Love has never been funnier or more difficult to manage than in the immortal Buster Keaton comedies brought together on this DVD. Opening with a newly restored Technicolor sequence, "Seven Chances" (1925, 56 min.) is a fil... more »m often imitated but never rivaled for hilarity and visual virtuosity. Keaton stars as Jimmie Shannon, a romantically jinxed young man who must marry by 7:00 pm to inherit seven million dollars. Comedic courtship is further pursued in "Neighbors" (1920, 18 min.), a 1920 short in which Buster tries to woo his tenement sweetheart in spite of the barriers that stand between them. Then, in "The Balloonatic" (1923, 22 min.), Buster is carried by hot air from a cityside amusement park to the rustic country where--in a series of delightfully inventive vignettes--he ineptly struggles for survival and again somehow manages to stumble into romance.« less
"Buster Keaton movies have a similar formula; naïve young man gets thrown into a situation where his ultimate manhood is put to test. Most classic Keaton films are written specifically for him, however "Seven Chances" is an exception in this area. Adapted from a 1916 stage play by Roi Cooper Megrue, "Seven Chances" puts Keaton to the task of finding a bride and getting married by 7:00pm that day, or else lose claim to a 7 million dollar inheritance. Before the plot, it is known that Keaton and his stockbroker business partner are very much in debt and the will face public disgrace and even jail time if they do not find much needed capital. So not only is Buster wanting the 7 million dollars, he needs it to keep his freedom.Without giving away too much of the plot, the rest of the movie involves his unsuccessful pursuit of an immediate bride. He can't seem to get a break, when all of a sudden the news of his inheritance breaks and sends a mob of brides chasing him through the streets & country. It's the classic "Buster-Vs-The Elements" chase that Keaton is so well known for."Seven Chances" is an excellent film, although historically it was one of Keaton's least favorites. Keaton was initially perturbed by his producer, Joe Schneck, purchasing the play rights and 'Keaton-izing' it, rather than starting from material originated by Keaton himself. From viewing this film, I am stumped to see any inferiority and consider the end result to signify a very wise and entertaining move on Joe Schneck's part. "Seven Chances" ranks with some of Keaton's best work, including "Streamboat Bill Jr." & "The Navigator".The 2 shorts included with this DVD are "Neighbors" and "The Balloonatic", both of them absolutely hilarious. "Neighbors" has some of the most inventive high-action scenes in any of the Keaton films, and "The Balloonatic" has some excellent scenes as well. It's hard to go bad with a Buster Keaton silent movie and "Seven Chances" is no exception. The Kino/David Shepard duo does it again, by preserving a marvelous copy of this excellent film and by packing and distributing it with 2 excellent shorts. You and your family will like this DVD."
Keaton makes the most of a little
Nate Goyer | 07/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Buster Keaton didn't really want to make SEVEN CHANCES, but since the film rights to the play were purchased for him by his manager/brother-in-law, he had little choice. Nevertheless, Keaton and his team put their considerable talents to work to make a very funny picture. Buster plays a young man who must be married by Seven p.m. in order to inherit a fortune. When he tries to propose to the girl he loves, she misunderstands and thinks he is only proposing to get the inheritance. She turns him down, so Buster, his best friend, and his attorney decide to find a bride one way or another. While the film may only be mildly amusing at the outset, it has great climax that more than makes up for any shortcomings: a wild chase scene with Buster escaping from a thousand would-be brides and an avalanche! Buster, as always, is excellent, but the film is nearly stolen by Snitz Edwards as the wizened attorney.This videotape is blessed with the SEVEN CHANCES prologue in it's original Technicolor (the surviving print is faded but watchable), and two wildly funny Keaton shorts: NEIGHBORS and THE BALLOONATIC."
Hilariously bizarre climax highlight of near-great comedy
Michael Gebert | 03/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Seven Chances was an old warhorse of a stage play, and at first that fact is a little too obvious. Stick with it, though, because the climax is pure Keatonian surrealism, and as falldown funny as anything he ever did-- Buster pursued for two reels by two equally terrifying forces of nature, an army of angry would-be brides and an avalanche of enormous boulders. Includes one of his more pointed shorts, Neighbors, in which love struggles to overcome the animosity of two sets of families. Any comment on his own marriage into the Talmadge family is surely coincidental."
Best Chance for Buster
blockhed | UK | 07/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Frankly, I'd been a bit disappointed in the Buster films I'd seen before this one. Perhaps it was the scrappy condition they'd reached me in. This film, however, turned out to be a treasure and a masterpiece. Finally I became fully aware of how funny and downright amazing Keaton could be. It's strange that other viewers report that he didn't like it himself. Personally, I enjoyed the obviously well-structured plot, the elegant clothes, Buster's incredible athleticism, and as the story came to its ever zanier climax I was laughing out loud, very loud. Aside from the obvious fact that the whole world, not just Hitler's Germany, was unbelievably racist in the 1920s, there seems to be something of a feminist message underlying this story. One of the best scenes is where the vast army of women on the rampage totally flatten two football teams. Yikes, here comes women's lib! I'll grab my hat and run."
A chance to see Keaton and Jean Arthur
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 02/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Seven Chances is just below Keaton's very best work in The General and Our Hospitality, but is still easily worth its five star rating. All that I will say about the plot of the film is that it is consistently funny with many laugh out loud moments. Moreover, some of Buster's stunts are truly frightening and they do not appear to have been faked. One of the great pleasures of this film is to catch a fleeting glimpse of a very young Jean Arthur. She is the receptionist who turns down Buster's marriage proposal by showing him her ring. Also, for Keaton fans, it is worth noting that the lawyer with the rubber face is the Principal in College. The print on this DVD is very fine. It has an introductory series of episodes in early two-strip technicolor, which is interesting even if the colour is somewhat bleached and damaged round the edges. The main body of the film however is in wonderful sepia. The music has some fine themes and adds to the livliness of the action. It is well played on what sounds like a cinema organ. Of the two short films on this DVD, I will just say that I prefer Neighbors to the Balloonatic. Both are funny, but do not rank with the best Keaton shorts."