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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give "Seven Chances" a Chance!
Buster Keaton movies have a similar formula; naÔve young man gets thrown into a situation where his ultimate manhood is put to test. Most classic Keaton films are written specifically for him, however "Seven Chances" is an exception in this area. Adapted from a 1916 stage play by Roi Cooper Megrue, "Seven Chances" puts Keaton to the task of finding...
Published on March 5, 2000 by Nate Goyer

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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than ultimate edition
Kino's first Blu-Ray release of a Keaton film included multiple music tracks, including a piano score. In more recent releases, though (including this one) it has only offered the jarring and insipid music of Robert Israel. During live showings of Keaton films in Minneapolis I have witnessed piano scoring (the best) and creative contemporary scores by local groups. A...
Published on June 7, 2012 by Anthony Thompson


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give "Seven Chances" a Chance!, March 5, 2000
By 
Nate Goyer (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic (DVD)
Buster Keaton movies have a similar formula; naÔve young man gets thrown into a situation where his ultimate manhood is put to test. Most classic Keaton films are written specifically for him, however "Seven Chances" is an exception in this area. Adapted from a 1916 stage play by Roi Cooper Megrue, "Seven Chances" puts Keaton to the task of finding a bride and getting married by 7:00pm that day, or else lose claim to a 7 million dollar inheritance. Before the plot, it is known that Keaton and his stockbroker business partner are very much in debt and the will face public disgrace and even jail time if they do not find much needed capital. So not only is Buster wanting the 7 million dollars, he needs it to keep his freedom.
Without giving away too much of the plot, the rest of the movie involves his unsuccessful pursuit of an immediate bride. He can't seem to get a break, when all of a sudden the news of his inheritance breaks and sends a mob of brides chasing him through the streets & country. It's the classic "Buster-Vs-The Elements" chase that Keaton is so well known for.
"Seven Chances" is an excellent film, although historically it was one of Keaton's least favorites. Keaton was initially perturbed by his producer, Joe Schneck, purchasing the play rights and 'Keaton-izing' it, rather than starting from material originated by Keaton himself. From viewing this film, I am stumped to see any inferiority and consider the end result to signify a very wise and entertaining move on Joe Schneck's part. "Seven Chances" ranks with some of Keaton's best work, including "Streamboat Bill Jr." & "The Navigator".
The 2 shorts included with this DVD are "Neighbors" and "The Balloonatic", both of them absolutely hilarious. "Neighbors" has some of the most inventive high-action scenes in any of the Keaton films, and "The Balloonatic" has some excellent scenes as well.
It's hard to go bad with a Buster Keaton silent movie and "Seven Chances" is no exception. The Kino/David Shepard duo does it again, by preserving a marvelous copy of this excellent film and by packing and distributing it with 2 excellent shorts. You and your family will like this DVD.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keaton makes the most of a little, July 27, 1999
By A Customer
Buster Keaton didn't really want to make SEVEN CHANCES, but since the film rights to the play were purchased for him by his manager/brother-in-law, he had little choice. Nevertheless, Keaton and his team put their considerable talents to work to make a very funny picture. Buster plays a young man who must be married by Seven p.m. in order to inherit a fortune. When he tries to propose to the girl he loves, she misunderstands and thinks he is only proposing to get the inheritance. She turns him down, so Buster, his best friend, and his attorney decide to find a bride one way or another. While the film may only be mildly amusing at the outset, it has great climax that more than makes up for any shortcomings: a wild chase scene with Buster escaping from a thousand would-be brides and an avalanche! Buster, as always, is excellent, but the film is nearly stolen by Snitz Edwards as the wizened attorney.This videotape is blessed with the SEVEN CHANCES prologue in it's original Technicolor (the surviving print is faded but watchable), and two wildly funny Keaton shorts: NEIGHBORS and THE BALLOONATIC.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chance to see Keaton and Jean Arthur, February 10, 2001
By 
Mr Peter G George (Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic (DVD)
