Saturday, 21 March 2020

Buster Keaton: Three Films Volume 2 (1924-26)

"More 4K Keaton!"

Eureka continues its essential work of ensuring there are as many Buster Keaton 4K restorations on Blu-ray on UK shelves as possible with the release of three more of his longer works. I previously reviewed Volume One in the series here and Eureka's impressive box set of Keaton's short work here. As with the previous volume this one comes with a 60 page book and a wealth of extras on the discs. So what do we get this time around?

The Navigator (1924)

Coming after SHERLOCK JR, THE NAVIGATOR was the biggest hit of Keaton's career. He plays rich Rollo Treadway, who gets on the wrong boat after plans for a honeymoon in Honolulu go awry. However, his bride to be, Betsy (Kathryn McGuire) has also got on the same boat and together they find themselves adrift and alone, without a clue how to power the vessel, or even cook dinner. Encounters with cannibals and creatures of the deep do not help. 

Extras include a commentary track by film historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan, Boats Brides & Boxers -  a 34 minute video essay by David Cairns covering all three films in the set, and Of Buster, Boats, Other Seacfraft and Working on THE NAVIGATOR, a nine minute featurette by Bruce Lawton.

Seven Chances (1925)

Buster is Jimmy Shannon, junior partner in a law firm that is horrifically in debt. His problems may be solved when he inherits seven million dollars.The only problem is he has to be married by the end of the day. A climax that involves Keaton being chased by hundreds of potential brides through a number of increasingly perilous-looking set-pieces makes SEVEN CHANCES possibly the highlight of the set. 

Extras include a commentary track from Joel Goss and Bruce Lawton and there's an extra twenty minute Keaton short, WHAT! NO SPINACH? as well.

Battling Butler (1926)

Keaton is rich spoiled dandy Alfred Butler, sent into the wilderness to 'be a man' by his father. With only his trusty manservant, a huge tent, several suit changes and enough posh gear to equip an army, Alfred discovers love in the mountains. However, the girl's family only agrees to allow him to marry after they are led to believe he is another Alfred Butler, prizewinning lightweight boxer who is shortly due to take on The Alabama Murderer. Apparently BATTLING BUTLER was one of Martin Scorsese's inspirations when making 1980's RAGING BULL.

Extras on this disc are five different audio interviews with Buster Keaton adding up to three hours' worth of material, as well as the trailer for the film.

      The accompanying book contains new writing on all three films and the whole thing comes in the kind of limited edition hardbound slipcase that this kind of set deserves. Another winner from Eureka,

Buster Keaton: Three Films Volume 2 is out on Blu-ray from Eureka on Monday 30th March 2020

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