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The General And Three Ages Blu-ray Review

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“The General and Three Ages” Blu-ray is an absolute bargain.

Having previously released the works of Buster Keaton on DVD and Blu-ray, Kino Classics has now released a double feature of classic silent film comedies featuring the iconic stone faced comedian/filmmaker. The first and most acclaimed film on this set is 1926’s “The General.” What can be said about this film that hasn’t already been stated? The film about a train engineer (Johnnie) who must rescue his two loves (his train the General and his girlfriend Annabelle) from Union spies amidst the American Civil War is considered one of cinema’s best films of all time. From a filmmaking perspective it’s hard to argue as it contains exciting ahead of its time action, jaw dropping stunts, groundbreaking shots, and, of course, timeless humor.

The second film on the set is the underrated “Three Ages.” The film, which is essentially a spoof of D.W. Griffith’s epic “Intolerance,” follows Buster Keaton and Wallace Beery vying for the affection of Margaret Leahy during 3 time periods (prehistoric times, Ancient Rome and the 1920’s). While not traditionally known as one of Keaton’s greats, I’ve always been partial to this story about love through the ages and how some things never change. Not only is it filled with creative and humorous sight gags and slapstick humor, but the story flows well due to its almost anthological structure that intercuts between the three time periods.

Video/Audio:

Presentation 1.33:1 1080p for both films. How do they look? Both films have een given 2K restorations but the results are rather mixed. “The General” print may have its moments, but it’s a very rough transfer that is plagued by lines, grain, and jerky frames.

“Three Ages” is in better shape despite having many of the same print flaws.

Audio Track: LPCM 2.0 for both films. How do they sound? “The General” features 2 orchestral scores by Robert Israel and Joe Hisaishi. Israel’s exciting crisp score is the better of the 2 here. “Three Ages” also has 2 tracks- one by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and the other by Robert Israel. Once again Robert’s track is preferable as it is more fitting to the events on screen.

Extras:
* 2 separate intros for “The General” by Orson Welles and Gloria Swanson.
* “Return of The General”- An old school extra about the restoration of the titular train.
* A talkative and informative commentary on “The General” by film historians Michael Schlesinger and Stan Taffel.
* An Alka-Seltzer commercial starring Buster Keaton.
* A Candid Camera segment featuring Buster Keaton.
* A 9 minute excerpt of D.W. Griffith’s prehistoric human drama “Man’s Genesis” which was clearly parodied in “Three Ages.”

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March 21, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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