Seven Chances is just below Keaton's very best work in The General and Our Hospitality, but is still easily worth its five star rating. All that I will say about the plot of the film is that it is consistently funny with many laugh out loud moments. Moreover, some of Buster's stunts are truly frightening and they do not appear to have been faked. One of the great pleasures of this film is to catch a fleeting glimpse of a very young Jean Arthur. She is the receptionist who turns down Buster's marriage proposal by showing him her ring. Also, for Keaton fans, it is worth noting that the lawyer with the rubber face is the Principal in College. The print on this DVD is very fine. It has an introductory series of episodes in early two-strip technicolor, which is interesting even if the colour is somewhat bleached and damaged round the edges. The main body of the film however is in wonderful sepia. The music has some fine themes and adds to the livliness of the action. It is well played on what sounds like a cinema organ. Of the two short films on this DVD, I will just say that I prefer Neighbors to the Balloonatic. Both are funny, but do not rank with the best Keaton shorts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buster's Boulders, October 17, 2000
By 
Cheated (California USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic (DVD)
SEVEN CHANCES (1925): Buster is to inherit $7 million on his 27th birthday, providing that he is married before 7:00 p.m. Through a misunderstanding about how worthy she is to him, his girlfriend, at first, turns his marriage proposal down, and this sends Buster on a crusade to hurry and seek a bride in a race against time.
The best scenes in "Seven Chances" occur in the last third of the movie, where athletic, speeding Buster is being chased by a thousand angry potential brides, and we get to see the actual houses, shops, cars, gas stations, banks, signs, etc., of 1925 Los Angeles and the Hollywood hills. During the silent era, filmmakers were able to film out of the studio and onto the actual street. With the emergence of sound, outside scenes had to be made using what little acreage the studio had on their back lot, or the use of (phony-looking) rear projection (that sometimes moved way too fast). Another reason the last third of "Seven Chances" is so good is because it contains one of Buster's most famous scenes: being chased down a mountain by an avalanche of gigantic boulders.
"Seven Chances" is a story that was bought by Buster's boss, who expected Bus to mold it to his style of comedy. The script is credited to someone else, but I spotted that Buster probably wrote at least one of the title cards because it contains Keatonese grammar: "It don't matter who I marry".
NEIGHBORS (1920): This is a great 2-reeler that starts off as a Romeo and Juliet kind of story, then veers off into Bus getting into silly situations using blackface and being chased by cops, then goes back to the Romeo and Juliet theme. Some of the funniest (and dangerous) gags of his career are shown here between Bus and his father, played by his real father Joe, like Bus being hung by his toes on a clothesline with Joe accidentally whacking him with a carpet beater that throws Bus into a spin-around. "Neighbors" continues with the title card "that afternoon, the inventor tries his patent fly-swatter". The fly-swatter is just a big board that teeter-totters on the fence that separates the sweethearts' backyards. Weeeeee! ....a disoriented Joe Keaton is flipped into the neighbors' backyard by the fly-swatter, and with this, I noticed that a very funny (and very stiff) dummy was used in the long shot.
THE BALLOONATIC (1923): Buster's first era of his 2-reelers is nearly coming to a close. In a few months, success will demand that he start filming more elaborate features (5-7 reels). This 2nd to last 2-reeler starts off at an amusement park where Buster is trying to pick up girls. He proceeds to a balloon launching where he accidentally is launched with it into the air. After traveling for a while, he is shown idiotically playing hunter (with duck decoys hanging from the balloon) and shoots at a bird that is resting against the side of the balloon. The blast plummets him to the earth, where a series of gags follow with Bus in the wilderness, including the use of lots of animals and a canoe named Minnie-Tee-Hee.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously bizarre climax highlight of near-great comedy, March 26, 1999
This review is from: Seven Chances [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Seven Chances was an old warhorse of a stage play, and at first that fact is a little too obvious. Stick with it, though, because the climax is pure Keatonian surrealism, and as falldown funny as anything he ever did-- Buster pursued for two reels by two equally terrifying forces of nature, an army of angry would-be brides and an avalanche of enormous boulders. Includes one of his more pointed shorts, Neighbors, in which love struggles to overcome the animosity of two sets of families. Any comment on his own marriage into the Talmadge family is surely coincidental.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buster Keaton - Seven Chances Blu-ray, January 18, 2012
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FANTASTIC! Not only is the image quality and the HD upscaling beautifully presented with a great soft tint to the picture but the opening Technicolor sequence at the beginning is absolutely superb.

