Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The General / Steamboat Bill Jr|
Actors: Richard Allen, Glen Cavender, Mike Donlin, Jim Farley, Ronald Gilstrap
Director: Clyde Bruckman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, Military & War
Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 10/21/2003 Run time: 144 minutes Rating: Nr
Great Films, Great Quality DVD.
James Toy | Seaside, CA United States | 07/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had seen The General twice before purchasing this DVD, and acquiring it was my main goal for this purchase. I had not seen Steamboat Bill, so this 2 in 1 DVD seemed like the best buy. Overall, I was not disappointed. The images are extremely sharp and clean for movies of this vintage. They almost look brand new, save for some inevitable, but minor artifacts of age. The General is tinted monochrome. Mostly sepia, with some blue tinted night scenes, a common effect in silent films. Steamboat Bill is straight black and white. Many people are not aware that The General is based on a true story about a locomotive stolen during the Civil War (see: http://ngeorgia.com/people/thegeneral.html), and that the real locomotive now resides in a museum in Kennesaw, GA. The Keaton film is one long exciting chase scene. The first time I saw it, I was actually a little disappointed. It really isn't a comedy, like most of Keaton's films. Rather it is an action movie with sight gags. Once I understood that, I really appreciated the genius of the film, and it is now one of my all-time favorites. It was filmed on location near Cottage Grove, Oregon.Steamboat Bill Jr. is pure fun. It ranks among the best of Keaton's works, I think. Its the story of the son of a steamboat captain, who falls in love with the daughter of a rival boat operator. The climactic storm scene boasts a number of special effects that rival, or even surpass, today's computer generated effects for believeability. There is also one really hokey, but funny effect involving a flying tree. My favorite scene in Steamboat Bill was in a hat shop, where there is an inside joke that will be understood only by those who have seen more of Keaton's work.I would give this DVD five stars instead of four, except that I have mixed feelings about the Alloy Orchestra soundtrack. Their percussive style was very effective in The General with its rapid-fire chase scenes and mechanical locomotive movements. On this film I give them an A. However, they were far less impressive on Steamboat Bill. Here, the music often felt intrusive and distracting, drawing attention away from the action to the orchestra itself. Moreover, a couple of times the style of the music failed to match the mood of the scene. On this movie I give the orchestra a C-. I would really like to see some DVD's with a "Mighty Wurlitzer" theater organ soundtrack to mimic the performance one might have experienced in most theaters of the 1920s. Orchestral accompaniment was quite rare in the silent era, except in the largest big city theaters."
Two Reasons to Love America
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 07/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The two funniest and most visually artful movies ever made! Some of my amazon friends have expressed concern over my lack of gung ho patriotism and regard for home-grown all-American products. Well, y'all, I say without reservation that the silent-era comedies are America's answer to the Parthenon, the Sistine Chapel, and the Mercedes Benz 300SL, and Buster Keaton is our Shakespeare, Goethe, and Ibsen all in one.
Steamboat Bill is a classic wimpy-son-overcomes-macho-dad story, with fantastic physical humor and a storm scene made with propellor fans that's more effective than anything done with computer graphics.
The General is a miracle of cinematography - the best chase scenes ever, the best realization on film of the Civil War period - and a total hoot besides. Buster plays a Rebel engineer who steals a locomotive and gets chased by half the Yankee army; oddly enough, the script is based on a real event of train-theft and sabotage, but the clever saboteur was a Yankee and the pursuers Secessionists. I guess Buster was a Copperhead, a northerner with southern sympathies, but I'll forgive him.
Sweden has Bergman, Italy has Fellini, Japan has Kurosawa, but America has Buster Keaton! Happy Fourth of July!"
The Keaton DVD you've been waiting for....
L. Barden | Oakland, CA United States | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, at least it's the one I was waiting for. "The General" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and "Steamboat Bill" is my second most favorite Keaton movie. I've seen the Kino DVDs of both films, and I was blown away by the quality of Film Preservation Associates' restoration. Just astonishing--they look like they were filmed last week.If there was one weak point of those DVDs, it was the music. For example, the music for "General" was basically a series of Civil War tunes. Not bad by any means, but unremarkable. The music didn't add or subtract from either movie.That all changes with THIS new DVD edition! The Alloy Orchestra (which is actually just three people) composed and performed brand new scores for both films, in high fidelity stereo (of course). The difference is astounding. Thanks to the new scores, both movies have a new energy and immediacy, and I find this edition to be far more entertaining than the original Kino releases. And, since the versions of the films on this DVD are the same FPA restored versions on the Kino releases, I'd have to say this is the DVD that Buster Keaton fans should DEFINITELY own, even if they already own the first Kino releases.But don't just take my word for it. If you can, rent this DVD, compare it to the original Kino release, and judge for yourself. See if you're as impressed as this Keaton fan was."
Awesome visual quality and music!
Primadogga | Topeka, KS United States | 01/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While the Kino releases of these and other Buster Keaton films are entertaining, this release has the advantage of (1) being taken from excellent prints of the movies, and (2) the music (non-intrusively) complementing the story. In The General the music has a simple chugging quality, and changes tempo with the speed of the trains, while in Steamboat Bill it imitates the windstorm. It's a great effect - the music, while not a "soundtrack," onomatopoeietically (?) does what the musicians in the original theaters likely did - it helps bring out the excitement in the story."