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The Mack Sennett Collection, Vol. One [Blu-ray]

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Product Description

The Mack Sennett Collection, Vol. One features 50 extraordinary slapstick comedy movies starring classic film icons, presented on a 3-disc Blu-ray set.

The Keystone Film Company, under the guidance of pioneering producer and director Mack Sennett, was the birthplace of classic American slapstick comedy. This historic studio was at one time home to a staggering number of silent screen luminaries including Mabel Normand, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, Gloria Swanson, Wallace Beery, Harry Langdon, Marie Dressler, Ben Turpin, The Keystone Cops, Ford Sterling, Charley Chase, Al St. John, Mack Swain, Edgar Kennedy, Billy Bevan, Louise Fazenda, Eddie Quillan, and countless others. Even Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin, still the world's most recognized actor, introduced his beloved Tramp character under the auspices of Keystone. Later, under the Mack Sennett Comedies banner, Sennett went on to produce a new generation of sound comedies, some in early color, featuring the likes of W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Lloyd Hamilton, Andy Clyde, and more.

Now, for the first time, thanks to Flicker Alley, CineMuseum, and Keystone Films, 50 of the best surviving Sennett comedies have been gathered from around the world, fully restored, and digitally re-mastered in HD for Blu-ray home video. These new editions have been painstakingly reconstructed by CineMuseum and Keystone Films using original 35mm nitrate, archival negatives, preservation materials, and sometimes the lone known surviving film print, from the collections of the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Blackhawk Films®, Lobster Films, the Richard M. Roberts Collection, Gierucki Studios, and dozens of privately held archives.

Content Highlights:

  • KEYSTONE COPS - Make an appearance in several of the films in The Mack Sennett Collection, Vol. One: Shot in the Excitement, The Noise of Bombs, and Bangville Police (1913), regarded as the seminal Keystone Cop film. Also included is A Thief Catcher (1914). Previously thought lost, this short was discovered by producer Paul E. Gierucki in 2010. It features a rare appearance of Charlie Chaplin as a Keystone Cop.
  • THE WATER NYMPH (1912) - Starring Mabel Normand, The Water Nymph served as the inspiration for the famous Sennett Bathing Beauties.
  • FATTY AND MABEL ADRIFT (1916) - A groundbreaking comedy from the most famous comedy team in the world at that time, Mabel Normand and Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. Struck from an original tinted nitrate film print.
  • A MAJOR RESTORATION OF RECREATION (1914) - An early Charlie Chaplin comedy, featuring new footage and improved source materials of this long thought lost comedy.

Bonus Features:

  • FULL COLOR BOOKLET - Filled with rare images, production information, restoration notes, and Keystone Sennett player biographies.
  • NEW MUSIC SCORES - From silent film accompanists Philip Carli, Ben Model, Dennis Scott, Andrew Simpson, and Donald Sosin.
  • COMMENTARY TRACKS - From noted comedy historians Brent Walker, Steve Massa, Richard M. Roberts, Stan Taffel, Sam Gill, Paul Gierucki, and others.
  • MEMORABILIA GALLERIES - Featuring vintage lobby cards, glass slides, posters, scripts, studio photographs, The Mack Sennett Story by film historian Joe Adamson, and rare audio recordings.
  • LONG UNSEEN RARITIES - Newsreels, trailers, outtakes, Sennett-Color films, the dedication of the Mabel Normand soundstage, This Is Your Life Mack Sennett, and much more!


Mack Sennett (1880-1960) is famous for discovering Charlie Chaplin, creating the Keystone Kops, coining the term bathing beauty and being, as his front-page obituary in The New York Times called him, the film pioneer whose name was synonymous with slapstick comedy. All true, but as demonstrated by the 50 mainly short films digitally restored and gathered in a three-disc Blu-ray set, The Mack Sennett Collection Volume One (Flicker Alley), he was something more.

Sennett defined (or redefined) American humor. There is scarcely a physical clown or verbal wiseguy whose antics or attitude Sennett did not anticipate. Writing in Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies, the cultural historian Robert Sklar cited Sennett's 'inventive, resourceful vulgarity,' crediting his primitive two-reel comedies with 'cutting a wider swath through society and its values than any previous expression of the comic tradition in America, with the single exception of that 19th-century masterpiece of comic prose, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.' --J. Hoberman, The New York Times

The Sennett box is a frankly amazing cavalcade of low comedy that's both culturally revelatory and often hilarious (not to mention jaw-droppingly tasteless).

