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Complete Buster Keaton Shorts: Eureka Masters of Cinema #30 - The birth of a legend!
on 9 June 2011
In 1917 an unassuming little chap in a strange flat hat strolled into a store and stood in some molasses with much mirth resulting. This was the first screen appearance of Buster Keaton, and from the off he made an impression.
This remarkable set collects all the existing Buster short films from the period 1917 to 1924, it does not include the shorts made fro MGM in the `30s. It is film after film of some incredibly accomplished and quite amazing visual humour, packed with truly remarkable stunts.
In the earliest material Buster was sidekick to Roscoe Arbuckle, and so he is necessarily in the background. These films where he is learning the craft are a real joy though. Especially with the very welcome presence of Arbuckle, a comedy great whose material is frustratingly hard to get hold of due to the ordure unfairly heaped upon his head after his infamous trial and acquittal.
In later films Buster takes on writing and directing duties, as well as moving to being the main star. He was given freedom to develop a style of his own, and took to opportunity with both hands. Innovative stunts and a love of gadgetry abound, and the laughs just keep on coming, even nearly a century later!
Eureka have done their usual excellent job with this set, and it is a real joy. The films have been restored lovingly and presented in their best possible form. Each has a sympathetic and well suited musical accompaniment. There is a fascinating book with excerpts from and interview with Buster and his autobiography talking about these early years of his career. It is a superb set with a real feel of quality and loving attention from the producers.
There are 4 discs, in 3 normal DVD cases and a booklet the width of one DVD case, all collected into a nice card slipcase. An essential purchase for any lovers of comedy.