Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Find out about the latest releases and exhibition of classic films.
Chris Seguin

Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Chris Seguin » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:38 pm

Just curious, since Kino's gone to the effort to release the five existing Langdon silent features, alongside their Keaton releases.

If Kino has the courage to release the Educational Keatons, is a release of the Educational Langdons too farfetched an idea?

Just asking because, after the release of the Keatons (and the upcoming Editions Filmmuseum releases of Max Davidson and Hal Roach Female Comedy Teams), I might actually have run out of "classic comedy" DVDs to purchase!

Chris (who's eternally ever grateful that he has pretty much every scrap of Laurel & Hardy, Chaplin, Keaton, Langdon, Marx Brothers, Three Stooges, etc. footage available sitting on his shelf)

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 1893
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:43 pm

Chris Seguin wrote:Just curious, since Kino's gone to the effort to release the five existing Langdon silent features, alongside their Keaton releases.

If Kino has the courage to release the Educational Keatons, is a release of the Educational Langdons too farfetched an idea?

Just asking because, after the release of the Keatons (and the upcoming Editions Filmmuseum releases of Max Davidson and Hal Roach Female Comedy Teams), I might actually have run out of "classic comedy" DVDs to purchase!

Chris (who's eternally ever grateful that he has pretty much every scrap of Laurel & Hardy, Chaplin, Keaton, Langdon, Marx Brothers, Three Stooges, etc. footage available sitting on his shelf)



I would think Langdon unlikely, because I think the main reason the Keaton Educational set is coming out is because the Rohauer Collection had prime material on this stuff. I don't believe it's the same story on the Langdon Educationals, but I'd love to be wrong.

Oh, there will be more classic comedy stuff on DVD to buy, there are other great projects in the works of which I can't necessarily speak about this minute. And you know you;re holding out for THE COMPLETE FRANCO ANC CICCIO!

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Chris Seguin

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Chris Seguin » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:00 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the complete Franco e Ciccio, Richard! I believe it's a 300-disc set retailing for 2 euro ;)

As always, I'm keenly anticipating any new DVD releases, no matter how shrouded in mystery they are -- especially those slated from Mr. Gierucki et al. And what's this I hear about a Weiss-O-Rama 2?

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 1893
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:54 pm

Chris Seguin wrote:Thanks for the heads up on the complete Franco e Ciccio, Richard! I believe it's a 300-disc set retailing for 2 euro ;)

As always, I'm keenly anticipating any new DVD releases, no matter how shrouded in mystery they are -- especially those slated from Mr. Gierucki et al. And what's this I hear about a Weiss-O-Rama 2?



Well, remember that interview was done in like, November/December of last year, things do change. I wouldn;t hold ones breath for WEISS-O-RAMA 2, but you never know.......

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Louie Despres
Associate
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:31 pm
Contact:

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Louie Despres » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:01 am

Chris Seguin wrote:As always, I'm keenly anticipating any new DVD releases, no matter how shrouded in mystery they are -- especially those slated from Mr. Gierucki et al.


Even "El Brendel: The Complete Vitaphone Shorts"??

Chris Seguin

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Chris Seguin » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:06 pm

Y'know, I'd buy the complete El Brendel Vitaphone shorts!

Uli Ruedel
Capo
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:47 am

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Uli Ruedel » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:56 pm

Chris Seguin wrote:I might actually have run out of "classic comedy" DVDs to purchase!


Well, as I told you, there's always that upcoming release where Larry Semon gets the Criterion treatment!
(Sort of, anyways...)

As to the Langdons -- if Rohauer didn't "own"them, does that mean they are PD?

Uli

Robert Arkus
Capo
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:11 pm

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Robert Arkus » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:35 am

Happy Fourth everybody ....