The subtitle of this three-disc set of silent-era classics is '50 Digitally Restored Classic Films;' but that doesn't even begin to describe what The Mack Sennett Collection; has to offer. The real value is in the commentary tracks by scholars and archivists who talk about how one of Hollywood's all-time greats gathered and nurtured a phenomenal collection of comic talent. --'Noel Murray's Best DVDs of 2014,' The Los Angeles Times

Product Details

  • Actors: Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, Gloria Swanson
  • Directors: Mack Sennett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Flicker Alley, LLC
  • DVD Release Date: August 19, 2014
  • Run Time: 1005 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on August 9, 2014
I have eagerly awaited this release since I first heard about it. The opportunity to see some of the lesser known Keystone comedies in Flicker Alley's usual excellent transfers was one that couldn't be passed up. I am happy to report that not only was I pleasantly surprised and completely satisfied, but this set exceeded my wildest expectations. If you want a representaive sampling of the man responsible for much of American silent comedy, here it is. Everyone knows the name of Mack Sennett (1880-1960) but outside of Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and the Keystone Cops, very little of Sennett's vast output has been seen. This set not only rectifies that but presents its offerings in chronological order from D.W Griffith's landmark THE CURTAIN POLE (1909) through W.C. Fields' surreal and utterly bizarre THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933). Most people aren't aware of just how long Sennett was active, how many changes he went through, or how many major careers he launched but this 3 Blu-Ray set and the accompanying booklet will help to remedy that. There is even guest commentary on a number of the offerings that add more historical detail for those of you (like me) who can't get enough background information.

Disc 1 finally allowed me to see THE CURTAIN POLE in its entirety. It gives Sennett one of his first starring roles and he wrote it as well. Next up are 2 rare Biograph comedies along with the first important Mabel Normand vehicle THE WATER NYMPH (1912). Several short Keystone comedies follow that introduce us to Ford Sterling, Mack Swain as his Ambrose character and a brief (6 minutes) Chaplin effort that shows him honing his tramp character. 24 films in all including a beautiful print of FATTY & MABEL ADRIFT (1915).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rift Corbitt on August 18, 2014
I believe this to be the finest silent film set on Blu-Ray to date. Yes there are a few talkies on it as well..:)

Sure not every one of the films is perfect but that is due only to the rare source materials, some of which are over 100 years old.

Let's take "Fatty and Mabel Adrift" by far the best it has ever looked on home video and most importantly it runs as close to it's intended speed as Blu-Ray allows. It's actually funny now not like the version on Slapstick Encyclopedia which runs slower than watching grass grow.

Speaking of running speeds on the silents, unlike many efforts by a famous restoration specialist this set is not plagued by the speed of frozen snail trudging frame to frame. Admiring every frame as if it were a museum piece may be very European but that does not make it good. This set actually has all the fun and life intact and those involved should be very proud of their work.

If you are a fan of silent film comedy you will not do better than this magnificent set. For those who are not huge fans of silents let this set be the only one of the genre in your collection. 1000 STARS!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Casey62 on August 14, 2014
In the very early days of cinema, while D.W. Griffith was establishing film language, it was fellow pioneer Mack Sennett who brought laughter to the new lexicon. Sennet's Keystone Studio, a.k.a. The Fun Factory, cranked out one and two reel comedies that relied on visual gags and slapstick farce, usually laid out at a frenetic pace. This was where the first custard pie was thrown, and where the Keystone Cops, the Sennett Bathing Beauties, and Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp were born. Dozens of other stars became famous at The Fun Factory: Mabel Normand, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, Ben Turpin, Gloria Swanson, Harry Langdon, W.C. Fields, Carole Lombard, and Bing Crosby all owe their careers to Sennett.

For decades, these groundbreaking comedies weren't given the justice they deserve because of badly worn, splicy prints being projected at improper speeds, which destroyed subtle nuances and made the already frantic antics hard to keep up with. The true genius of these films was only apparent to historians and private collectors who cared enough to search vaults and archives for original nitrate prints, and have them preserved in the way they were meant to be enjoyed.

In this regard, we can be thankful that the folks at Flicker Alley have made available for the first time on Blu-ray, The Mack Sennett Collection (Vol. One), which contains fifty fully restored titles - nearly seventeen hours - all accompanied by newly recorded music scores. The three-disc set covers a balanced overview of Sennett comedians from 1909-1933, so we get a good sense of the variety of talent and comedic styles that flourished at the studio.
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