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The Great Buster Blu-ray Review


“The Great Buster” is a love letter to Buster Keaton.

Directed, written and narrated by Peter Bogdanovich, “The Great Buster” (AKA “The Great Buster: A Celebration”) is a documentary film about the legendary silent film actor, comedian, and filmmaker Buster Keaton. The film covers a lot of ground as it delves into his childhood, life with his vaudeville family, his lifechanging meeting with Fatty Arbuckle, his two-reel comedies, his marriages, his wonderful feature films, mental health issues, his appearance with Charlie Chaplin in “Limelight,” and his various work on TV (including a highly amusing “Candid Camera” bit). The documentary also features a number of celebrities, friends and film historians such as Mel Brooks, Leonard Maltin, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Hader, Johnny Knoxville, Quentin Tarantino, Cybill Shepherd, among others.

In an age where silent films and B&W films are sadly becoming ignored by younger people, it’s important that a film like “The Great Buster” showcases the pioneering cinematic genius of Buster Keaton. The Great Stone Face as he is often called not only made people laugh with masterful falls and gutsy and mindblowing stunts, but he also broke ground as an innovative filmmaker with classics like “The General” and “The Navigator” (not to mention shorts such as “One Week”). He was at the forefront of the early days of cinema and, to this day, is responsible for many of the finest silent films that were ever made.

In terms of the actual film, it’s a loving tribute to Keaton that often feels like one long visual essay by Peter Bogdanovich given that he wrote and narrated it. At first I wasn’t so sure about Bogdanovich’s sometimes hurried narration style, but as the film progressed, it becomes clear that it makes the film more personal as he interjects opinions and analysis. He makes the film his own and it makes this movie much more than just a standard formulaic documentary. Granted, ‘Buster’ does feel a bit rushed given that it glosses over many elements of his life, but there’s only so much you can say and do with the limited runtime. You still learn about his life and career and come away with a greater appreciation of Keaton (even if you already treasured him before).


Presentation: Widescreen 1080p. How does it look? The footage obviously varies in quality as it cuts from newly shot interviews to film and short clips along with photo stills. At any rate, it’s a sharp looking movie all-around.

Audio Track:5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the narration to the interviewees, this is a sharp 5.1 track.

* Cohen media trailers
* A trailer for “The Great Buster.”
* “Conversation From The Quad With Peter Bogdanovich”- Charles S. Cohen introduces Bogdanovich who then addresses a crowd at Quad Cinema. This extra runs 28 mins.

March 31, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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