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  • Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection (General Nuisance / His Ex Marks the Spot / Mooching Through Georgia / Nothing but Pleasure / Pardon My Berth Marks / Pest From the West / So You Won't Squawk / The Spook Speaks / The Taming of the Snood / She's Oil Mine)
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Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection (General Nuisance / His Ex Marks the Spot / Mooching Through Georgia / Nothing but Pleasure / Pardon My Berth Marks / Pest From the West / So You Won't Squawk / The Spook Speaks / The Taming of the Snood / She's Oil Mine)

34 customer reviews

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Product Description

Ten comedic shorts from the Great Stone Face himself, Buster Keaton, arrive on DVD in their original full screen format for the first time ever in this must-own special two-disc set. The honorary Academy Award® - winner shines in rare films from Hollywood's golden - and hilarious - years. Teamed with the brilliant comediennes Dorothy Appleby and Elsie Ames, Keaton bumbles from one side-splitting mishap to another, always maintaining his famously blank expression. Whether he's a millionaire, a plumber, or a hat maker, Keaton's physical antics and hapless adventures light up the screen in these unforgettable 1940s comedies. The BUSTER KEATON COLLECTION will have you doubled over with laughter!

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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.

If one dials down expectations, some of the Columbia shorts (around 16-17 minutes long) are enjoyable in the baggy-pants style of the Three Stooges. And when it comes to searching for signs of the old Keaton, there are usually one or two blossoms poking out of the overall bluntness. Mooching through Georgia, a Civil War spoof, has moments of silent hilarity and a Keatonesque note of fatalism as Buster is marched to his own execution. Nothing but Pleasure has a terrific sequence involving a drunk woman who wanders into Buster's motel room, and Buster's efforts to get her into a Murphy bed. She's Oil Mine features a breathtaking gag in which Keaton is spun around like a tire iron in order to get a pipe unstuck from his finger. Keaton, in his mid-40s, is still in athletic form, although thanks to alcohol and disappointment he looks older than his years.

Commentaries adorn the shorts, and there's a useful 25-minute documentary giving the general outline of Keaton's life and details on the Columbia arrangement. It's refreshingly honest about the mixed quality of these films, and contains excerpts from his silent shorts that suggest how far the genius had slipped. In that sense, while this DVD package honorably presents a moment from film history (and with fine technical specs all around), the actual watching of these shorts is tinged with sadness. The casual moviegoer curious about Keaton should go elsewhere; the completist will want it; the amateur historian will want to give a look to see what the "missing years" were all about. --Robert Horton


Special Features

  • Commentary for each short
  • Featurette: Buster Keaton: From Silents to Shorts
  • A reproduction of an actual annotated script with a foreword from Buster Keaton's granddaughter
  • Remastered in high definition

Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Matt McHugh, Eddie Fetherston, Lane Chandler, Edmund Cobb
  • Directors: Del Lord, Jules White
  • Writers: Clyde Bruckman, Elwood Ullman, Ewart Adamson, Felix Adler
  • Producers: Del Lord, Hugh McCollum
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 176 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E1EHQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,263 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection (General Nuisance / His Ex Marks the Spot / Mooching Through Georgia / Nothing but Pleasure / Pardon My Berth Marks / Pest From the West / So You Won't Squawk / The Spook Speaks / The Taming of the Snood / She's Oil Mine)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Mular TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 17, 2006
Verified Purchase
Finally somebody recognizes this brilliant comedian's work at Columbia Pictures!

After producing some mildly amusing comedy shorts at Educational Pictures, Buster got his chance to work again for a major studio. Columbia was the haven for comedians in the late 1930's & 1940's, they were #1 in producing comedy shorts at this time! Sure, these don't compete with Buster's classic, self produced, silent comedies of the 1920's. But these are not to be missed by fans. This has been a somewhat lost part of Buster's cinema history. HOOORAY!!!

Here are the 10 Buster Keaton Columbia Pictures comedy shorts that Sony owns:

1939
Pest from the West
Mooching Through Georgia

1940
Nothing But Pleasure
Pardon My Birthmarks
The Taming of the Snood
The Spook Speaks
His Ex Marks the Spot

1941
So You Won't Squawk
General Nuisance
She's Oil Mine

After these enjoyable 17 minute comedies were made, Buster was reduced to being just an extra, the comedy relief, in feature films.

