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Buster Keaton Short Films Collection: 1920-1923

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Editorial review of Buster Keaton Short Films Collection, courtesy of

 For the first time ever, Kino International proudly presents a box set of all of Buster Keaton’s classic silent short films in one collection. All films have been digital remastered in high definition and include all new extras. —– DISC 1: THE HIGH SIGN (1920/21 – B&W – 19 Min.), ONE WEEK (1920 – B&W – 24 Min.), CONVICT 13 (1920 – B&W – 19 Min.), THE SCARECROW(1920 – B&W – 18 Min.), NEIGHBORS (1921 – B&W – 19 Min.), THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1921 – Color Tinted – 20 Min.), HARD LUCK (1921 – B&W 21 Min.). —– DISC 2: THE GOAT (1921 – B&W – 23 Min.), THE PLAY HOUSE (1921 – B&W – 23 Min.), THE BOAT (1921 – B&W – 23 Min.), THE PALEFACE (1922 – B&W – 20 Min.), COPS (1922 – B&W – 18 Min.), MY WIFE’S RELATIONS (1922 – B&W – 17 Min.). —– DISC 3: THE BLACKSMITH (1922 – B&W – 21 Min.), THE FROZEN NORTH (1922 – B&W – 17 Min.), DAY DREAMS (1922 – B&W – 19 Min.), THE ELECTRIC HOUSE (1922 – B&W – 23 Min.), THE BALLOONATIC (1923 – B&W – 22 Min.), THE LOVE NEST(1923 – Color Tinted – 20 Min.) —– SPECIAL FEATURES: Fifteen visual essays illustrated with clips and stills, written by various Keaton experts,

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Buster Keaton – 65th Anniversary Collection

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 Editorial Review of Buster Keaton – 65th Anniversary Collection, courtesy of

 An entire missing segment of Buster Keaton’s career is filled in with the release of this collection, which comprises the 10 shorts Keaton made at Columbia Pictures in 1939-41. If you’re a Keaton fan (and why on earth wouldn’t you be?) this section of the great man’s work has always been in dispute–and above all, hard to see. After his career collapsed at the beginning of the 1930s, Buster Keaton struggled to find a niche in Hollywood, and the Columbia contract was essentially his last sustained opportunity to headline in films on a regular basis. It was a difficult fit from the start: Keaton did not have the artistic control he enjoyed over his 1920s classics, and director Jules White (who helmed most of the Columbia shorts) had a radically different view of comedy from his star. White guided the hijinks of Columbia’s busiest comedy stars, the Three Stooges, and his leadpipe-to-the-noggin style did not mesh well with Keaton’s measured, logical approach.

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The Art of Buster Keaton

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Editorial Review of The Art of Buster Keaton, courtesy of

 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.

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The General

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The General (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition)

Product description of The General courtesy of


Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton s THE GENERAL is so brilliantly conceived and executed that it continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. This Kino Ultimate 2 Disc Edition was mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print struck from the original camera negative. Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit, and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive. Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails. Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct composition of a Mathew Brady Civil War photograph, wrote film historian David Robinson, No one not even Griffith or Huston and certainly not Fleming (Gone With the Wind) caught the visual aspect of the Civil War as Keaton did.Read More »The General

The Buster Keaton Collection

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Editorial Review of The Buster Keaton Collection, courtesy of

 The Buster Keaton Collection presents three of the first films (one, The Cameraman, a near masterpiece) Keaton made for MGM beginning in 1928, an arrangement that gradually ushered the great comic actor and director into the sound era but ultimately deprived him of creative control. The Cameraman, considered by many to be Keaton’s last important silent work, is an unusual story about a tintype portrait photographer (Keaton) who becomes a newsreel cameraman in order to win the heart of a secretary (Marceline Day). After flubbing an assignment by double-exposing some action footage, the hapless hero tries to prove himself in several memorable sequences of Keatonesque knockabout comedy (including a Chinatown street battle). There are also a couple of grace notes, such as a scene set in Yankee Stadium in which a solo Keaton exquisitely mimes the moves and attitudes of a pitcher. But The Cameraman’s strange, almost subconscious power is in its variation on an old Keaton refrain: The hero’s conflict over different kinds of authenticity, represented here on either side of a motion picture lens–the difference between capturing something real and living it.

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McHale’s Navy Season 1

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Editorial Review of McHale’s Navy, Season One (1962) starring Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Joe Flynn—courtesy of

 Something of a cross between M*A*S*H* (it’s set in wartime) and Sgt. Bilko (the emphasis in on ensemble acting, with a ringleader and his band of merry pranksters), McHale’s Navy isn’t on a level with those two immortal sit-coms. But this amiable show, debuting on DVD with all 36 black & white episodes from its first season (1962-63) on five discs, stands the test of time surprisingly well. Read More »McHale’s Navy Season 1

The Sid Caesar Collection – The Fan Favorites – 50th Anniversary Edition

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Editorial Review of The Sid Caesar Collection – The Fan Favorites – 50th Anniversary Edition, courtesy of

 “When we worked together,”reminisces Sid Caesar, “it was magic, and you don’t question magic.” So just enjoy this essential three-disc collection of vintage sketches from Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour. To work on these programs was to attend “the Harvard of Comedy,” and this “great amalgamation of talents,” which included Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca, Howard Morris, Nanette Fabray, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, and Neil and Danny Simon, were at the head of their class. “We did everything,” Caesar notes at one point, and the proof is on these discs: domestic sketches (“Life Begins at 7:45″ ), game show parodies (“Break Your Brains” ), spoofs of foreign films (“U-Bet-U” ), opera (“Gallipacci” ), and classical music (and a pantomime of “the 1812 Overture” ). It is a testament to the knowledge, technique, and taste of those who created the show that these 50-year-old sketches hold up as well as they do. This was the golden age of live television, when anything could happen, and the cast would have to go with it. In “Gallipacci,” Caesar’s make-up pencil breaks when his character, a heartbroken clown, is applying make-up to his face. Without missing a beat, Caesar rises to the potentially disastrous occasion with one of the most inspired ad-libs in television history.

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