I thought this had come up in this forum already, but for the life of me I can’t find it! (Is it me?) Anyway, here’s Kino’s official posting of their upcoming blu-ray release of STEAMBOAT BILL JR.
The set consists of two different versions of the film, consisting of alternate takes and camera angles. Here’s a side-by-side that Kino posted.
I made the assumption that if one is the “Keaton Estate” version, and one is the Killiam version, that they’ve both made it to DVD at some point. So I did my own side-by-side of both the current Kino DVD and the print of STEAMBOAT BILL JR. offered on the UK "Buster Keaton Chronicles" DVD (Network) -- and the UK DVD is indeed different from the Kino version (although it has very elaborate “Raymond Rohauer Presents” titles). I couldn’t say if this is the same version that will appear on the new Kino blu-ray, but it does involve different takes, reactions from Ernest Torrence and Marion Bryon, etc.
What’s interesting is that most of the takes are different in oh-so subtle ways. If Buster called Elgin Lessley "the human metronome", he might have applied that moniker to himself as well -- his timing from take-to-take is astounding in its precision, and remarkably similar from one to the next.
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Chris, I bought the new Kino - mainly for the additional scores as Steamboat is my all-time favourite and most frequently watched comedy. I can confirm that the "Keaton Estate" version is the same as on the Keaton Chronicles set and the "Killiam" version is the same as the previous Kino, plus Eureka, MK2 etc.
Here's the Beaver review and comparison:
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