I am glad to see that Sony has finally recognized that the 3 Stooges aren't the only comedy short classics they own.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Jarmick on April 18, 2006
A treat for Keaton Fans. Not his best work, but some very entertaining moments can be found in these shorts.

Keaton made some of the funniest, most inventive, and witty silent shorts and features of all time. He didn't just come up with a smart sight gag, he played with audience expectations and often found an extra twist. Along the way he experimented with camera tricks, techniques and much more. He wasn't merely a clown, but an artist. Many already know this.

In the late 1920's and early 1930s, Keaton was under contract to MGM. They took away a lot of his creative control and forced him to star in stage adaptations and team up with Jimmy Durante in a couple of movies. Keaton was having some personal problems as well, and his drinking was out of control. The movies weren't funny, weren't popular and he was more and more difficult to work with. His career was at a low point by the mid 1930s. He was let go from MGM.

By the late 1930s he had stopped drinking and his personal life was much happier. Columbia convinced him to do a series of sound shorts under the direction of people like Del Lord and Jules White. The shorts were made between 1939 to 1941 at Columbia Pictures utilizing the same crews and directors as Columbia's 3 Stooges shorts. Keaton fans will find a still very agile 45 year acrobatic Keaton able to create magic moments. The budgets were small and the shooting schedule was usually confined to 3 days. Some of the shorts were not written with Keaton in mind, but there are moments in every single offering where Keaton's skill and experience shine.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By The Keeper Of The Celluloid on February 21, 2006
After years of trying and pleading with his superiors, SONY V.P. of repertory Michael Schlessinger has finally persuaded the powers that be to release on DVD, the TEN Keaton shorts the Great Stone Face made at Columbia Pictures. With careful attention to detail, the chief restorationist, Grover Crisp has made the negs as clean as possible and have transferred these long neglected treasures to a quality they never knew in original release.

Who cares is some of the material is not up to Buster's best work. There are moments of brilliance in these comedies that rival anything Keaton did in the sound era. His "The Pest From The West" is his Columbia masterpiece and worth the price of this DVD set alone. There are also some wonderful comedies here that never get to see the light of day anymore. "The Spook Speaks" is a riot as Buster and Elsie Ames are caretakers in a house that is supposed to be haunted complete with moving furniture and a penguin that enjoys a good stiff drink now and then. "She's Oil Mine", has Buster in a duel for the girl he loves. Several of these films contain some reworking of Keaton's earlier silent films and they are fun and interesting to see. There is commentary from Keaton experts / fans and even a note from Keaton's granddaughter.

Kudos to SONY for making the complete set available and to Mr. Schlessinger for spearheading the campaign to get them released. Now if this set sells well, perhaps Columbia can be persuaded into releasing other shorts from some of the other series they made....like Charley Chase, Andy Clyde and the musical novelties that are never seen anymore.
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As a fan of BUSTER KEATON I have always wanted a collection of all of his works, and not just the 19 shorts and 11 feature length films he starred in during the silent era, even if they were his best. In the past I have bought Laserdisc box sets of all his MGM sound movies as well as his earlier work on the Arbuckle shorts. I am still waiting for his foreign work to become available in this country as well as his Educational shorts and 50's Television series. I was thrilled to see that Columbia was finally releasing all of his sound shorts he made for their studio.

While both his Educational and Columbia shorts have always had a reputation as being nothing but crap, that was not the case upon viewing them for the first time. The films offer the same quality of material that can bee seen in their Three Stooges shorts, and Keaton himself was still a talented screen comedian able to sell even the simplest joke. There are laughs in these movies, but just don't expect the quality of his earlier work.

The Columbia shorts had little budget and were shot on a three day schedule. Keaton himself thought that if they had allowed him more time on each short then he could have made them masterpieces. Some of the shorts were remakes of his feature films, and one of them, "The Pest From The West", was not only a remake of "The Invader" but the only one of the Columbia shorts that Buster was happy with. [ "The Invader" itself, one of the last feature films that Buster was given creative control over, was plagued with a disastrously low budget and turned out to be a misfire for Keaton. "Pest From The West" gave him a chance to finally get that film right, even if 40 minutes shorter.
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