Comparing this new Blu-ray release to the old Art Of Buster Keaton DVD shows much improvement.
1) A significant amount of picture has been added to all sides! The old DVD was heavily cropped on all sides! But this added picture comes with some downsides, there was a framing problem in the master film and at times there is a lighter grey-tone bar at the bottom of the picture. This was cropped off in the old DVD.
2) The new High Definition transfer is sharper and does add details to the grass on the ground and the ivy on the buildings. Even the grainy replacement section at 24:51 looks way better here.
3) The old DVD was a little too bright, some of the whites seemed to wash out. This new transfer lowers the white levels to correct this. However it gives the film the look of being shot on a cloudy day. Some may like the brighter look of the old DVD, others will like this less washed-out presentation. I prefer this version, but find the old DVD acceptable.
4) Image stabilization has been used in this new transfer. The most noticeable improvement is in the opening titles, they are rock steady (but not a freeze frame).
5) The original DVD had some of it's dialogue cards replaced with black background cards. Here in this new transfer, all dialogue cards have the same curtain background. They look original, not recreations.
The downside: Soms shots are still soft here and there as inferior prints had to be used where footage was missing fromt he original 35mm master. But that is the nature of watching old films originally filmed on Nitrate film.
This 1hour and 5 minute film has the same John Muri musical accompanyment as the old DVD, but it sounds crisper here.
There is also an optional COMMENTARY TRACK by Slapsticon founder and film historian ROB FARR.
The old DVD included Buster's shorts that are now on the Buster Keaton Shorts Blu-ray, but no real bonuses.
This Blu-ray has two bonus features:
a) Silent Echos (9:55) a then & now look at the shooting locations of "College".
b) The Scribe (29:25) a 1966 Construction Safety Associates of Onterio COLOR industrial film starring Buster. This would be Buster's last appearance on film before he passed away.
Buster is a new reporter who visits a construction site to report on construction accidents. However the biggest cause of accidents on this site is Buster himself.
Buster doesn't speak in this sound film, he only points to a list of safety regulations and a narrator recites the regulation. This pantomime separates him from reality and makes it easier to watch this now elderly man get bounced around. This late example of Buster's work is a good indication on how the world sadly ignored this talented man since the 1940's.
AS FOR THE FEATURE FILM, College has never been one of my favorites. Buster is attending college (which was a new concept in Los Angeles in those days as their universities were just being built). After giving a speech on how important studies are over athletics, Buster's girlfriend tells him he must re-think his ideas if she is going to stay with him. So Buster enters that athletic world (in real life Buster is an athlete). Buster's thrill of athletics is apparent here, but 15 minutes of him blundering around on the Track & Field Stadium doesn't make good cinema. This happens right in the middle of the film, it feels like the pace grinds to a halt. We smile at his blunders, but they are not genuinely funny. The film picks up again and Buster is in top form during the boat race finale.
***PC WARNING*** Buster does apply for a job asking for "Colored Waiters" and goes in black-face for the job.
Any Buster Keaton film is still enjoyable, and if you are thinking of upgrading to this Blu-ray, I would suggest it