versions of this. One is a very inexpensive one put out by Gotham Distribution (I think) and the other is a more expensive version put out by Kino Video. Does anybody have either of these discs and care to comment on audio/video quality, extras, etc. Thanks.
     
  2. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I haven't seen the Gotham Version, but the Kino version is considered the definitive version on DVD. Don't hesitate to buy any of the Keaton titles released by Kino as they are generally the best copies available.
     
  3. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    If it is a silent and was released by Image, Kino, Milestone, Film Preservation Associates, Criterion, or any major studio...it's the one to buy.

    If you are already a Keaton fan, I'd get the box set "The Art of Buster Keaton" which has all of his post-Arbuckle/pre-MGM films.
     
  5. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    I agree with, Patrick. The Kino Art of Buster Keaton box set is one of the best purchases I ever made, and is a jewel of my collection. Barnes & Noble lists it for around $120 (40% off the nearly $200 retail price). That works out to less than $11 per disc (11 DVDs come in the set). These films have endless replay value.
     
  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    This is good to know and plan on getting the Kino version

    thanks

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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  8. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Yes I've got the Eureka Region 2 which I believe is just the same as the Kino. That's just fine as are the Stonevision discs which I believe again are just PAL versions of the Kinos : the shorts and features paired together are the same. I've noticed quite a few other cheap versions of The General : the film I believe is in the public domain but I think I'd avoid these like the plague. Thanks for the link to the Bensons site Mark some tempting prices there for a few R2 silents!
     
  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Thanks to both Mark & Derek for the tip about Euraka and will order from the link you gave me

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    The Eureka bargains link is:

    http://www.bensons-world.co.uk/dvd/p...eureka2003.htm

    I got The Lost World (SE) myself through this offer, though I believe that one is pretty cheap in R1 too. Seems like a nice disc (just arrived/only sampled it), with a rather bizarre keepcase in slipcase in another slipcase package.

    I have the R2 Dr Caligari disc, and I believe it is identical to the Kino version, with the commentary and the A Tale Of A Vampire short.

    Don't buy the 2 disc version of Nosferatu, though. The R2/BFI version seems to be the best representation of the movie. If you want that pretty cheap order it at Splash DVD:

    http://www.splashdvd.com/splash/sear...520&act=detail

    (it's the wrong vover, but I'm pretty sure this is the one)

    And use the following code: QNVFSDVDADPHWX for a GBP 2,- discount - you can use it as many times as you want BTW, but only untill Sunday 6 PM. [​IMG]

    It's still not very cheap at GBP 10.99 (+ GBP 1,- shipping if you live on the mainland of Europe), but the BFI dvd's probably won't get any cheaper than this....

    Very OT: The 2 disc packages of Citizen Kane, Trainspotting and Once Upon A Time In America are also GBP 10.99 with the coupon, so get them if you don't already have them [​IMG]
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Milestone Video will release the BFI/Photoplay Nosferatu in 2004.
     
  12. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Why if they are exactly the same ? They aren't always cheap I was just lucky enough to find them in a store(Fopp)at £5 each. Frankly if they copied the transfers its not much to do with the consumer and they certainly don't seem to be bootlegs as they are widely available on region 2 websites. I can't always buy my DVDs online and this freed me up to buy other discs like the ones in the Bensons offer. Everyone can buy what they want but would you turn your back on these excellent transfers if you found them at £5 each? As far as I know there is nothing inferior about these discs at all.

    By the way if you're interested in more Keaton I see two (only two I'm afraid) of the five discs are available at blackstar.co.uk at just £3.99 each these are Battling Butler and The Saphead. Perhaps these aren't the greatest Keaton but they are entertaining and for £3.99 you get two shorts thrown in for good measure. The shorts on The Saphead : One Week and The High Sign are two of Buster's all-time best. Blackstar seem to have a sale of classic film comedy here http://www.blackstar.co.uk/video/promotion/feb03_comedy looks like probably mostly mediocre prints and movies but the Keatons and volumes 4 and 5 of The Chaplin Collection are well worth the money.
     
  14. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Something weird happened with my last post its not registering on the index. Anyway just to amplify it a bit : not everyone can afford the Kino boxset (a lot of money to produce in one go)or has access to the net to purchase it (which is the only way you can get it in the UK). What if you don't want all the discs ? What's the situation concerning the availability of the individual Kino titles ? The website I use for buying most of my silent DVDs seems to list some of these as OOP.
     
  15. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    EDIT: Must read better....

    DeepDiscountDVD, where I've bought some of my silent titles (like the Griffith set & Nibelungen) has the Griffith Masterworks titles listed individually:

    Birth Of A Nation (2 discs)
    Orphans Of The Storm
    Broken Blossoms
    Intolerance

    The last two have different cover images on the site, but I think they're just lazily showing the old covers instead of having scanned in the new ones, because the specs look identical to the discs in the Masterworks set. [​IMG]
     
  16. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Derek:

    I had also heard somewhere that the individual releases might be going OOP. However, Kino's website does not indicate it, and DVD Price Search lists many US retailers that have The General in stock, so that may not be true. It looks like PlayUSA.com doesn't carry any of the Keaton titles, and I'm not sure which of the US etailers ship to the UK.

    If you want only selected titles from the box set, I'd recommend (in rougly this order):

    The General (which includes the great short Cops)
    Our Hospitality/Sherlock Jr.
    College (plus three shorts, including Hard Luck--arguably his best)
    Steamboat Bill, Jr.
    The Navigator
     
  17. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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    There doesn't appear to be a US release of the Brownlow/Gill/Thames TV version with a Carl Davis musical score put out on laserdisc in 1989. The print/transfer is actually a bit sharper than the Kino DVD, but I prefer the latter for its score by Robert Israel, for small orchestra and based on characteristic contemporary (to the Civil War) themes. Davis's full symphonic treatment doesn't fit the film as well, for me, anyway.
     
  18. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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  19. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Sorry but I'm afraid the horse has already bolted and I've got these already. I repeat though : what are you meant to do here in the UK if you don't have internet access ? I do but I can't buy all my DVDs online.

    These are the only editions of The Saphead, Our Hospitality/ Sherlock Junior, Seven Chances and Battling Butler available in stores in the UK and you can find them in HMV etc. If these are pirates where are the official versions for UK buyers ? I have all the respect for Mr Shepard but where is the choice for the UK buyer? I didn't have a clue when I bought these and the quality is excellent : there wasn't a sticker on them saying "these are pirated versions of the laserdiscs" and I'm sure many people have bought them. I'm sorry if no new issues of silent films come from it but surely the issue of any silent DVDs encourages sales.

    If Mr Shepard doesn't want us to buy these where is the British version of the Kino boxset ? Are all the Stonevisions' pirates ? Then we can't buy many titles easily available in the US. Don't you realise how few silent films are actually available here ? You're asking us to cut down our choice even further. The Keatons are Region 0 I believe but many silent DVDs are now getting region coded meaning many just can't buy them. Why is this happpening if the American producers want to encourage international sales ?

    Frankly this whole strange affair seems like yet another kick in the teeth to the average British DVD buyer who just wants the convenience of buying some titles in their local store. Surely that isn't much to ask for.
     
  20. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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