The Saphead: Ultimate Edition [Blu-ray]
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BONUS FEATURES: Loaded with special features including an alternate version of the film and more (TBD).
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THE SAPHEAD (1920): "The Saphead" is based on the play "The Henrietta", which had been a hit on Broadway and starred Douglas Fairbanks in the role of Bertie "the Lamb" Van Alstyne. Fairbanks had recommended Buster for the role in this filmed version, retitled "The Saphead".
Buster's role doesn't start until about 10 minutes into the movie, where we see him wolfing down a big meal and being overly pampered by valets and servants. Bertie the Lamb is the son of a wealthy man who thinks his son is spoiled and soft. Because Bertie has read a book that states that the modern girl is more interested in a dangerous guy than a safe guy, he goes to a gambling parlor and then tries to get himself arrested. In this scene, fans of Buster's are given a rare treat: He opens his mouth and shows his teeth, which almost develops into a full smile! What a cutie!!
"The Saphead" is actually a drama that's peppered with the subjects of infidelity, illegitimate children, death, suicide, and financial ruin. The only comedic moments in the film are supplied by Buster, who is allowed to practice his trademark pratfalls in a few scenes, which help illustrate the depth of his inept character, the Lamb. But because of his role, the film is worth watching simply because he's in it.Read more ›
I prefer watching the "Alternate" version, it is way better in the second half with better interior details.
The first version is the standard "Rohauer" version with his re-issues titles and film tinting. The "Alternate" version (accessible from the extras menu) presents what is believed to be the foreign camera negative version that would have been sent to other countries to have the 1-frame dialogue cards translated (Kino inserted the Rohauer dialogue cards that are long enough to read).
The "Rohauer" version has new Rohauer titles and a brief history of the story on stage before the movie starts. The "Alternate" version recreates what the original title card might have looked like. Unfortunately the original title cards have not survived over time.
The "Rohauer" version is 2 minutes longer than the "Alternate" version, but this discrepancy, demonstrated in a brief bonus documentary, is due to slightly shorter cuts of some scenes. Nothing major is missing.
The "Rohauer" version may look sharper at first, but you will notice much more detail in the dark areas of the "Alternate Version". The wedding scene is particularly dark around the edges, Kino tried to compensate for the edge darkness by raising the black levels on the edges, but this does not restore the details, It just gives a weird halo effect that looks unnatural. The "Alternate" version has all details and a smooth grey-tone.
The "Rohauer" version tints all scenes various colors (muted somewhat on this new re-release) while the "Alternate" version only tints the night scenes blue.Read more ›
So here's the problem: is it worth getting The Saphead just for the two shorts? If you're a Keaton fan and want to fill out the collection then go ahead, you won't regret it. If you're not a big fan, but like Keaton at his best, go for a DVD of more consistent quality - I recommend the Our Hospitality/Sherlock Jr. double feature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story of a good guy trying to be a bad boy to get the girl he likes. some bits of the story line are odd but overal this is my Favorite Buster Keaton Full length feature film... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Silber
This concerns Saphead "Ultimate Edition", just a quick note. The editorial review indicates that the shorts "The High Sign" and "One Week" are part of the bonus features of the... Read morePublished on July 10, 2013 by Mark Watson
Excellent movie, like always from him. The download was very good quality too. Thank you Buster for being so funny and smexy.Published on February 7, 2013 by Megan M. Locher
Prior to 1920, Buster Keaton was best known for his shorts with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Both under contract with Joseph M. Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith
THE SAPHEAD (1920, 70 minutes, written, produced and directed by someone else) was Buster Keaton's introduction as a major star in feature-lengths. Read morePublished on October 23, 2011 by Hui Shen ben Israel
This feature film, Saphead, is one of the lesser known Keaton movie. In my opinion it is less funny than most of his work. He's a hapless guy who's the butt of everyone's joke. Read morePublished on March 26, 2010 by V. Campbell
This DVD contains one feature and two shorts from Keaton's earliest work as an independent filmmaker after he ceased his three year partnership with Roscoe Arbuckle in 1920 after... Read morePublished on March 22, 2008 by calvinnme
"The High Sign" is the gem herein. It's a delightful romp wherein Keaton's character is introduced thusly: "Our hero came from Nowhere---he wasn't going Anywhere and got kicked... Read morePublished on March 26, 2006 by brian komyathy