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Steamboat Bill, Jr. [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The last of the independent features made in the prime of Buster Keaton s career, STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. is a large-scale follow-up to The General, substituting a Mississippi paddlewheel for the locomotive, and replacing the spectacle of the Civil War with a catastrophic hurricane. Keaton stars as William Canfield, Jr., a Boston collegian who returns to his deep-southern roots to reunite with his father, a crusty riverboat captain (Ernest Torrence) who is engaged in a bitter rivalry with a riverboat king coincidentally, the father of Willie s sweetheart (Marion Byron). Keaton s athleticism and gift for inventive visual humor are in top form, and the cyclone that devastates a town (and sends houses
literally crashing down around him) is perhaps the most ambitious, awe-inspiring and hilarious slapstick sequence ever created. In the silent era, it was common practice for filmmakers to create two
separate negatives of their films, each comprised of differing takes and camera angles. This definitive Blu-ray edition contains both versions of STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. the Buster Keaton Estate version and the Killiam Shows Archive version each mastered from archival 35mm materials. All new Special Features include: Complete alternate version of Steamboat Bill, Jr., comprised entirely of variant takes and camera angles, Music by The Biograph Players presented in DTS-HD, Master Audio 5.1, Organ score by Lee Erwin, Piano score by William Perry, Documentary on the making of the film, Stills Gallery, Why They Call Him Buster (a montage of pratfalls), and Two vintage recordings of the folk song Steamboat Bill .

Review

It was Keatons extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, when he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies. --Roger Ebert

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton
  • Directors: Charles Reisner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003H221MS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,570 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I must disagree with Leonard Maltin; Steamboat Bill Jr. is one of Keaton's best, and as a very fluid and well-plotted example of late-silent filmmaking, it makes an excellent intro to his work for neophytes-- better perhaps than some of the more deliriously surreal comedies such as Sherlock Jr. Keaton's performance as the college boy son of a riverboat captain is generally regarded as his best acting, and the 20-30-minute hurricane sequence is one of his most remarkable feats of solo pantomime (it includes the famous clip of a building front falling on him, the window landing exactly where he stands). This tape is also worth noting for the presence on it of a recently discovered complete version of the short Convict 13, one of the last missing bits of silent Keaton.
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Format: DVD
I have most of the Buster Keaton DVDs and this is one of the most fun. "Steamboat Bill Jr" is the typical Buster Keaton plot, with twice the stuntwork. The hurricane scene is one of his most famous and shows the talent, genius and dexterity of this man. Incredibly fun and entertaining for the whole family.
The first short, "Convict 13" is not a very high quality print, and some parts of it get very hard to decipher, but you must remember that 1 complete reel of this film was considered lost forever until recently. At least we get to see the short in it's entirety. "Convict 13" was one of Keaton's first starring movies for Metro studios and shows him in a very slapstick-ish role; His trademark dean-pan expressionism and personality have not quite evolved at the time of this film. It's still very fun, but not as sophisticated as his later work.
The final short on this DVD "Daydreams", is another 'nearly lost' classic. The DVD states that some of the footage is unavailable and they took the liberty to piece a few extra stills and title cards to make the movie flow with a comprehensible storyline. Once again, the transfer quality is not high, but better than "Convict 13". "Daydreams" is classic Keaton, complete with the chase scene of 20-30 police officers, ala "Cops" (See 'The General' DVD). There is an implied attempted suicide in "Daydreams", but it's all completely off screen.
Once again, I have yet to be disappointed by a Buster Keaton DVD from Kino International. I recommend it highly.
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Format: DVD
As one of his last great silent films, Steamboat Bill Jr.(1928) is one of Buster Keaton's finest. Nearly a third of it's 69 minute running time is comprised of some of the most spectacular and funniest stunt work Keaton ever did. The General, Our Hospitality and the 45 minute Sherlock Jr. are better films but none are any more entertaining than Steamboat Bill Jr .
Bill (Ernest Torrence) is the tough Captain and owner of the old and somewhat run-down Stonewall Jackson river boat. He is about to be run out of business by the richest man in town, King (Tom McGuire). King has built a huge, fancy river-boat and gets the Stonewall condemned.
Bill then gets word that his son is going to visit him. He has not seen his son for many years-Bill Junior aka Willie, has been in college back east-and Bill Sr. imagines his son must be bigger than he is. He's pretty disappointed that not only does his son look like a 90 pound weakling, but he's got a city slicker hat on that has got to be replaced pronto. Father decides its time to make a man out of his son, while son Willie, has his eyes on a beautiful young lady (Marion Byron) who happens to be chief rival King's daughter.
Father Bill ends up in jail, and Buster Willie tries to break him out. He succeeds, but is almost accosted himself so Father turns himself back in and Willie is sent to the hospital with a minor injury. Just when it looks like the old Steamboat is doomed for extinction, and Willie won't get the girl the weather changes.
The final extended sequence of the film begins at the front porch of the King Hotel. King is warned that a wind storm is coming and the pier is not going to be strong enough to hold his fancy boat against the wind.
The wind blows and the death defying stunts, and inventive sight gags begin.
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Format: DVD
STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928): Never having seen each other before, preppy college student Buster arrives to meet his father at his father's riverboat town along the Mississippi River. Buster's burly father expects a tall blue-collar guy he can pass his riverboat business on to inherit but is disappointed to find a prancing Buster in pantaloons, ukulele, and a ridiculous French beret which comes to irritate his father. It's bad enough that Buster is an incompetent wreck on the boat, the worst thing he had done is get involved with the daughter of his father's enemy. Later, Buster's father gets sent to jail for trying to slug his enemy and this becomes an opportunity where Buster gets to prove himself. The last third of the movie contains some of the most classic scenes Keaton ever filmed, which involve the destruction of the town in a cyclone. Scene after scene shows Keaton bouncing around town trying to survive the desecration swirling around him. I've never seen him more athletic. This movie contains the famous scene of Keaton going through the glassless-window of the side of a 2-story house, which slams to the ground around him. You can see that the wall missed his left shoulder by about an inch. The film did not do well financially when it was released in 1928, but I think it was due to a distribution problem. As an independent filmmaker, Keaton did not release all his films from one single company, such as a good one like MGM which turned his films into hits. I think Steamboat Bill, Jr. was released by United Artists, which was a troubled company. However, Steamboat Bill, Jr. is a definite classic and deserved to be a hit.
One of the offhand things I found amusing in this film is that there's an actual typo on one of the title cards!
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