The opening is as close as we will get to the origianl 1925 release. This is a huge improvement overall in comparison to the 'Art of Buster Keaton Collection' that preceeded it. Whether you own a previous DVD release or not this is a must for any comedy, silent film or movie buffs alike.

5 stars all round.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray upgrades: Technicolor sequence further restored!, November 29, 2011
The biggest improvement of the Blu-ray disc over the old DVD is the 80 hours of work done by Eric Grayson to improve the deteriorating technicolor sequence. In the old DVD it just looked like a red-tinted film with possibly a hint of another color. Now it is clearly a 2-color sequence. There is a demonstration in the bonus materials showing you the evolution of this restoration.

The remainder of the film was always very good on the old DVD, now the Blu-ray technology brings out sharper details and a bit more picture around all four sides. The tinting is different, the old DVD was presented with an AMBER tint through out the film while the Blu-ray has a mild BROWN tone giving it an almost monochrome look.

The Bonus Shorts on the old DVD are already on the Buster Keaton Shorts Blu-ray collection Buster Keaton Short Films Collection: 1920-1923 (Three-Disc Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray], so no need to present them here. But with a feature running under an hour Kino needed to add some time with new bonus material.

Bonus Material:
A BRIDELESS GROOM (The Three Stooges) - probably the biggest waste of time including this public domain 16mm film transfer here. It is presented because Clyde Bruckman wrote both the screenplay for SEVEN CHANCES and this 3-Stooges short. Too bad they could not get access to the 35mm material used for Sony's Three Stooges Collection release. 16mm in Hi-Def?

HOW A FRENCH NOBLEMAN GETS A WIFE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES PERSONAL COLUMNS - try to say that title fast! A novel short that is fun to see, still a 16mm transfer but not as common.

FILMING LOCATIONS - More great then & now scenes to show you where SEVEN CHANCES WAS SHOT.

ABOUT THE TECHNICOLOR SEQUENCE - a brief documentary about how 1925 Technicolor was shot & what a poor state the footage was in. A 4 way split frame shows you the progression of the restoration work.

PRODUCTION STILLS

Bottom line question: Is it worth it to upgrade the old DVD with this new Blu-ray? I would say "YES". Wile most of the old DVD does look good, it is a big upgrade for the technicolor sequence.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray (4.5 stars): Buster Keaton's "Seven Chances" is a romantic comedy that is delightful, fun and exciting!, December 16, 2011
In 1925, Buster Keaton created a film adaptation of Roi Cooper Megrue and David Belasc0 play "Seven Chances". His fifth feature film and identified by many of his fans as possibly his best romantic comedy film ever made.

While film critics were a bit split because it was an adaptation which featured several writers responsible for the screenplay, while a simple story that is introduced in the beginning and concluded at the end, it's the middle...the main storyline which features one of the craziest chase scenes ever featured onscreen at the time, and quite timeless even today nearly 90-years later.

While the film would also feature a cameo role by future screwball comedy princess Jean Arthur, the film is also quite notable for its use of a very early Technicolor process at the beginning of the film which was recently restored by Kino for this 2011 Blu-ray release.

VIDEO:

"Seven Chances" is presented in 1080p High Definition and the film looks absolutely beautiful on Blu-ray! But first, let first preface with discussion of the introductory Technicolor scene.

"Seven Chances" was a film that utilized early Technicolor for the introduction and before this Blu-ray release, the Technicolor portion was in bad shape and degraded to the point that many people who saw the film felt it was color tinting combined with Nitrate damage on the sides. And then the US Registry has their own version of the intro which is in black and white, so there were people who were unaware of the Technicolor process that was used and thought it was just bad color tinting and Nitrate issues with the original print.

For this 2011 Blu-ray release, according to a special feature included with this Blu-ray release, film historian Eric Grayson talked about how the scene was remade by Kino to keep it as close as what people have watched back in 1925. With newer technology, they were able to restore the early Technicolor introduction and it literally took 80 hours to fix 3 minutes of footage. Sure, the Nitrate damage is still there in the introduction but now you can tell it is an early Technicolor process and not bad color tinting. But it's great to see Kino having redo those scenes, especially utilizing the best source material out there to recreate it.

