Buster Keaton goes back to school and stages a hilarious send-up of university life in "College" (1927, 66 min.). Keaton stars as Ronald, an idealistic freshman who attends Clayton College in pursuit of higher learning, bu... more »t finds him instead embroiled in a war of athletics as he fights for the heart of his beloved coed, Mary (Ann Cornwall). Also included: "The Electric House" (1922, 23 min.), in which Buster turns an ordinary dwelling into an automated funhouse, whose modern conveniences go hilariously haywire at the hands of a jealous rival. Mechanical mayhem is also wrought in the shop of "The Blacksmith" (1922, 21 min.). For decades a lost film until its recent rediscovery and restoration, "Hard Luck" (1921, 22 min.), which Keaton named as his favorite short work, follows a suicidal Buster as he makes a final effort at fitting in with society at a swank country club.« less
""College", which Keaton made immediately after his classic "The General", was based on a novel whose rights had been purchased for Keaton by his business partner (and brother-in-law). Keaton didn't like the material, but he gave it the "college try". The result is a film that is not among Keaton's best, has many delightful gags. One stunt still defies belief: Keaton, who's working as a waitor, is tripped while carrying a full cup of coffee; he does a full 360-degree flip, but somehow manages not to spill a drop!There's more to this movie than gags, though. The final 30 seconds give full vent to Keaton's deep pessimism about the human condition. It is perhaps the blackest sequence in all of cinema; certainly, after such a light comedy, it comes like punch in the stomach.Kino does its usual fine job with the video transfer and extras. This disk is a must-have for any fan of silent comedy."
To Boldly Go Where Harold Lloyd Had Gone Before
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 05/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"COLLEGE came during the same period in Buster Keaton's career as did his most famous feature, THE GENERAL. Yet the difference couldn't be more startling. While THE GENERAL reveled in thrills, spills, chases, daring rescues, and fun sight gags, COLLEGE is more a random collection of physical comedy jokes that achieve varying degrees of success. Yes, there's some funny material, but I can't say that this film matches up with Keaton at his best.The basic story is that Keaton is a High School graduate (yeah, everyone looks about twice as old as the characters they're playing) who ridicules athletics during his valedictorian speech. But desperate to win back the heart of his shallow girlfriend, he must excel at some sporting event. He goes with her to college (along with the aged High School athlete) determined to prove his worth. I know we're expected to take it as given that Keaton is in love with his sweetheart. Yet, was there anyone in the audience who didn't want to tell him to run a mile when she came up with her "learn sports or else!" ultimatum? The gags involving Keaton's unsuccessful attempts to participate in baseball, track and field, etc are occasionally fun, but are usually quite predictable. I laughed a few times during the film, which had more to do with the fact that Keaton's body language could make almost anything funny, not that the script had come up with anything particularly strong.Since the main feature only runs for a few minutes over an hour, there are also three short films to pad out the DVD. First up is THE ELECTRIC HOUSE where Keaton is mistaken for an electrical engineer. And like all electrical engineers of the 1920s, he is offered a job installing complicated devices in the house of a rich, fat guy. You know the sort of thing on offer here: escalators in the house, a pool table that racks itself, an automatic food server. Naturally, all of these futuristic devices are just itching to break down in a spectacular and painful manner. This short may feel a little formulaic (we see a gadget, we see it break down, we see another gadget, we see it break down, repeat and lather), but it's quite entertaining. The modern contraptions are inventive and clever.The second short is HARD LUCK, which may hold the distinction of being the most bizarre short film I've ever seen. Keaton attempts suicide multiple times, begins a hunt for armadillos, gets involved in a Western-style shoot-out, and finally falls through the center of the Earth. I told you it was strange. The version on here is a reconstruction of the best surviving footage, and it's a pity that the film isn't complete, because I thought it was fantastic. A few of the gags seem a bit odd, but I'm willing to put that down to the missing footage (a disclaimer warns the viewer of this at the beginning). The film moves at such a frantic rate that it's impossible to guess where it's going to go next. The third and final short film on the disc is THE BLACKSMITH, which features Keaton working as a blacksmith's lackey, destroying cars under the guise of fixing them. Following the pattern that Keaton often used, he manages to slowly wreck several expensive items, finally earning the wrath of the secondary characters. This isn't the funniest Keaton short, but it has a handful of hilarious set pieces. This DVD release will probably be most appealing to Keaton enthusiasts. Casual fans may want to look elsewhere, as the main feature here is comparatively weak. On the other hand, it is great to have the three short films, since they are of much higher quality and help to redress the balance. As a whole, this probably isn't a great purchase, but it isn't a bad one either."
Keaton Excels in the World of Academia
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Buster Keaton's "College" (1927) transcends its episodic narrative with an endless array of inventive gag sequences. As a result, the hour-long comedy recaptures the ingenuity of his classic two-reelers. Though influenced by the success of Harold Lloyd's "The Freshman" (1925), Buster utilizes the collegiate backdrop as a showcase for his remarkable athleticism. Unlike Lloyd, the Great Stone Face remains a perceptive realist - his final montage revealing the dark side of the American Dream. "College" may not equal the brilliance of Keaton's "Sherlock Jr." and "The General," but there's always more than meets the eye."
Sochele Sanchez | 09/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is good, lots of laughs, and an interesting ending. Plus Keaton's muscles made it a good watch."
And on DVD!!
Sochele Sanchez | 09/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have you mastered the art of getting the girl?
You haven't unless you've seen how Buster does it, and he does it with style!"