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Post-Graduate Keaton

college tc small

The new year begins with a couple of fine box sets that came out a little too late for the holidays. Kino International has completed its Blu-ray upgrade of (most of) the major Keaton features and shorts with the 14-disc “Buster Keaton Collection,” which includes the 1927 “College” in its high-definition debut. A stand-alone release is promised for later this year, for those who have been acquiring the Kino Keatons as they’ve come out over the last few years. It’s painfully clear why “College” has come out last: the print source is very far from the camera negative that produced Kino’s glorious version of “The General,” and it shows a lot of serious damage. The film itself is not one of Buster’s best — it was a low-budget quickie made to recoup some of the losses of “The General,” which cost a fortune and didn’t do well at the box-office, and the plot is plainly derivative of Harold Lloyd’s 1925 “The Freshman,” the William Haines vehicle “Brown of Harvard,” and no doubt dozens of other films constructed around the college sports craze of the 1920s. Keaton himself is so obviously a gifted athlete (he looks a lot better in a track suit than most of the real-life USC students drafted as extras) that it becomes difficult to accept the clumsiness that the screenplay forces on him. But those more properly Keatonesque moments of angelic grace are there as well, most memorably in a gag in which Buster, working as a waiter, takes a spectacular pratfall without spilling a drop of the cup of coffee he’s carrying. More details here, in the New York Times.

53 comments to Post-Graduate Keaton

  • jbryant

    Thanks for the info, Dave. The mind boggles at preparing a comprehensive look at Lew Landers’ career. Go with God!

  • Michael Kastner

    A Day late & a dollar short but today was Lew Landers day on TCM.
    Finally got my hands on The Boogie Man Will Get You.

  • Hi,
    I am the one who run the Al St. John youtube channel. It is part of a large project to restore Al’s legacy. I am also working on a biography on him, both his life and work. The youtube channel is updated as often as I find the time to do so. Please drop by, and there is also a very much active and informative fan-club on Facebook. Thanks for plugging the channel. Anni.