Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Cook and Other Treasures|
Actors: Harold Lloyd, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Mildred Davis, Roy Brooks
Directors: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Hal Roach, Fred C. Newmeyer
Genres: Classics, Comedy
At the Bull Pup Cafe, Fatty Arbuckle is chef of all trades while Buster Keaton waits tables in own inimitable fashion. When a tough guy annoys the pretty cashier, Keaton comes to her defense with help from Luke the Dog, fe... more »
Oh yes, worth the wait!
Mark Pollock | Davis, CA United States | 05/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So, there's not much more I can say about the restoration of "The Cook", so let me simply speak to the quality of the dvd.The three films here are well presented. They have been carefully transferred and encoded, so that as much detail as possible comes through. The Cook is amazing to see. IT's obvious that the materials used were not of high-quality, but the restorers have brought as much quality into the print as possible, and the results are very watchable, certainly more watchable than most low-budget dvd releases.The music is good, it accompanies the film without taking over.There is a bonus function where you can view the two unrestored copies of "The Cook". You can also put the dvd into your computer and try to edit together your own version. "Look mom, I'm a silent film restorer!!" An amazing idea whose time has come....P>Kudos to the producers!"
Eric Stott | Albany, NY USA | 01/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw THE COOK in a rough print of the restoration. The crowd loved it. Picture a theater filled with continuous roaring laughter during Arbuckle and Keaton's riotous rendition of Salome's dance, which somehow manages to incorporate the death of Cleopatra. We laughed until it hurt, and didn't stop."
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 12/31/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen the VHS version of this which is exactly the same as the DVD. It is worth it alone for THE COOK which I feel to be Arbuckle's masterpiece. All of his best comic bits including his incredible acrobatic ability with objects (throwing knives, flipping pancakes behind his back) are on full display as well as a merciless parody of Theda Bara in CLEOPATRA which is wickedly funny even if you don't know the source. Buster Keaton as the "pest/waiter" has some great moments including nearly being beheaded with a meat cleaver by Fatty. Al St. John is the "toughest guy in the world" and even Fatty's dog Luke gets to play a prominent part in the proceedings. This short must be seen to be believed.
A RECKLESS ROMEO is typical silent comedy fare with Fatty taking his wife and mother-in-law to the local cinema only to see his earlier flirting in the park shown on the screen with the obvious results. Both of these long lost films were discovered in archives in Norway. They are 95% complete with both prints in very good but not great shape. The Harold Lloyd short NUMBER PLEASE? included to fill out the disc is not top notch Lloyd but is funny nevertheless. It too is in very good condition but has some rough spots thus 4 stars instead of 5. THE COOK however is the real find here. Milestone Films has done their usual fine job by providing tinted prints with an appropriate piano score. If you're a big fan of Arbuckle then you'll want to get this DVD even if you have the earlier Kino or Image releases. If you don't have those then this is the ideal introduction to the "Prince Of Whales", Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle."
Arbuckle on center stage, with Keaton and Lloyd supporting
Robert Morris | San Francisco | 11/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This collection marks the release of two films long thought lost by film historians: "The Cook" starring Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, and "A Reckless Romeo", thought by some to be another lost Arbuckle/Keaton film, but in fact featuring only Arbuckle. The prints were discovered in 1998 in unmarked canisters in the Norwegian Film Institute. "Reckless" seems to be complete, but "The Cook" is missing footage at the end, which is a little disappointing to the viewer; still, fans of Keaton are grateful of the discovery of the film.
"The Cook" takes place in a cafe, with Arbuckle in the kitchen and Keaton as a waiter. The gags fly at a furious pace, combining Arbuckle's deft and droll knife-wielding; a "magic urn" that seems to produce just about anything wished for, including coffee, milk, gravy, something that looks like stew, and eventually, Arbuckle's jacket; and a game of catch with food orders between Fatty and Buster. We're not talking subtlety here, but the humor emerging from the sheer turmoil is infectious -- I would love to see it in a crowded movie house. Both Fatty and Buster add their own version of grace to their physical humor, but Buster especially is, as always, a joy to behold: no one ever has taken a fall with such precision, and Buster takes numerous high-precision falls in this movie. One also appreciates the effort of Al St. John in "The Cook" (as "the toughest guy in the world") and "Reckless Romeo"; he blends well into Fatty and Buster's world of chaos as a sort of hybrid between "dumb country rube" and "half-crazed urban punk".
The most famous scene in "The Cook", parts of which have been repeated over the years by either Fatty or Buster alone, is a middle-eastern veil dance, first performed by Buster, then taken over by Fatty. Buster's version is all grace and athleticism; its humor is the result of being an almost spot-on perfect imitation of a perfectly executed female veil dance. Fatty's version, by contrast, is way over-the-top, with kitchen props, a cabbage head representing that of John the Baptist (Fatty imitating Salome here), and a transition into a death-of-Cleopatra scene, with a link of sausages delivering the fatal snake bite.
This collection also contains "Number Please", an entertaining short starring Harold Lloyd. Lloyd's character and comic techniques offer an interesting contrast to the Arbuckle/Keaton pairing. "Number Please" (1920) lacks the pure Keystone-influenced chaos of the other films in this set, and engages in simple and effective story-telling, with more clear character definition. Like other Lloyd films, it also has a freshness and natural feel to it -- one gets a deep sense of the cultural world of 1920 around which Lloyd's "glasses character" lives. Lloyd also has a physical grace and athleticism that offers an interesting contrast to Keaton and Arbuckle. The only disappointment is that this short is also in "The Slapstick Symposium" collection starring Lloyd, which I also recommend, but I didn't appreciate having to purchase two copies of the same film."