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Buster Keaton
The astonishing career of Buster Keaton - from vaudeville to silents, through talking pictures and television - spanned more than 60 years. One of the biggest stars in Hollywood in the 20s, Keaton has been rediscovered by new generations, and hailed as a comic genius. His films have been recognized as classics.
Buster made his screen debut in 1917. With his deadpan expression and incredible stuntwork, he quickly became an audience favorite. He soon moved from costarring roles in two-reelers to feature-length comedies. By the mid-20s he claimed his place with Charlie Chaplin as one of the masters of screen comedy. Successful, wealthy and world renowned, Buster Keaton was one of the top stars of the 20s. He released his comic masterpiece The General in 1926, the film he was more proud of than any other in his career. But when his contract was sold to MGM and he lost creative control of his films, his fortunes began to slip. Fights with his producers and marital problems pushed him over the edge into alcoholism and unemployment. Keaton returned to MGM in the 30s as a mere gag writer, but rediscovery by film critic James Agee in 1949 transformed his life, sparking a revival of his films, and a series of guest shots and special appearances on television. In 1959 he received an honorary Academy Award, and continued appearing in films until his death in 1966. Being called a "genius" made him uncomfortable... "I never realized that I was doing anything but trying to make people laugh," he said.
On this special page devoted to the great Buster Keaton, we offer on DVD many of his most popular and critically acclaimed movies. They are all in the public domain. On DVD the first one is $9.99... then each additional movie is $5.00. US shipping $1 first class. International us$3.
(SPECIAL PRICING is available to EDUCATORS of English, Drama, Film... eMail us for details)
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The Balloonatic
1923 ~ B&W ~ 22 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Buster, the city slicker, is carried into the wilderness by a rogue hot air balloon. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Phyllis Haver.
The Blacksmith
1920 ~ B&W ~ 20 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
In this parody on rural efficiency, Buster plays a blacksmith who applies assembly line tactics to the outfitting of horses. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Mal St. Clair.
The Boat
1920 ~ B&W ~ 20 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Buster and his family are reduced to a primeval struggle to survive aboard a nightmarish vessel, the infamous "Damfino." Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Sybil Sealey.
Boom In The Moon
1946 ~ B&W ~ 83 minutes ~ Sound
The one and only "Great Stone Face" gets shanghaied to fly a spaceship to the moon. English dubbed. Dir. Jaime Salvador. Buster Keaton, Angel Garasa, Fernando Soto.
The Buster Keaton Show
This rare piece is a kinescope of a live production that was produced by the California Studebaker dealers and stars the lovable stoneface. On this one Buster learns the hard way not to be seen with the wife of a boxer, particularly when he has to climb in the ring with him. Features the original live car commercials. B&W ~ 30 minutes ~ 1950s.
College
1927 ~ B&W ~ 65 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Buster plays Ronald, a college freshman who, in order to impress the girl of his drams, tries out for all college sports, producing a series of hilarious funny athletic failures and a triumphant finale. Directed by James W. Horne. Also features Ann Cornwall, Snitz Edwards, Harold Goodwin.
Cops
1920 ~ B&W ~ 18 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
The most famous Keaton short is an epic straight-out chase in which hundreds of uniformed police join in hot pursuit of the elusive Buster. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Virginia Fox.
Daydreams
1920 ~ B&W ~ 18 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Buster copes with an animal hospital, a steamboat paddle wheel and an army of pursuing policemen. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Renee Adoree.
The Electric House
1922 ~ B&W ~ 27 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
A botanist who is mistakenly awarded a degree in engineering, Buster agrees to install electricity in a millionaire's house. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Virginia Fox.
The General
1927 ~ B&W ~ 107 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
The greatest of Keaton films. Both a dramatic comedy and an authentic-looking period drama. Buster plays an engineer whose love is divided between his girl, Annabellle, and his locomotive, The General. Written and directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman. Also features Marian Mack.
Li'l Abner
1940 ~ B&W ~ 90 minutes ~ Sound
The most eligible bachelor in Dog Patch, Li'l Abner, is being chased by sweetheart Daisy Mae who wants to marry him. Features Granville Owen, Martha Driscoll, Buster Keaton, Kay Sutton, Edgar Kennedy, Lucien Littlefield. Directed by Marcel Pagnol.
The Love Nest
1923 ~ B&W ~ 20 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
In a dream Buster enjoys adventures in the high seas and under them only to wake up moored safely to the dock in his small motor boat. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton.
My Wife's Relations
1922 ~ B&W ~ 30 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
A biting comedy of domestic turmoil that seems to reflect some of the tensions between Keaton and the Talmadges, his real life in-Laws at the time (Natalie, his wife, and her sisters Norma and Constance, the matriarchal Hollywood clan of the day). Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Kate Price.
The Paleface
1923 ~ B&W ~ 20 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Thanks to asbestos underwear, Buster is accepted by rampaging Indians as a minor god. He becomes top brave and a target of pursuit by rival Indians and land-grabbers. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Joe Roberts.
The Playhouse
1920 ~ B&W ~ 22 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Keaton plays the audience, the orchestra and the performers of a small playhouse, an aggregate of about two dozen characterizations in this brilliant tour de force. Written and Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Virginia Fox.
Steamboat Bill Jr.
1928 ~ B&W ~ 69 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
Filled with hilariously innovative sight gags, this is undoubtedly Keaton's most accomplished performance. A bit of Americana about two feuding riverboat owners and focusing also on the father-son relationship between tough, burly Captain Bill Canfield and his long lost son. Directed by Carl Harbaugh. Also features Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron, Tom McGuire.
Three Ages
1923 ~ B&W ~ 63 minutes ~ Silent with Musical Score
A brilliant historical satire teeming with inventive flourishes, this is a silent comedy of truly epic proportions. This clever parody of D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance" follows Buster's hard-luck romantic misadventures throughout world history: from the dawn of man in the Stone Age, through the gladiatorial arenas of Ancient Rome to the streets of the American Jazz Era. By flavoring the ancient stories with bits of modern comedy (like the spare tire with which Buster repairs his chariot), Keaton forged an original approach to history, humor, and cinema that foreshadowed the Mel Brooks and Monty Python films that followed half a century later. Directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline. Also features Wallace Beery, Margaret Leahy, Joe Roberts.
The above, on DVD first one is $9.99... then each additional movie is $5.00. US shipping $1 first class. International us$3.
(SPECIAL PRICING is available to EDUCATORS of English, Drama, Film... eMail us for details)
Buster Keaton
A Hard Act To Follow
A Documentary
This is the excellent, highly acclaimed, very rare documentary on Buster Keaton commissioned by the BBC in 1987. Running 156 minutes in color and black and white, the documentary is divided into three parts:
From Vaudeville To Movies
Includes rare footage and scenes from "The Butcher Boy" (1917), "One Week" (1920), "The Playhouse" (1921), "Sherlock Jr." (1924), "Our Hospitality" (1923 and "The Navigator" (1924).
Star Without A Studio
Rare footage and Scenes from "Seven Chances" (1925), "The General" (1926), "Free and Easy" (1930), "Speak Easily" (1932) and "Grand Slam Opera" (1936).
A Genius Recognized
Rare Footage and clips from "Hollywood Cavalcade" (1939), "The Buster Keaton Story" (1957), "The Railrodder" (1965), "Film" (1965) and "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" (1966).
Recorded from BBC Television, Out of Print. DVD ntsc Region 1 (US). Narrated by Lindsay Anderson, Music by Carl Davis, Written and Produced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill. Made in association with Raymond Rohauer.
156 Minutes. $19.00 US shipping $1 first class. International us$3.
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