With that being said, "Seven Chances" uses the restoration mastered from 35 mm materials preserved by the Library of Congress. While there are a few white specks from time-to-time, the clarity of the film is absolutely beautiful and for those who owned Kino's "The Art of Buster Keaton" DVD box set and watched "Seven Chances", there were many scenes, especially during the outdoor sequences that really never registered to me as a viewer because it looked quite blurry, but with this Blu-ray releae, you can actually make out grass, leaves, water, etc. Especially the contour of objects. The detail of this Blu-ray release compared to the older Kino DVD release is noticeable and definitely an example to silent film fans of why upgrading to Blu-ray from the older DVD is worth it!

There is a good amount of grain on video but its the detail and clarity that is possibly the highlight of this Blu-ray release. The contrast is great and black levels are deep and for the most part, the film via HD looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

For the release of "Seven Chances", Kino has kept to the wonderful score by Robert Israel and we are given the LPCM 2.0 stereo score (which was featured on the original DVD release) but also a brand new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. The score actually sounds wonderful via lossless, absolute clarity and definitely a major difference from the original stereo track that I watched the film on DVD nearly a decade ago.

SPECIAL FEATURES

"Seven Chances" comes with the following special features:

Audio Commentary - Audio commentary by film historian Ken Gordon and Bruce Lawton who give us an idea of the time period that "Seven Chances" was shot in and comparisons to Chaplin and Harold Lloyd films.
A Brideless Groom - (16:48) In 1947, the "Three Stooges" remade Seven Chances, not surprising as "Seven Chances" co-writer Clyde Burkman worked on this "Three Stooges" short.
How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the New York Herald Personal Columns - (9:44) A 1904 Edison short showcasing a similar style of story to "Seven Chances".
Tour of Filming Locations - (10:17) John Bengston, author of "Silent Echoes" and well-known for visiting filming locations for Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd films, showcases how various locations where "Seven Chances" was shot looks like now.
About the Technicolor Sequence - (6:15) Film historian Eric Grayson talks about the restoration process of the early Technicolor scene for "Seven Chances".
Stills - Featuring a gallery of 16 stills.

EXTRAS:

"Seven Chances" comes with a slipcase.

JUDGMENT CALL:

I can remember the first time I watched "Seven Chances" and literally seeing hundreds of women out on the street of Los Angeles as they tried to chase down and catch the character of Jimmy, played by Buster Keaton.

For the most part, Keaton's classic film "Seven Chances" can be seen as not deep as his previous films because the premise of the story is rather easy to follow. Man needs money, many has a chance of inheritance but must get married, so man needs to find a wife to get inheritance before 7:00 p.m.

Keaton's style of making sure the beginning and the end were worked out by the writers, what he needed to complete on his own was the entire middle section of the film. Where people would gasp at the stunts or whatever he would bring to the big screen.

While D.W. Griffith was a filmmaker who loved using hundreds of extras in his film, Buster Keaton loved utilizing masses. As he did in "Go West" with dozens upon dozens of cattle walking through the streets of Los Angeles, this time around, it's over a hundred women who wanted to marry the character Jimmy.

And like other Keaton films shot around that time, as a filmmaker and actor trying to raise the bar of how much risk he can take in creating the best stunts on film, one stunt featured Keaton dangling from a mechanical fork lift, another featuring the actor jumping from short cliffs to a large tree that falls to the ground after being cut by a logger.

But possible the most visual scene in cinema was Keaton running downhill but this time not being chased by women, but boulders. Sure, the boulders were specially made but according to Buster Keaton, these boulders were so large that they could hurt someone if they weren't being careful. According to Robert K. Klepper, "The Golden Era of Silents 1877-1996', Keaton's body was covered by bruises for weeks because of the filming of this chase sequence.

While film critics were inundated with actors doing these stunts, while Buster Keaton was a marvel in doing his own stuntwork, it was part of the banality of silent films as others like Chaplin, Lloyd, Fairbanks and others were doing physical work onscreen in order to entice their viewers.

