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Love has never been funnier or more difficult to manage than in the immortal Keaton comedies. Seven Chances is a film often imitated but never rivaled for hilarity and visual virtuosity. Keaton stars as Jimmie Shannon, a romantically jinxed young man who must marry by 7:00 PM to inherit seven million dollars. While fate seems to thwart his efforts to woo the object of his true affection (Ruth Dwyer), public announcement of his strange predicament provides him with a throng of would-be brides who are aggressive in their pursuit of a husband, to say the least. In one of the most rousing, brilliantly choreographed sequences in Keaton's career, Shannon flees the horde of women while dodging the hostile forces of nature that seem to be conspiring against him (in the form of a colossal rockslide) during his manic dash to the altar. SPECIAL FEATURES: TBD
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Bashful Jimmie is spurred by the news that he has inherited $7 million, but only if he is married by 7 p.m. that very day. Botching a proposal to Mary, he embarks on a day of serial proposals, all rebuffed. His business partner puts a large ad in the newspaper, revealing that Jimmie is heir to a fortune, and asks for prospective brides to appear at the church at 5 p.m. Over a hundred appear, and chase the unsuspecting Jimmie down the street, uphill and down dale in one of the most epic chase scenes in film history. Keaton's penchant for dangerous stunts is on prominent display, as he dangles from a railroad crane, vaults chasms, summersaults down steep hillsides, and is pursued by dozens of rolling boulders up to 7 feet in diameter. Yes, they're props, probably made of chicken wire and papier-mâché, but running down a steep hill at risk of being run over by a 7-foot hollow boulder had to be exciting. Meanwhile, Mary has reconsidered her rejection of his proposal, and tries to reach him with a message.
Will Mary reach Jimmie with her acceptance of his proposal? Will they beat the 7 p.m. deadline? Will the business partner have a pocket watch that is set three minutes too fast? Don't try to guess, get Seven Chances and find out for yourself by viewing one of Buster Keaton's most fun and frantic movies.
Extras on the Kino disc include a commentary with the film, a survey of the locations used in the film, a short documentary on the Technicolor scenes, and a gallery of production stills. Also included are two short films with similar or identical storylines: Edison's 1904 production of "How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the New York Herald Personal Columns", and the 1947 Three Stooges film "A Brideless Groom".
(The following is a paragraph of observations about Keaton that I append to all of my reviews of his films, so you might have read it before.) Charlie Chaplin was the graceful mime, Harold Lloyd was the surprisingly athletic everyman, and Buster Keaton was The Great Stone Face. His expression never varied, but his acrobat's body performed the most astounding knockabout comedy and genuinely dangerous stunts in cinema. Other stars had stunt doubles, but Keaton not only performed his own stunts, he sometimes did the stunts for other actors in his films as well. With the advent of sound Keaton's star faded, but has returned to full brilliance since his death, as restored versions of his films have become available for home video. One of Hollywood's true originals and a genius of motion picture inventiveness, Buster Keaton has secured a place of honor in the history of film, and in the hearts of his growing number of fans.
The film builds, slowly and subtly as he unexpectedly finds himself in need of a wife in order to inherit a well needed fortune. When his only love, turns him down flat he slowly begins to search for another possible wife... anyone! As his desperation builds, so does the film and the comedy. The stuff with all the want-to-be brides is classic! But the pièce de résistance is the amazing chase culminating with hundreds of rolling rocks!
I'm sorry Keaton may not have appreciated that classic comedy film he manufactured, but I'm very glad he did because it is a great comedy film.
Now I want to review the Blu-ray features and the picture quality. The quality of the film used is very good, some of Keaton's shorts, both silent and sound look terrible in high definition because the film used for the transfer were in such bad shape. This one looks great! A pretty amazing restoration of the Technicolor openning was done. I had never known there was a Technicolor openning until seeing this Blu-ray.
Also, included on this disk is a Three Stooges film which has the same basic plot-line as Seven Chances, a look at the color sequence restoration, a look at some of the locations used in the film and a very early Edison comedy that has a very very smilar theme.
All in all this is a pretty excellent special featured movie release!
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.