Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent movie Steamboat Bill, Jr, now on rerelease, is most famous for that staggeringly clever and ambitious shot of the house front with the strategically positioned open window collapsing on top of our hero, leaving him unscathed. It is a sublime vision of innocence being protected by comically benign forces – famously pastiched by British artist and Oscar-winning film-maker Steve McQueen in his 1999 video piece Deadpan. Steamboat Bill, Jr is a Romeo-and-Juliet drama and also a gently tender story of a man coming to respect and love his son. Bill Sr (Ernest Torrence) is the captain of a tatty old pleasure boat who hasn’t seen his son since the boy was a baby. He’s hoping for a strapping lad to help out with the business. But Bill Jr (Keaton
These are old films, but they're Vermeers compared to comedies made half a century or more since, even "Steamboat Bill Jr." (1928), roundly dubbed an okay Keaton, not a peak work, but now restored and released in a lavish set from Kino that begs for reconsideration.
Today, this quaint, precise, epic entertainment, crafted in the strange transitional phase between the silent era and the struggling years of the first talkies, seems like a necessity, a gust of relaxed maturity and reason
Kino leapt into the world of Blu-ray with the Buster Keaton film, The General.
Kino International released a press release this weekend announcing that the film is set to come to DVD and Blu-Ray, with some really excellent special features. Included in the release will be three different musical backing tracks in the form of two scores (one organ and one piano) as well as a complete score by the Biograph Players, as well as a documentary on the making of the film, a stills gallery, a musical montage of stunts and pratfalls, and two recordings of the folk song, Steamboat Bill.
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