Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts 1934-1937
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The films Buster Keaton made with Educational Pictures (ALL sixteen of which are collected here) pay homage to his earlier work, but at the same time incorporated the element of sound, all while exploring new possibilities for his recurring comic persona, Elmer.
This FIVE HOUR+ collection features all 16 Educational Pictures shorts (14 of which have never been available on DVD until now) including: The Gold Ghost, Allez Oop, Palooka From Paducah, One Run Elmer, Hayseed Romance, Tars and Stripes, The E-Flat Man, The Timid Young Man, Three on a Limb, Grand Slam Opera, Blue Blazes, The Chemist, Mixed Magic, Jail Bait, Ditto and Love Nest on Wheels.
Special Features include a Stills Gallery, Film Notes by David Macleod (author of The Sound of Buster Keaton) and more!
Top Customer Reviews
The Gold Ghost, Allez Oop, Palooka From Paducah, One Run Elmer, Hayseed Romance, Tars and Stripes, The E-Flat Man, The Timid Young Man, Three on a Limb, Grand Slam Opera, Blue Blazes, The Chemist, Mixed Magic, Jail Bait, Ditto and Love Nest on Wheels.The only extra features are some film notes and a photo gallery. These are the two reel comedies Keaton made for Educational Pictures after his fall from grace at MGM.
For those unfamiliar with the background story, Keaton, always an independent filmmaker until 1928, lost the financial backing of his brother-in-law Joe Schenck in late 1927 when Schenck decided to spend his money and time on his holdings at United Artists. He was encouraged to join Joe's brother's outfit - MGM. After finding no financial backing to continue on independently, he reluctantly gave in, and in the long-term this was a complete disaster for Keaton.
MGM was a movie factory - a good one, granted - but still a factory. Also, MGM's great talent was romances not comedy, and certainly not the physical kind in which Buster specialized. Keaton's marriage, long on shakey ground, hit the rocks in 1932, he took to drinking heavily to deal with the loss of his independence and his low-quality MGM scripts, and finally, in 1933, Louis Mayer fired Keaton after the completion of his seventh sound film "What No Beer", which actually made a great deal of money for MGM as all of Keaton's films did. Unable to find work among the big studios due to his bad reputation for being difficult, and also entering into a disastrous second marriage with his nurse, Keaton turned to Educational Pictures. Educational had originally made instructional films, but by 1934 they were a poverty row comedy short outfit, and Keaton was king of the lot.Read more ›
Keaton's 16 Educational comedies are included in this new set. Most of them were filmed on low budgets and, incredibly enough considering the quickie schedules, they are more leisurely paced than his later slam-bang Columbia shorts, with Buster indulging in pantomime to a much greater extent. ALLEZ OOP, with Buster competing romantically with an aerialist; THE GOLD GHOST, with Buster lost in a ghost town; and ONE-RUN ELMER, with Keaton running a desolate gas station in the first reel and playing baseball in the second, are filled with silent Keaton bits.
Some of the shorts are good by Educational standards but run-of-the-mill for Buster, with the humor more evident in the premise than in the gags themselves. These are pleasant but uninspired: TARS AND STRIPES has Buster on a naval base, with two-reeler perennial Vernon Dent as his foil; PALOOKA FROM PADUCAH has hillbilly Buster refereeing a wrestling match; HAYSEED ROMANCE has Buster as a farmhand on big Jane Jones's ramshackle ranch. But there are some real gems here that will not disappoint Buster's admirers. GRAND SLAM OPERA is a wonderful sendup of Major Bowes's Amateur Hour, with Buster practicing dancing and juggling (for the radio audience!). BLUE BLAZES has Buster as an inept fireman from the city, transferred to a suburban station and becoming a one-man rescue squad.Read more ›
Well after careful examination of each of these shorts it is my humble opinion that they are,in general,good and some even quite excellent.The weakest of the bunch is Palooka From Paducah.If its' terribly slow pace isn't bad enough his father seems terribly self conscious and wooden in front of the camera.The best thing about it is his mother who gives a boffo performance(as she would later in Love Nest on Wheels).ALL the films show the Buster Keaton of old and the personal touches of brilliance he was so very capable of exhibiting at a moments notice.He was taking falls and executing gags in some of these shorts as if it was 1922 again.Never mind those that say Buster was washed up and out of it,he still had it;the fact is it never left him,he always had it.He was one of the most brilliant gag men ever to come out of Hollywood,arguably THE best.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Image quality varies,but that can be forgiven, 'cause after all, it's Buster Keaton! Love watching him perform in these rarely seen shorts! What a huge talent!Published 12 months ago by keith diaczun
Here we have Keaton at his best and not his best. There are moments that will stand out an showing him as he was before the MGM mistake. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jerome H. Rubin
Great collection of a true pioneer..............these shorts are still a marvel to viewPublished on August 27, 2014 by Kevin M.
These sound shorts for poverty row Educational Pictures ("The Spice of the Program") was Keaton climbing out of the abyss of being dropped by MGM and a decent into... Read morePublished on May 20, 2013 by M BATEMAN-GRAHAM
Educational Pictures was the cheapest production house in town, so Buster Keaton had to make do with very limited resources when he made these sixteen shorts. Read morePublished on May 18, 2013 by Arthur J. Munson
This was for my son for Christmas. He was ver happy to get it. Keaton is one of his favoritesPublished on January 27, 2013 by L. M. Lowes
Much has already been written about Buster Keaton's "decline" during the talkie era. What usually isn't mentioned is that while this tumultuous period chronicled Keaton's career... Read morePublished on November 6, 2012 by Randy E. Halford
I'm glad they finally put Buster's "Educational Pictures" on DVD. I've seen some really poor quality copies in the past. But these are much better, though not exactly perfect. Read morePublished on November 25, 2011 by gende