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The Art of Buster Keaton

The Art of Buster Keaton, an 11-disk set by KinoEditorial Review of The Art of Buster Keaton, courtesy of Amazon.com

buy-from-amazon Buster Keaton was arguably the cinema’s first modernist, an old-fashioned romantic with a 20th-century mind behind a deadpan visage. His films brim with some of the most breathtaking stunts and ingenious gags ever put on film, all perfectly engineered to look effortless. And, as Kino’s magnificent 11-disc boxed set The Art of Buster Keaton conclusively shows, they are among the funniest ever made. Keaton warped gags until they left the plane of reality in such shorts as The Playhouse (1921) and The Frozen North(1922), and takes a logic-defying leap into the very nature of cinema itself in his hilarious Sherlock Jr. (1924). He takes on the mechanical world with Rube Golberg ingenuity in The Navigator(1924) and perfects his match between man and massive machine in Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), which features the funniest hurricane scene ever put to film, and The General (1927), one of the greatest comedies of all time.

In addition to the previously released 11 features and 19 shorts from the peak of Keaton’s career, this set boasts the exclusive Keaton Plus, a collection of rarities and tributes. The greatest find is the long-lost ending to Hard Luck (1921), now restored to complete the film’s final inspired gag. Other highlights include newly discovered scenes from Daydreams (1922) and The Love Nest(1923), entertaining excerpts from Keaton’s 1951 TV show Life with Buster Keaton (he’s still got it!), and his rare dramatic turn in the 1954 television play The Awakening. –Sean Axmaker