And suffice to say, the stunts done by Buster Keaton were risky but how awesome do they look onscreen. Wonderful, physical comedy, risky and amazing and from the hundreds of women in the chase scene, to those hundreds of boulders falling down hill and heading towards Keaton's character, how thrilling was a scene like that. And the fact that it does last a long time, it's definitely one of my favorite chase scenes in a film!

And I believe that is why a film like "Seven Chances" is so intriguing for us today. Unlike those filmmakers who were bombarded with action sequences in silent cinema back in the day, for us, many of these scenes are done via stunt men and large crowds are now created in CG. Watching "Seven Chances" was intriguing in the fact that you see so many people utilized in one film but also, to see a part of Los Angeles that while the streets and some buildings are still around, they looking nothing like what we see in this film.

This film is a great time stamp to an era of what once was of early Hollywood or Los Angeles. "Seven Chances" for me, was more than just a comedy film but that captured the look and feel of Los Angeles in 1925 but also the pop culture fashion and hairstyles of women during the 1920's. And because there were a good number of women featured in this film, it was rather interesting to see those styles come to play. May it be the dapper teen that was about to get married to Jimmy, to the women with the Louise Brooks hairstyle. For me, as a silent film fan, I'm drawn into the historic pop culture of that era and "Seven Chances" does capture that moment in time quite well.

As for the Blu-ray release, the picture quality of "Seven Chances" is fantastic. Especially if you compared it to the original DVD release, watching the film in HD definitely made a big difference that I feel that for many silent film fans who have not wanted to stray from Blu-ray because they can't see a difference, well...watch this film and compare it to the older Kino DVD and you can see a difference in quality! As for the lossless audio, Robert Israel's score is magnificent via DTS-HD MA 5.1 but it would have been nice to have another musical score.

But I'm quite appreciative of the special features included with this release. I would have never expected to see a "Three Stooges" short on Blu-ray let alone on this Blu-ray release, but I was pretty happy about that. Also, for a film that showcases so many locations, I am so grateful that Kino once against featured John Bengston's visual essay. And of course, you get more features including audio commentary as well.

Overall, "Seven Chances" may be a shorter Buster Keaton feature film than others that were previously released on Blu-ray, but it's definitely one of his most delightful romantic comedies that he had partaken in. Also, for those who love Buster Keaton's risky stunts, "Seven Chances" doesn't disappoint in that either because this film required a lot from Buster Keaton in terms of physical comedy. And last, "Seven Chances" features one of the coolest chase scenes ever featured in early American cinema.

Once again, another magnificent Buster Keaton on Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, exciting classic, August 30, 2003
This review is from: Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic (DVD)
Watching Seven Chances, it's easy to see why Buster Keaton was considered one of the greatest comics of the silent era (although I still prefer Harold Lloyd). The basic premise is that Buster learns that he'll inherit a fortune if he is married by 7 p.m. What follows is a non-stop riot. This has some of the funniest sequences ever filmed, and the final race to the church is so funny that it's almost painful to watch. This is easily one of the top four or five silent comedies, and a great film for introducing people to silent cinema.
Kino's DVD looks great, and features two Keaton shorts, Balloonatics and Neighbors. I highly recommend this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Chance for Buster, July 30, 2004
This review is from: Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic (DVD)
Frankly, I'd been a bit disappointed in the Buster films I'd seen before this one. Perhaps it was the scrappy condition they'd reached me in. This film, however, turned out to be a treasure and a masterpiece. Finally I became fully aware of how funny and downright amazing Keaton could be. It's strange that other viewers report that he didn't like it himself. Personally, I enjoyed the obviously well-structured plot, the elegant clothes, Buster's incredible athleticism, and as the story came to its ever zanier climax I was laughing out loud, very loud. Aside from the obvious fact that the whole world, not just Hitler's Germany, was unbelievably racist in the 1920s, there seems to be something of a feminist message underlying this story. One of the best scenes is where the vast army of women on the rampage totally flatten two football teams. Yikes, here comes women's lib! I'll grab my hat and run.
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Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic
Seven Chances / Neighbors / The Balloonatic by Edward F. Cline (DVD - 2001)
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