It wasn’t until just before his death in 1966 that Buster Keaton began to receive the attention and respect he deserved as the genius of silent film that he was. Unlike some of his contemporaries, time has been kind to Keaton and his work. Most of his films have survived the nitrate-fueled fires that plagued early film, allowing them to be appreciated by audiences he himself didn’t live to see.
|Courtesy of Kino International|
Such is the case with Kino Classics’ upcoming release, the “Ultimate 2-Disc Edition” set of Buster Keaton’s “Go West” and “Battling Butler.”
The time and effort put into Kino’s releases is immediately evident on screen. Using 35 mm nitrate copies of the films stored by the Library of Congress, Kino has remastered the films in HD, giving them a crispness and clarity that cannot be equaled. To demonstrate my point, here are three stills from the exact same scene in three versions of “Go West.”
Kino has dubbed itself the source for Buster Keaton and this release supports that claim. Featuring two of Keaton’s lesser-known films, “Go West” and “Battling Butler,” the set also boasts rare extras, including: an hour-long audio track featuring Keaton discussing a script proposal for the TV show “Wagon Train,” a Hal Roach short entitled “Go West,” a screenplay for a remake of “Battling Butler” written by Keaton and galleries of production stills. The script proposal itself is fascinating, if only because the listener hears Keaton go through his creative thought process in real time, bouncing ideas off of another writer.
Other versions of “Go West” and “Battling Butler” are available, but to settle for a lesser version would be doing yourself, and Buster, a disservice.
The set is available on standard DVD and Blu-ray and will be released on September 27, but you can pre-order it now at a discounted price. It is a definite must-have for Keaton and silent film fans alike.