From today's NY Times, Dave Kehr's review of Kino's Lost Keaton and Steamboat Bill Jr. (read below or, the link will show a few photos and has more reference links).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/movie ... 4kehr.html

**************************************************************************************************************************************8

DVDs
A Lone Figure, Standing Upright Amid the Cyclone


By DAVE KEHR
Published: July 1, 2010
THE American silent cinema of the 1920s gave us three great comedians: Harold Lloyd, whose hyperkinetic optimism seemed the perfect embodiment of his epoch; Charles Chaplin, whose Victorian sentimentality was just a touching bit behind it; and Buster Keaton, who was so far ahead of his time that we’re still running to catch up with him.

Two new releases from Kino add substantially to our understanding of Keaton’s remote, introverted, often enigmatic art. A new, double-disc edition (also available as a single Blu-ray disc) of Keaton’s 1928 “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” presents both the familiar, public domain print that has been a staple of film societies and television screenings for decades, and an alternate version, newly discovered in the Keaton estate archive, that uses different takes or different angles for many shots and is cleaner and sharper than the standard print. (It was common in the silent era to produce two different negatives, one for domestic and one for export use; in this case, it isn’t clear which is which.)

And a second two-disc set, titled “Lost Keaton,” brings together all 16 of the short comedies that he made from 1934 to 1937 for Educational Pictures, a Poverty Row operation that picked up Keaton’s contract after he was dropped by MGM. Visibly struggling with his alcoholism, and working with budgets that would barely have covered a day’s shooting on one of his 1920s features, Keaton still managed to snatch a few moments of poetry from the meager materials he was given to work with. As cheap as the Educational two-reelers were, they allowed him a certain degree of creative freedom — something he would not know at his next studio, Columbia, where his work was supervised by the producer of the Three Stooges shorts.

After “The General” (1926) and “College” (1927), “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” was Keaton’s third costly failure in a row, and would prove to be the last film he would make for his own independent production company. Audiences had turned their back on him (In The New York Times the reviewer Mordaunt Hall described “Steamboat Bill” as “a sorry affair”), just as Keaton had turned his back on them, quite literally, at times, given his penchant for shooting himself from behind. Keaton invited neither the audience’s identification, as Lloyd did, nor its sympathy, as Chaplin did. He presented a closed-off, self-sufficient figure, his emotions, if any, hidden behind his famous stone face.

Again and again he returns to the same composition: his small figure, isolated in the center of a vast, empty space — the desert, the ocean, the bare stage of a theater. When other people enter the frame, they provide no companionship. The male characters in his films tend to be hulking authoritarians, like the father — a tough-as-nails riverboat captain — played by Ernest Torrence in “Steamboat Bill,” and his women are either implacably angry or doll-like and ineffectual. (Marion Byron, in “Steamboat Bill,” falls into that second category.) Machinery often fills the emotional void left by people in Keaton’s world (his affection for his locomotive in “The General” runs far deeper than his interest in his bubbleheaded fiancée), and the one force that can be counted on is not love or friendship, but simple Newtonian physics. What goes up, must come down.

A lot of things come down during the climax of “Steamboat Bill, Jr.,” including most of the Mississippi river town (actually Sacramento) where the story is set. Struck by a cyclone, the buildings around Keaton collapse or are torn away, yet he remains strangely unmoved, even when, in one of the most astonishing sight gags ever filmed, the entire facade of a two-story house hinges away from its framework and falls right on top of him. When the dust clears, Keaton is still standing there, spared by a window frame that has passed directly over him. His miraculous salvation seems a matter of utmost indifference to him.

An almost supernatural figure of beauty and grace in the silents, Keaton abruptly descends to the real world in his talkies. He takes refuge in a new character, often named Elmer, who is as slow and clumsy as the old Keaton was graceful and fleet, a country bumpkin who brings down disaster just where the silent Buster — the ultimate master of his urban domain — would most often elegantly elude it.

Perhaps Elmer was Keaton’s calculated concession to the public’s preference for more accessible, warmhearted comics, but the new character suggests a deeper change in Keaton’s perception of himself. Failure and shame become the dominant themes of the Educational comedies, which cast him as a watch repairman with fantasies of becoming a trapeze artist (“Allez Oop”), a handyman who lays waste to a farm (“Hayseed Romance”) or a sailor who can’t stay out of the brig (“Tars and Stripes”).

But lethargy and resignation suddenly give way to moments of startling originality. “One Run Elmer” (1935) finds Keaton in another lunar landscape, his tiny gas station the only human edifice in an unbounded desert. In a plot twist worthy of Samuel Beckett (a great Keaton fan), another character finally appears (Harold Goodwin, an old Keaton crony) and builds a slightly bigger, slightly more modern station directly across the road. Finding that they’re members of rival baseball teams, Elmer and the stranger work out their competition (in the absence of many real customers) by hurling fastballs at each other. Destruction is mutually assured and quickly achieved.

“Ditto” (1937) is usually dismissed by Keaton scholars, yet it revives one of the most modern and mysterious themes of Keaton’s silents: the multiplication of identical human figures, as seen in “The Playhouse” (1921), “Cops” (1922) and “Seven Chances” (1925). After unknowingly courting a pair of twins, one hostile and one sympathetic, Keaton’s character — no longer billed as Elmer, but more ominously as the Forgotten Man — flees civilization to become a hermit.

But in no more time than it takes him to grow an appropriately unruly beard, his retreat has been invaded by dozens of tourists, including a flock that arrives, in an unabashedly surrealistic special effect, in airplanes towing house trailers. A woman leans out the window of her flying home to empty a pan of dirty dishwater, which in any other two-reeler would land directly on the comedian’s head. But Keaton, back to his old imperturbable self, somehow senses that a shower is coming, and calmly reaches into his lair to produce an umbrella. There’s the Buster we know and love: not the passive victim of the hostile environment in which he finds himself, but its secret master. (“Steamboat Bill, Jr.,” Blu-ray $34.95, standard definition $29.95; “Lost Keaton,” $34.95, not rated)

David B Pearson
Capo
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:15 pm

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby David B Pearson » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:43 pm

Robert Arkus wrote:Happy Fourth everybody ....

From today's NY Times, Dave Kehr's review of Kino's Lost Keaton and Steamboat Bill Jr. (read below or, the link will show a few photos and has more reference links).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/movie ... 4kehr.html

**************************************************************************************************************************************8

DVDs
A Lone Figure, Standing Upright Amid the Cyclone


By DAVE KEHR
Published: July 1, 2010

After “The General” (1926) and “College” (1927), “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” was Keaton’s third costly failure in a row, and would prove to be the last film he would make for his own independent production company. Audiences had turned their back on him (In The New York Times the reviewer Mordaunt Hall described “Steamboat Bill” as “a sorry affair”), just as Keaton had turned his back on them, quite literally, at times, given his penchant for shooting himself from behind.


As mentioned before -- this "failure" nonsense about the Keaton UA films come from the dubious pen of Keaton biographer (and dreadful researcher) Tom Dardis. It has nothing to do with reality.

As for Mordaunt Hall... well... the man had no taste.

DBP

Gary Johnson
Cugine
Posts: 656
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:15 am
Location: Sonoma, CA
Contact:

Re: Could "Lost Keaton" lead to "Lost Langdon"

Postby Gary Johnson » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:23 am

I knew that would get David's attention.

What I keep finding are reviewers who say that Keaton is visibly fighting the effects of alcoholism onscreen throughout the Educationals. Someone online says he looks drunk in TARS AND STRIPES. I believe they are projecting. The effects of booze ARE very noticeable during his MGM features - especially he last couple of films. That's the reason I have a hard time revisiting WHAT NO BEER to often. But I do not find him sluggish or groggy-looking in any of the Educationals - and I've been around a few drunks in my time..........including myself!

Gary J.


Return to “Books, DVDs, Broadcasts & Screenings”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest