It seems that physical media is one of the only traces of normality that we have left. Without the cinema keeping us occupied and the TV channels’ options repeating themselves, it’s good to see that we can still experience some new movies thanks to the wonders of DVD and Blu-Ray. Masters of Cinema has been leading the way recently with their vast options and glorious restorations and the long-awaited Buster Keaton sequel is just as good as the first.
Buster Keaton‘s movies are some of the most important work from the silent era. Although some montages and poor-quality renditions of his work are available on YouTube, nothing beats seeing the king of stunts in glorious 4K. The three films here, The Navigator, Seven Chances and Battling Butler are some of his lesser known works but are still home to some of his greatest sequences.
Portraying a loyal servant, a hopeless bachelor and a rich dandy aka boxer, Keaton’s ‘Great Stone Face’ persona is just as recognisable here as in his other work. If you’re new to silent movies then this is a perfect starter pack with all three films highlighting the technical brilliance of this era as well as their runtimes just averaging over the 60-minute work.
Eureka Entertainment also does not disappoint with the special features. Audio commentary is included by famed film historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan for The Navigator, as well as Joel Goss and Bruce Lawton for Seven Chances. Also a multitude of interviews with Buster Keaton from 1945 to 1960 in the later years of his life, along with rare shorts, a collector’s book and more.
Volume 2 of the Keaton collection gives recognition to his lesser known work of today, displaying the pinnacle of his career during the 1920s. With Masters of Cinema already announcing a Volume 3 for this collection and with a Keaton Shorts Box-Set still on shelves after it was released in 2006; soon, you’ll be able to have a complete shelf of work from the vaudeville auteur.
RUNTIME: 204 minutes
· Limited Edition Hardbound Slipcase [3000 copies]
· 1080p presentations of all three films from the Cohen Film Collection’s stunning 4K restorations, with musicals scores composed and conducted by Robert Israel
· The Navigator – Audio commentary by silent film historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan
· Seven Chances – Brand new audio commentary by film historians Joel Goss and Bruce Lawton
· New and exclusive video essay by David Cairns covering all three films
· The Navigator – A short documentary on the making of the film and Keaton’s fascination with boats as sources of comedy, by film historian Bruce Lawton
· Buster Keaton & Irwin Allen audio interview from 1945 [6 mins]
· Buster Keaton & Arthur Friedman audio interview from 1956 [32 mins]
· Buster Keaton & Robert Franklin audio interview from 1958 [56 mins] · Buster Keaton & Herbert Feinstein audio interview from 1960 [48 mins]
· Buster Keaton & Studs Terkel audio interview from 1960 [38 mins]
· What! No Spinach? (1926, dir. Harry Sweet) [19 mins] – Rarely seen comedy short by American actor/director Harry Sweet, that riffs on a number of elements from Seven Chances
· A LIMITED EDITION 60-PAGE perfect bound collector’s book featuring new writing on all three films; and a selection of archival writing and imagery.
THE NAVIGATOR Rating:
SEVEN CHANCES Rating:
BATTLING BUSTER Rating: