Courtesy: Cohen Media Group
Cohen Media Group recently announced it will release a third new pairing of Buster Keaton classics later this month in the form of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 3. the latest in the studio’s ongoing series of classic Keaton re-issues, it is scheduled for release Aug. 20 on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. While audiences await the collection’s release, they can enjoy the second collection of Buster Keaton classics, which was released July 9. The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 is another wonderful new offering from Cohen Media Group that every classic movie fan will appreciate. That is due in part to the two movies that make up the body of the collection. They will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that is featured with the collection adds a little bit more to the collection’s presentation and will be addressed a little later. The actual restoration of the two movies rounds out the collection’s most important elements and will be addressed later, too. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2. All things considered, they make this latest collection another must have for Buster Keaton fans and classic movie buffs alike.
The second installment of Cohen Media Group’s Buster Keaton Collection series is another positive addition to that ongoing series of classic movie collections. It is a collection that Keaton fans and classic movie buffs alike will enjoy. That is due in part to the movies that make up the collection’s body. This time out, Cohen Media Group presents Keaton’s 1924 movies Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator. Sherlock Jr. finds Keaton’s character – who is unnamed in this movie – being framed for stealing a watch from his lady love’s father. It turns out the crook responsible for taking the watch is a romantic rival to Keaton’s character. Keaton ends up having a dream sequence in which he is the world famous detective Sherlock Jr. Sherlock Jr. sets out to find out who stole a pearl necklace, and in the process, ends up saving a young woman who has been kidnapped. There are lots of great classic physical comedy bits throughout the movie, as well as an extended car chase sequence that involves an unmanned motorcycle. Obviously it’s not actually unmanned, as it is clearly in front of a video screen as Keaton sits on its handles. That aside, it is still believable enough that audiences will be kept on the edges of their collective seats as they enjoy that sequence. The whole thing ends with a happy ending, reuniting Keaton’s character and his lady love in the projection booth of the theater where the character worked. That final act ends with a great laugh, but the reason for that laugh will be left for viewers to discover for themselves.
The collection’s second story finds Keaton playing rich heir Rollo Treadway pining for the love of Betsy O’Brien (Kathryn McGuire). After O’Brien rejects Treadway’s marriage proposal, he accidentally ends up on a boat that will soon thereafter be set adrift as part of a military move. The reason that Treadway ends up on the boat in question is a classic comedy bit that every viewer will love. Of course by some chance of fate, Treadyway does not end up on the boat alone. He ends up, yes, along with O’Brien. At first the duo has no clue the other is aboard the ship, but after some funny hijinks, the duo eventually find one another and end up living together (ironically) almost as a married couple. That likely is part of the story’s overall joke. The ship eventually finds its own way to a tropical island inhabited by cannibals, who the pair have to fight off on their own. This sequence is loaded with lots of wonderful physical comedy that the whole family will enjoy, including Treadyway coming up out of the ocean and scaring the cannibals in his diving suit. Treadway and O’Brien are eventually saved from the cannibals and get back home safely (at least it is inferred that the duo returns home safely). How that save happens will be left for audiences to discover for themselves. In essence, the movie is a romantic comedy with a touch of action thrown in for good measure. In other words, this is a movie that men, women, boys and girls alike will enjoy together. In the same vein, Sherlock Jr. is an action movie with a touch of romance, but it is an action movie that the whole family can enjoy together. The very fact that these two stories are so simply written, yet so fully engaging and entertaining for audiences of all ages is a rather large statement. It shows that there is still a place for movies, such as these, as well as a need for them, especially considering where action flicks and rom-coms have gone in Hollywood’s current era.
The stories that make up the main body of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 build a strong foundation for the collection. They give audiences, by themselves, more than enough reason to add this collection to their home libraries. They are just part of what makes the collection so appealing for viewers. The collection’s bonus content adds its own share of interest to its whole, despite said content’s brief nature. The bonus content in question is lifted from Cohen Media Group’s already released Buster Keaton documentary, The Great Buster. It is not the first time that content from that presentation has been pulled for bonus content. The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 also features bonus content pulled from the program. This time out, audiences get commentary about Keaton’s approach to comedy in general and about his straight face portrayal. The commentary comes from well-known figures, such as film critic Leonard Maltin, actor/comedian Bill Hader and Director Quentin Tarantino. Maltin says in “Buster Keaton: The Great Stone Face” that Keaton’s approach was “post modern” and completely unlike the comedy of his counterpart Charlie Chaplin. He additionally notes the conflict between Keaton and MGM. This is another interesting anecdote that audiences will appreciate learning. Director Jon Watts adds to Maltin’s comments, stating himself that unlike Chaplin and others, Keaton “never set out to get a laugh.” In the second of the brief bonus features, “Buster Keaton: The Comedian,” Hader makes note of Keaton’s ability to fit his Vaudeville training and experience into his comic presentations, noting how that set his comedy apart even more from so many other counterparts. While the bonus content featured in this collection is brief, it still adds its own appreciation to the collection. What’s more, it proves even more why those who have not already viewed The Great Buster will benefit from watching that program. When this is considered alongside the value of the collection’s primary content, the two elements together make for even more appreciation for this collection. They are not the only important elements for audiences to consider in watching this collection, either. The actual restoration of the movies is yet another important factor for audiences to consider.
Audiences will note in watching both of this collection’s featured movies, that each is preceded by a notice of the restoration work conducted in order to bring the movies back to life. The notations make statements about pieces of the movies that were restored and that were added back. In comparing the original films to the restorations, those responsible for that work are to be commended for their efforts. Rather than the sepia tone look of the original films, these presentations – just as with the movies in the first collection – are quite clean and clear. The grainy look is there with each movie, but neither has that aged look of the original film negatives. It just goes to show how much painstaking effort was taken to restore the movies. Those efforts are not lost on this critic and will not be lost on the collection’s target viewers. They are deeply appreciated, and will be appreciated by viewers who love classic movies. When the hard work put into restoring the collection’s movies is considered along with the stories themselves and their companion content, the whole of the collection proves to be another positive offering from Cohen Media Group that Buster Keaton fans and classic movie buffs alike will appreciate.
Cohen Media Group’s recently released second installment in its Buster Keaton Collection series is another win for the company as well as for classic movie fans and Buster Keaton fans. That is due in part to the two stories featured in the collection. One of the movies – Sherlock Jr. – is an action movie that audiences of all ages can enjoy. The other – The Navigator – is a rom-com that the same wide range of viewers can watch together. They prove just how far Hollywood has fallen from its peaks throughout its history. The bonus content featured with the collection is brief, but still engaging and entertaining in its own right. It serves as another reminder of just why those who have not yet watched The Great Buster should watch that documentary. The restoration of both films adds its own enjoyment to the collection, too. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection. All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 anything but a “Buster” for classic film buffs and Buster Keaton fans. More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:
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