Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

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Phillyrich

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Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Aug 22, 2016 1:50 pm

I'll never forget this wonderful 3-hour documentary film made by Kevin Brownlow on Buster Keaton.

Saw it on PBS about 1990. Brownlow's similar documentary films on Chaplin and now, Harold Lloyd (Criterion's
"Safety Last" dvd supplements includes "The 3rd Genius") are handily available.

What's the issue with Keaton? Is it his estate? Only dvd available is region two from Europe.
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ClarenceE

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Aug 22, 2016 7:51 pm

There might be issues, but it's on YouTube (in the U.S.):
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtH5pb3lVqYTcg8T6ofF9_071LRQpkd8l
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missdupont

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostTue Aug 23, 2016 12:30 am

It's most likely rights issues with either clips or music, perhaps like with "Hollywood" they weren't licensed in perpetuity or worldwide.
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Salty Dog

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostSun Sep 18, 2016 12:45 pm

It was issued in the UK on DVD in 2006. I haven't looked at my copy in a while, but as I remember the image quality was not very good.
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WarrenHymersMoll

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostSun Sep 18, 2016 9:19 pm

I know it was released on VHS in the late 1980s with each of the three parts on three separate videos. My college library in south Georgia had the tapes so when I became a Keaton fanatic I'd spend my free time in the library watching the three parts repeatedly. Raymond Rohauer was heavily involved in the documentary so I don't know if there's an issue with his estate preventing it from being released as a DVD over here. U.S. copyright vs. European copyright always confuses me and I'm sure someone here can explain.
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jrcasey1960

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Sep 19, 2016 12:40 pm

I have it on DVD from the UK (Network, I believe) and laserdisc (Image). Both presentations are problematic. Some title graphics are missing from both, but all in all, it's better than not having it. Someone mentioned that some footage is also missing from the UK DVD, but I haven't really compared the two versions I have closely. The Network DVD was released in 2006. Don't think we'll see a U.S. release due to complicated rights issues others have mentioned. A very worthwhile series nonetheless.
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BixB

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Sep 19, 2016 12:54 pm

It also was released on laserdisc as was Unknown Chaplin and HOLLYWOOD. I made DVD's for myself from the LD's. Pretty good quality.
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Saint-Just

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Sep 19, 2016 3:20 pm

jrcasey1960 wrote:I have it on DVD from the UK (Network, I believe) and laserdisc (Image). Both presentations are problematic. Some title graphics are missing from both, but all in all, it's better than not having it.


If I had a 'recorded from television' VHS tape as a reference I could restore the missing screen graphics with the video creation software I have in my computer; I have the laserdisc set to begin with. I used to have the whole thing recorded from television but scrapped the tape before I realized anything was amiss with the laserdiscs; I have restored the final gag from the clip of 'Cops' which was missing in episode 1. On the laserdic Buster locks all the cops in the precinct building, his girlfriend passes by and snubs him, and at this point the scene fades to black and then the tombstone with 'The End' carved on it appears - no Buster unlocking and opening the doors and being yanked inside and the doors closing again. There's a lot that could be cleaned up on a digital rendering of the laserdiscs, just the sort of project I love doing.
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Sep 19, 2016 7:55 pm

I read somewhere that the video versions were messed up because a work print was used for them, by mistake. They are sometimes missing the names of who's being interviewed, things like that.

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.
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moviepas

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostTue Sep 20, 2016 3:11 am

Might not have anything to do with Hard Act to Follow but the RR material was bought from someone to do with Milestone by Cohen Media.
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jjbluecaps

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostTue Sep 20, 2016 6:07 am

I always noticed that two versions of this documentary exists.
One without some screen graphics and some footage.
The other one is OK, but another thing strange to me is differences in Lindsay Anderson's narration.
In one version, he starts saying "It was in this house, in Piqua, Kansas, in 1895, that JOSEPH FRANK KEATON made his first appearance".
in other version, is ""It was in this house, in Piqua, Kansas, in 1895, that JOSEPH KEATON, JR. made his first appearance".
During the documentary, there's other differences, but I don't remember now.
I really don't know why this. Any guess?
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Lonesome Luke

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 9:52 pm

Salty Dog wrote:It was issued in the UK on DVD in 2006. I haven't looked at my copy in a while, but as I remember the image quality was not very good.

I just received a brand new copy of this DVD today! (And it only cost $10.41 plus $5.99 Can. for shipping, on eBay.) It says on the sleeve that it was licenced by FremantleMedia Ltd to Network and that it was copyrighted in 2006. (On the DVD it says 2011.) So far, I've looked at the first episode, and it looks great. I was expecting it to look like a VHS copy, but no, it's better than that; that's for sure.
Rick Lanham wrote:I read somewhere that the video versions were messed up because a work print was used for them, by mistake. They are sometimes missing the names of who's being interviewed, things like that.

Actually, in the first episode, it's always missing the names of who's being interviewed (which is a bit of a drag in some cases) and the names of the film clips being shown (but, so what, I know which film clips they're showing). I haven't bothered checking with my VHS copy (taken from American Masters) but I'd probably toss it out, after some side by side comparison, now that I have this .
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Roseha

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 7:13 pm

I was able to order it quite affordably from Amazon UK. Region 2 of course, but thanks for the alerts.
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Saint-Just

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 5:22 pm

Lonesome Luke wrote: I haven't bothered checking with my VHS copy (taken from American Masters) but I'd probably toss it out, after some side by side comparison, now that I have this .


If you do have the whole series from American Masters I'd be interested in a copy - I'd still like to 'fix' my laserdisc version by putting missing graphics back in. Or I could buy the DVD, put those episodes in the computer, and put graphics back in. Either way...
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Lonesome Luke

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostMon Mar 06, 2017 9:27 pm

Saint-Just wrote:I have restored the final gag from the clip of 'Cops' which was missing in episode 1. On the laserdic Buster locks all the cops in the precinct building, his girlfriend passes by and snubs him, and at this point the scene fades to black and then the tombstone with 'The End' carved on it appears - no Buster unlocking and opening the doors and being yanked inside and the doors closing again.

I checked, and that whole scene is on the DVD, except for the tombstone part. But, does it really matter if there are a few missing scenes? As long as you already have that scene somewhere else (maybe even on Blu-ray) what's the problem?
Saint-Just wrote:If you do have the whole series from American Masters I'd be interested in a copy - I'd still like to 'fix' my laserdisc version by putting missing graphics back in. Or I could buy the DVD, put those episodes in the computer, and put graphics back in. Either way...

You should get the DVD first. Then, later, if you really want that tape, we could make some kind of trade. Anyway, I scanned the DVD cover for everyone to see:

Image

Okay, I even checked the tape after writing this (and it was no small feat, since I'd forgotten HOW to play or record a video cassette on my system) and yes the tombstone scene is the only part missing from the DVD version of that scene. But the tape version is really not as good as the DVD when it comes to image quality. (I tried to copy the original tapes I rented at a video store once, but couldn't, because of the Macrovision.) Now that I figured out how to record a DVD again tonight, I could always copy the tape as a reference until a new perfect version pops up. But I don't see myself watching it for any extended length of time, now that I have the DVD.
Last edited by Lonesome Luke on Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Phillyrich

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostTue Mar 07, 2017 8:59 am

This edition is Region Two, isn't it?

Can it play in regular dvd players? If it plays, the PAL transfer would run at a different speed wouldn't it?
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Mark Zimmer

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Re: Buster Keaton Is "A Hard Act To Follow"

PostTue Mar 07, 2017 11:25 am

You'd need to have a player that not only plays region 2 (or is region-free), but converts PAL to NTSC. And yes, the thing would run at 25 fps. Since it's a Thames Television production, the framing material might be correct at 25 fps; that I'm not sure about.

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