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Million Dollar Movie

Hot news for us Buster Keaton fans.

According to David Kehr in the New York Times:

A new, double-disc edition (also available as a single Blu-ray disc) of Keaton’s 1928 “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” presents both the familiar, public domain print that has been a staple of film societies and television screenings for decades, and an alternate version, newly discovered in the Keaton estate archive, that uses different takes or different angles for many shots and is cleaner and sharper than the standard print. (It was common in the silent era to produce two different negatives, one for domestic and one for export use; in this case, it isn’t clear which is which.)

…After “The General” (1926) and “College” (1927), “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” was Keaton’s third costly failure in a row, and would prove to be the last film he would make for his own independent production company. Audiences had turned their back on him (In The New York Times the reviewer Mordaunt Hall described “Steamboat Bill” as “a sorry affair”), just as Keaton had turned his back on them, quite literally, at times, given his penchant for shooting himself from behind. Keaton invited neither the audience’s identification, as Lloyd did, nor its sympathy, as Chaplin did. He presented a closed-off, self-sufficient figure, his emotions, if any, hidden behind his famous stone face.

Here is the most famous shot from the movie (no such thing a tough guy actor these days when you see this):

I can’t wait to get this new DVD…

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Million Dollar Movie

Tags:  buster keaton  jr  steamboat bill

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1 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 7, 2010 3:16 pm

I actually really liked "The General"; I love trains and apparently so did Keaton. He did a twenty minute short for the Canada Tourism Board, one of his very last works, called "The Railrodder" that I wrote about a little while ago; definitely interesting for more than one reason and classic Keaton. I'll return with that link in a minute...

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 7, 2010 3:25 pm

Kehr's second paragraph rings very true to me. I watched "College" recently and hated it. It aired next to Lloyd's "The Freshman" on TMC, I'd seen that one before and loved it every bit as much on rewatching. The contrast between the two was striking.

3 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 7, 2010 3:26 pm
4 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 7, 2010 4:09 pm

2) "College" was terrible. Stick to "Sherlock, Jr," "Three Ages" "Steamboat, Bill," "Go West","The General," "The Cameraman"...

5 Matt Blankman   ~  Jul 7, 2010 7:28 pm

Sherlock, Jr. is fantastic. I recall enjoying The Navigator.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 7, 2010 8:38 pm

Oh, yeah, The Navigator is great too. Great premise, and they follow through on it well, too.

7 Matt Blankman   ~  Jul 7, 2010 10:26 pm

Nice Ebert piece on Keaton:

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