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Buster Keaton's classic films return: Kenneth Turan's DVD pick

February 1, 2012 |  5:27 pm


New DVD releases allow viewers to look at all aspects of Buster Keaton's filmmaking career, even the lesser-known ones.

Two-reel short films are where Keaton honed his craft, and "Buster Keaton -- The Short Films Collection" from Kino presents all 19 of his solo shorts, created between 1920 and 1923.

Keaton's silent features are considered the peak of his career, and Kino has just released one of the best, 1925's "Seven Chances," where Keaton is under a deadline to get married if he wants to inherit $7 million. The climactic chase scene is a classic.

Keaton lost his independence as a filmmaker when sound came in, and the early talkies he did for MGM are the least seen of all his films. Until now. The hard-working folks at Warner Archives have released three of them: "Doughboys," "Sidewalks of New York" and "What! No Beer?." See them and decide for yourself.


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-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic