30 / BD 150 Buster Keaton: Complete Short Films 1917-1923

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Eureka/Masters of Cinema and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here.
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What A Disgrace
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#76 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Oct 19, 2006 9:27 am

Will this set be ready to go in time for the current street date?

peerpee
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#77 Post by peerpee » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:53 am

No.

We're struggling with last minute delays with it at the moment. It's the largest release we've done yet, and it's logistically quite difficult. Please bear with us. Should be about a week or 10 days late.

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Lemdog
The Man with no Title
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#78 Post by Lemdog » Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:34 pm

Take your time. I rather it be done right, than be done fast.

derek
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:45 am

#79 Post by derek » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:33 am

davidhare wrote:MK2

(if you can find 'em. You'll have to use a French etailer and the titles seem to drift in and out of print -I couldnt find Battling Butler only last June for instance.)

The Kino versions of the features are pretty good, but MK2 wipes them all out, with the sole exception of Go West.

As for the two MGM features Cameraman and Spite Wedding - I have the R1 TCMS which I am NOT crazy about, and again there are French discs of these as well, but quality thus far unknown.
The UK 3 disc set containing the MK2 restored versions of College, Steamboat Bill Jr and Three Ages is currently available at a bargain 13.99 at play.com and I totally agree with David... these are hugely better than the Kino versions.

- Derek

rollotomassi
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#80 Post by rollotomassi » Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:20 am

Strange. My order at play.com went to Order Taken, as it does just before it can send them. Now it's back to Preordered and the release date is 13th November. Let's hope that's the last delay and the teething delays don't turn out to be of the Wisdom tooth variety. We've been waiting a long, long time for this one.

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What A Disgrace
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#81 Post by What A Disgrace » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:06 pm

The MoC website has updated, with a word on the final delay, which is indeed until November 20.

The specs also indicate, and I quote, "Over 740 minutes running time plus extras". Does this mean there will be video extras?

peerpee
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm

#82 Post by peerpee » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:05 pm

I'll let you all know when it's left the factory. Currently I'm proofing discs 3 and 4 and haven't seen the latest incarnation of discs 1 and 2 yet. We've got the hard box and the book printed, but not the Amaray sleeves.

There are no video extras... just six commentaries and the Buster Keaton party audio recording from 1962. The set is over 12hrs, so it's over 3hrs per disc.

Logistically, box set releases can be plagued with delays because there are so many components to get ready at the same time. We're still very hopeful of shipping on November 20th.

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david hare
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#83 Post by david hare » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:53 pm

As long as it's in time for Xmas I think a lot of people are going to be evry happy.

greggster59
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm

#84 Post by greggster59 » Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:53 pm

I don't argue that the tinted prints the transfers came from are arbitrary. Its just that I've seen other versions of these films in black & white. For example, the Mk2 B&W print of the General looks far sharper and cleaner than the tinted one.

That said, I am going to pick up the MoC version because I'm confident that they will look as good as is currently possible. Every other release they have out attests to this. Faust....wow! I never thought it could look that good.

Cheers,
GF

my current review at DVDBeaver.com (Last Exit To Brooklyn)

peerpee
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#85 Post by peerpee » Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:38 am

Don't expect every film to look like FAUST did! --- In many instances, the only way these Keaton films exist in the form they do now is by using dupey 16mm, or by splicing in some digibeta of a fragment from Holland... I really wish they looked better, but we did the best we could.

The finished set is now in my hands. Here are some grabs from (one of the better looking films in the set) THE SCARECROW:

Image

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Arn777
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#86 Post by Arn777 » Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:11 pm

Is this coming out on Monday or will it be shipping from e-tailer a bit later?

peerpee
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#87 Post by peerpee » Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:15 am

Probably later in the week. Stock arrived in London last Friday and is entering distributor channels now... Lots of em have to make their way over to Jersey and then be doled out there to the myriad suppliers in the Channel Islands (amazon, play, etc etc)

greggster59
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm

#88 Post by greggster59 » Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:39 pm

peerpee wrote:Don't expect every film to look like FAUST did! --- In many instances, the only way these Keaton films exist in the form they do now is by using dupey 16mm, or by splicing in some digibeta of a fragment from Holland... I really wish they looked better, but we did the best we could.
Thanks for the preview. I did a quick comparison of these grabs with the Arte version. Not much of a difference really, mainly interlaced vs. progressive. These are probably as good as its ever gonna get unless someone finds a long lost master or print such as Dryer's Passion of Joan of Arc.

Senya
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:05 pm

#89 Post by Senya » Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:59 pm

Got it. Nice box set - thank you. But...

There is no that nice cover almost everybody loved - with a car and a lady, which was posted here before and cannot be seen now (broken link). :)

Also I have a question regarding the following: "There is a 16mm dupe of Moonshine which is more complete than the 35mm extracts available on this set, but which we didn't include here due to the poor image quality." Was it possible to include that more complete version into "The complete short films" box set as a bonus? :( Is it available anywhere?

peerpee
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#90 Post by peerpee » Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:26 pm

Glad you like the set.

We were going to include a set of postcards, including this image, but due to time restraints (Xmas) and a ton of last minute problems, all our time was spent fixing things and a host of other logistical issues I won't bore you with.

re: the 16mm version of MOONSHINE. The only available material was very overexposed and NTSC (the MoC set is PAL). We weren't prepared to standards convert an NTSC master to PAL, especially when faces were bloomed out - but we are looking into ways of making this available online if possible.

It was very exciting to get a new master of THE COOK at the very last minute with 3 minutes of previously lost material!

Senya
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:05 pm

#91 Post by Senya » Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:24 am

peerpee wrote:... re: the 16mm version of MOONSHINE. The only available material was very overexposed and NTSC (the MoC set is PAL). We weren't prepared to standards convert an NTSC master to PAL, especially when faces were bloomed out - but we are looking into ways of making this available online if possible...
That would be great. Because...
...it is most unfortunate that this film has circulated widely more recently only as a 6-minute fragment, which represents one-third or one-quarter of the total running time...
Pleeeeeese. ;)

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Arn777
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#92 Post by Arn777 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:11 am

Just received it at work this morning. That book is phenomenal! Great idea to have round table-type discussion on each film.

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godardslave
Happy-Fun Sunshine Minion of Intolerance
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#93 Post by godardslave » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:53 pm

Can anyone outline or provide the contents page of the book? So we can see the exact details?

greggster59
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm

#94 Post by greggster59 » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:16 am

godardslave wrote:Can anyone outline or provide the contents page of the book? So we can see the exact details?
The book opens with a quote from Keaton's autobiography. Then there is a preface from MOC's Nick Wrigley called "About This Box Set". This is followed by a list of the DVD contents with cast and production info. Several pages are devoted to excerpts of Keaton's recollections from a November 1958 interview.

The bulk of the book is called 'A Roundtable On Buster Keaton". It consists of e-mail correspondence conducted during March and April 2006 between Jean-Pierre Coursodon, Dan Sallitt and Brad Stevens. Their credentials are displayed at the beginning of the section. Their discourse covers the films in this set. Some of it is highly informative and some of it reeks of over analysis. Overall, though, its a very worthy exercise.

The last pages are another excerpt from Keaton's autobiography, an article on the fate of the famous Italian Villa built by Keaton, a selected bibliography and the DVD credits. Throughout the book, there are some wonderful photographs of Keaton and company, some rarely seen.

It is evident that a lot of work went into this.

As to the quality of the films themselves they are progressively transferred from the same sources as the French Arte set of 2001 with new intertitles and some newly discovered footage to make this set as comprehensive as possible. Joseph McBride's six commentary tracks are also a nice addition. These alone make the collection a very important release.

I do have a few issue with the quality of the new transfers, however. Despite being progressive where the Arte set was interlaced, the bit rate of the new DVDs is actually lower than the Arte release. This could be attributed to improved compression technology since the release of the Arte set but it also means that the data on the DVDs do not fill up the discs and, in fact, take up less space than the interlaced Arte set. IMO, it would have been beneficial to up the bit rate as some of the titles actually look less sharp than the Arte. There are a few exceptions. Cops, for instance, looks a lot better. By comparison, Neighbors looks about the same and The Playhouse, to my eye, shows slightly more detail on the Arte version.

To sum up, this is the collection of Keaton shorts to own if you don't already have the Arte set. For those that do, the book and commentaries may be a reason to upgrade.

Bleddyn Williams
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:33 pm
Location: Billerica MA USA

#95 Post by Bleddyn Williams » Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:57 pm

If anyone has a copy and a digital camera, I would dearly love to see some pics of the finished set, and I'm sure I'm not alone! I'm thinking about asking for this for Xmas, and would like a little more feedback on how it all turned out.

Seems a shame that such a substantial set doesn't seem to have online reviews so far. Everybody too busy writing their Superman-related reviews, perhaps! :D

BradStevens
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: UK

#96 Post by BradStevens » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:49 pm

Senya wrote:Also I have a question regarding the following: "There is a 16mm dupe of Moonshine which is more complete than the 35mm extracts available on this set, but which we didn't include here due to the poor image quality." Was it possible to include that more complete version into "The complete short films" box set as a bonus? Is it available anywhere?
The longer version of MOONSHINE is available on a US DVD entitled ARBUCKLE & KEATON VOLUME ONE, on the Kino label. The quality is abysmal, and the intertitles seem to have been rewritten, but it's still worth seeing for that wonderful sequence in which Keaton becomes a monkey (which I suspect Keaton directed).

greggster59
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm

#97 Post by greggster59 » Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:08 pm

I will be doing a comparison of this set with the Arte release and perhaps some Kino captures early next week complete with screen captures at DVDBeaver.com.
Hopefully, this will satisfy the curious as to the quality of this release.

Best,
GF

Senya
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:05 pm

#98 Post by Senya » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:13 pm

Regarding "The Play House"...

MoC:

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Industrial Strength Keaton DVD (not exact frames)

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Screenshots were resized to 640x480.

It looks the Industrial Strength Keaton version is based on 16mm edition with restores the film's original title cards.

Bleddyn Williams
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:33 pm
Location: Billerica MA USA

#99 Post by Bleddyn Williams » Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:23 am

Thanks for these, Senya. The lack of detail in the MoC version in the last picture is a bit shocking. Think I will wait for greggster's comparison before pulling the trigger on this one.

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souvenir
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:20 pm

#100 Post by souvenir » Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:03 pm

My set arrived today from Amazon UK. I've uploaded a few crude pictures. The box cover is the image on the MoC website and it's on nice, thick stock. The cases are all clear amarays with the last being a two-discer. The book is a very impressive 184 pages.

Disc 1
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Disc 2
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Discs 3 & 4
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Book
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