The Buster Keaton Collection has been the premiere release of the Cohen Collection in 2019.
Buster Keaton has enough films for a few more volumes, but let’s focus on the four films featured today. Why those four films? Well, I don’t make up the rules. However, the quality drop-off between volumes will be determined by your silent comedy tastes.
Volume 2 offers up Sherlock Jr and The Navigator. Sherlock Jr was the first Buster Keaton film that I watched on repeat. For those unfamiliar with American comics in the 1970s and 80s, books would constantly make reference to the film. So, if it was good enough to be in the background of a Batman comic, I’d figure I’d check it out. Sometimes, film exposure is as simple as that.
The Navigator is a simple premise of a film. A guy and his sweetheart get stuck on a deserted island. Keaton films didn’t need much to work. Whether it’s an amateur boxer, a guy trying to win 7 million dollars or just a goofball doing rando stuff…it all works. I miss the days of simple comedy.
Volume 3 offers up Seven Chances and Battling Butler. Seven Chances is best known for having some of the earliest examples of Technicolor used in a film. Battling Butler is remembered for being a movie. Much like Battling Butler, these mid 1920s films are remembered for being Keaton direction jobs. They played longer than the previous successes and got a little artsy.
That’s not a bad thing. But, it doesn’t quite match the aesthetic set by the prior work. Still, watching both releases from Cohen convinced me something. While Chaplin played more emotional, Keaton actually made entertaining comedies. Not all of the jokes will land nearly 100 years later. However, the historical importance matters.
The Blu-rays comes with stunning 1080p transfers boasting a wonderful restoration. You also get featurettes and restoration trailers. The Cohen Collection has done it again!