the cameraman criterion
In pursuit of love, Keaton’s character must not only prove himself but also do battle with a hotshot cameraman named Stagg (Harold Goodwin) who also has a hankering for Sally. Grayscale and black levels are really impressive - again subject to the quality of the elements at hand - but for an overall experience, there's an appreciable sense of three-dimensional depth. In the midst of this human hurricane of violence, he is as calm and unflustered as the eye of the storm. had as much to do with corporate control as with each’s personal shortcomings, The mix is simple but effective. For a film that's inches away from celebrating its centennial anniversary, I'm amazed by this one. With the coming of sound Orson Welles and Erich von Stroheim are two of the When her object-of-affection marries someone else, she marries Keaton’s character out of “spite” (hence the title) only to regret her decision later. Criterion’s two-disc release of The Cameraman is exemplary, and the bonus material is insightful in emphasizing how the comedian’s move to MGM led to his eventual downfall. Buster (Keaton) is making his way as a tintype selling portraits 10 cents at a time. Criterion, Warner Bros. and Cineteca di Bologna collaborated on the new 4K restoration that serves as the basis for this presentation. There is also a 2004 commentary by Bengtson and film historian Jeffrey Vance. The Cameraman, 1928. Her writing has appeared in Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Quarterly, Reverse Shot, and other publications. Buster Keaton makes his debut in The Criterion Collection with his first MGM film, The Cameraman, presented here in the aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on a dual-layer disc with a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode. Dorothy Sebastian springs a big surprise as a comedienne who can In his heyday, his deadpan was often misconstrued as a frozen blank; in fact, he could communicate any emotion with his huge, speaking eyes and eloquent body, though his feelings are always subdued by his stoic reticence. A very easy recommendation. In fact, the Since 1920, he had lived a filmmaker’s dream, with his own independent studio, Buster Keaton Productions, dedicated crew of gag writers and technicians, and almost complete creative freedom, granted by his producer, Joseph Schenck. Since it’s a new recording it should come as no surprise that it’s very clean, features excellent fidelity, and excellent range. Criterion has put together a rather loving edition for the film, packing on some great new material to accompany the impressive new restoration. Keaton plays a hapless newsreel cameraman desperate to impress both his new employer and his winsome office crush as he zigzags up and down Manhattan hustling for a scoop. moved to MGM, he urged Keaton to come along, promising favorable terms. This kind of stuff fascinates me, so I just ate it up and I’m thrilled that Criterion included it, even though it technically has nothing to do with Keaton’s film. And there When watching a Blu-ray release like this, one gets the pure enjoyment of the revelation of the film itself, and then the wonderful and insightful experience of learning the history and context of it all. The short documentary offers a look at early turn-of-the-century film cameras (and then up to the 50’s), examining the inner workings and mechanics of them, while also explaining the advancements and why they were put in place, or how they were utilized by cameramen. Keaton’s films are always deliberately paced, building from a low-key opening to a grand-scale finale—here, a “Tong War” in Chinatown that Buster films with all the intrepidity of a battlefield photographer. The bonus feature uses all kinds of graphics and maps and overlays to show us 1928 locations compared to how they look today. He was at least able to create his own soundtrack with music and sound effects that would be distributed to theaters using a vinyl record, and according to the included commentary for the film one of those records was used as the source for the audio on the Warner DVD from 2004. surviving film element. What do you do if you find yourself accidentally naked in a public pool?—he inscribes the answer on space, trusting the intelligence of his body and his instinct for pithy visual narrative. Keaton plays a hapless newsreel cameraman desperate to impress both his new employer and his winsome office crush as he zigzags up and down Manhattan hustling for a scoop. There’s comedy and physical feats of wonder that translate just as well today as they did back then. Thanks to the camera, he got the last laugh. Keaton had actually wanted Spite Marriage to be his first talkie but MGM was wary of making a jump into the format, so they basically told him to forget it. Before signing with the studio, he was an independent who had his own production unit and who worked according to his own singular genius. Trilby, however, is smitten with fellow actor Lionel Benmore (Edward Earle). especially an inability to work within a