Kino Lorber, in association with Lobster Films, is proud to announce the Blu-ray and DVD releases of BUSTER KEATON: THE SHORTS COLLECTION, a five-disc collection of Keaton’s 32 extant silent short films, presented in 2K restorations, newly scanned using archival film elements from around the world. This set includes the short comedies that Keaton made with pioneering silent comedy genius Roscoe Arbuckle, as well as all 19 of his independently-produced silent shorts that have cemented his reputation as one of silent cinema’s most unique and respected artists.
As new generations discover the magic of silent cinema, Buster Keaton has emerged as one of the era’s most admired and respected artists. Behind the deadpan expression and trademark porkpie hat was a filmmaking genius who conceived and engineered some of the most breathtaking stunts and feats of visual trickery, while never losing sight of slapstick cinema’s primary objective: laughter.
Produced by Lobster Films, BUSTER KEATON: THE SHORTS COLLECTION includes all 32 of Keaton’s extant silent shorts (thirteen of which were produced under the tutelage of comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle). These 2k restorations were performed utilizing archival film elements from around the world, and promises to be the definitive representation of Keaton’s early career. Watching these films in succession, one witnesses the evolution of an artist — from broad knockabout comedian into a filmmaker of remarkable visual sophistication.
Set to street on May 24, 2016, with a SRP of $59.95 for the Blu-ray and $44.95 for the DVD, BUSTER KEATON: THE SHORTS COLLECTION includes 13 of the Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle comedies produced between 1917-1920, in which Keaton co-starred alongside Arbuckle and Al St. John. In these formative works, Keaton honed his craft performing for the camera, and learned the art of filmmaking from Arbuckle, an extremely gifted comedy performer and director who, at the time, was second only to Chaplin among the screen’s most popular clowns.
The set also showcases all 19 of Keaton’s independently-produced silent shorts, made between 1920 and 1923, including such classics as One Week, which follows the disastrous efforts of Keaton and his new bride to put together a prefabricated house; Cops, in which Keaton finds himself pursued by the entire city police force; and The Playhouse, a technical tour-de-force with Keaton playing all of the members of the cast (and audience) of a theatrical show.
This edition also features the restored version of Hard Luck, Keaton’s own favorite of all his short comedies, which includes the “missing” ending with the final sight gag intact. These films, all of which were co-directed by Keaton, show him emerging as a fully-formed film artist, demonstrating both his remarkable slapstick abilities as a performer, and sophisticated visual style as a filmmaker.
The films in this collection are presented with orchestral scores by Frank Bockius, Neil Brand, Timothy Brock, Antonio Coppola, Stephen Horne, Robert Israel, The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Dennis Scott, and Donald Sosin.
Special features include alternate versions of some of the shorts, such as a newly-rediscovered alternate version of the 1922 comedy The Blacksmith, containing four minutes of previously unseen material, an alternate ending of My Wife’s Relations, and an alternate (politically incorrect) ending of the 1917 Arbuckle-Keaton short, Coney Island.
Other special features include a 24-page booklet with detailed film notes and essay by Jeffrey Vance, author of Buster Keaton Remembered, an introduction by film preservationist Serge Bromberg (6 min.), and an excerpt from Buster Keaton’s television show Life with Buster Keaton (1951), in which he reenacts Roscoe Arbuckle’s “Salomé Dance”, first performed in their 1918 two-reeler The Cook.
Complete List of Films Contained in This Collection:
The Arbuckle-Keaton comedies, 1917-1920
All films directed by Roscoe Arbuckle
- The Butcher Boy (1917)
- The Rough House (1917)
- His Wedding Night (1917)
- Oh Doctor! (1917)
- Coney Island (1917)
- Out West (1918)
- The Bell Boy (1918)
- Moonshine (1918)
- Good Night, Nurse! (1918)
- The Cook (1918)
- Back Stage (1919)
- The Hayseed (1919)
- The Garage (1920)
The Keaton silent short comedies, 1920-1923
All films directed by Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline unless otherwise noted.
- One Week (1920)
- Convict 13 (1920)
- The Scarecrow (1920)
- Neighbors (1920)
- The Haunted House (1921)
- Hard Luck (1921)
- The “High Sign” (1921)
- The Goat (1921) (directed by Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair)
- The Play House (1921)
- The Boat (1921)
- The Paleface (1922)
- Cops (1922)
- My Wife’s Relations (1922)
- The Blacksmith (1922) (directed by Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair)
- The Frozen North (1922)
- The Electric House (1922)
- Day Dreams (1922)
- The Balloonatic (1923)
- The Love Nest (1923)
- 24-page booklet with detailed film notes and essay by Jeffrey Vance, author of Buster Keaton Remembered
- The Blacksmith – Newly rediscovered alternate version of the 1922 comedy, containing four minutes of previously unseen material
- Coney Island – alternate (politically incorrect) ending
- My Wife’s Relations – alternate ending
- Introduction by film preservationist Serge Bromberg (6 min.)
- Life with Buster Keaton (1951, excerpt) – Keaton reenacts Roscoe Arbuckle’s “Salomé dance”, first performed in The Cook