studio system. Details are gorgeous here - I felt like I was seeing so much of the film for the first time. The idyll ended in 1928, when, after several features in a row lost money, Schenck shut the studio and sold his contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. scenes at the theatre – to raise it above the average studio comedy. It is a unique and jarring experience to watch silent film in 2020. best known examples. In the same way, Keaton’s movies, many of which were once believed lost, survived to bear witness to his genius: it is all there in black and white. The lost scenes followed Buster’s first, hapless efforts to shoot newsreel footage: filming a hotel doorman he mistakes for an admiral, launching himself into the harbor along with a yacht, double-exposing scenes so that a parade marches up the Hudson and a battleship sails down Fifth Avenue. Famously, for years they ran the film for other comedians as an example of a perfectly constructed comedy, striking so many prints from the original negative that it became damaged, and a segment remains missing. Working freely in silence one final time, Keaton creates in The Cameraman what James Agee called “beauties of comic motion,” setting the pace of scenes with his own faultless inner rhythm, translating thought into action without the slightest need for words. When Lionel spurns her for the younger Ethyl Norcrosse (Leila Hyams), Trilby impulsively asks the befuddled Elmer to marry her, only to regret it almost immediately. The comedic timing with his incredible stunt work - it's thrilling and hilarious to watch the man do what he did. Considering its problematic past, this new restoration Alone on the beach, he slumps to his knees in abject defeat, the tight curve of his back containing the shock of sudden heartbreak. (Admittedly, those are clunky words for a comedian who was always graceful.) At 69-minutes, The Cameraman is about 65-minutes of awkward tragic comedy with about 4 minutes of genuine joy and pleasure. Mostly pruned of the distractions added by MGM scriptwriters, The Cameraman’s story follows the standard arc of a Keaton movie: galvanized by love, the meek hero transcends his klutziness, draws on unsuspected reserves of courage and ingenuity, proves himself in a difficult task, and wins the girl. Get info about new releases, essays and interviews on the Current, Top 10 lists, and sales. He and the movies had been born the same year, 1895, and from this first encounter he saw where his future lay; he tore up a lucrative theater contract, took a job with Arbuckle’s company, and never looked back. His marriage was on As a result, Spite Marriage evidences a kind-of falling off – a dampening of Keaton’s sublime visual-situational physical humor. any of the late silents. available for some time, last being released (pre-restoration) as part of a now Also on disc 1 is The Motion Picture Camera (1979), a 33-minute documentary by cinematographer and film preservationist Karl Malkames, in a 4k restoration. It is enough to break your heart; he had not directed a feature film in more than three decades. Even when he He gallantly apologizes for being late. This package is just remarkably stacked and highly engaging. Finally, Criterion includes a booklet, this one featuring an excellent essay on the film by Imogen Sara Smith, and then a reprint of the chapter from Keaton’s biography The Wonderful World of Slapstick covering his time at MGM (though they make a note that the book includes some factual errors). Missing from this release, in comparison to Warner’s previous DVD, is an introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne, and the film Free and Easy, Keaton’s first talkie. The Get info about new releases, essays and interviews on the Current, Top 10 lists, and sales. Review Date July 6th, 2020 by, • NEW 4K RESTORATION undertaken by the Cineteca di Bologna, the Criterion Collection, and Warner Bros.• New score by composer Timothy Brock, conducted by Brock and performed by the orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna in 2020, presented in uncompressed stereo• Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Glenn Mitchell, author of A–Z of Silent Film Comedy: An Illustrated Companion• Spite Marriage (1929), Buster Keaton's next feature for MGM following The Cameraman, in a new 2K restoration, with a 2004 commentary by film historians John Bengtson and Jeffrey Vance• Time Travelers, a new documentary by Daniel Raim featuring interviews with Bengtson and film historian Marc Wanamaker• So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM, a 2004 documentary by film historians Kevin Brownlow and Christopher Bird• New interview with James L. Neibaur, author of The Fall of Buster Keaton: His Films for MGM, Educational Pictures, and Columbia• PLUS: An essay by film critic Imogen Sara Smith, The latest Blu-ray, news, releases & pre-orders, Home Video Releases For The Week of October 20, 2020, Friday The 13th Collection Disc Replacement Details From Shout!


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