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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2017 by Carl Bennett
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The
Balloonatic

(1923)

 

One of his last short comedies, The Balloonatic (1923) features Buster Keaton as a balloon novice who wants to impress his love interest (Phyllis Haver).

coverKino International
2011 Blu-ray Disc edition

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923 (1920-1923), black & white, 390 minutes total, not rated,
including The Balloonatic (1923), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K756, UPC 7-38329-07562-0.
Three single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 Blu-ray Discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in pillarboxed 16:9 (1920 x 1080 pixels) progressive scan AVCHD MPEG-4 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; three slimline BD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $49.95.
Release date: 12 July 2011.
Country of origin: USA
This remastered collection has been mastered from the best 35mm print materials available. Not all of the source prints are of 35mm quality, however. Some prints are of only good quality as the surviving material is either contrasty and blurred from multiple print duplications or preserved from 16mm reduction prints.

The film is accompanied by a music score performed on Miditzer virtual theatre pipe organ by Ben Model.

For material that is quite scuffed or otherwise of distracting state, Kino offers viewer-selectable versions that have been digitally cleaned by computer processing.

Among the supplementary content created for this collection are 15 visual essays featuring contributions from Jack Dragga, Ken Gordon, David Kalat, Bruce Lawton, Steve Massa, Ben Model, David B. Pearson, R. Emmet Sweeney and Patricia Eliot Tobias, a series of alternate and deleted shots from Keaton shorts, a presentation of exerpts from comedy films influenced by Keaton, and Keaton cameos in short films of the late 1920s.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region-Free Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region-Free Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region-Free Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverKino International
2011 DVD edition

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923 (1920-1923), black & white, 390 minutes total, not rated,
including The Balloonatic (1923), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K755, UPC 7-38329-07552-1.
Three single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 2 chapter stops; three-disc standard DVD keepcase in cardboard slipcover, $34.95.
Release date: 12 July 2011.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 8 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

This DVD edition has been mastered from the best 35mm print materials available. Not all of the source prints are of 35mm quality, however. Some prints are of only good quality as the surviving material is either contrasty and blurred from multiple print duplications or preserved from 16mm reduction prints.

The film is accompanied by a music score performed on Miditzer virtual theatre pipe organ by Ben Model.

For material that is quite scuffed or otherwise of distracting state, Kino offers viewer-selectable versions that have been digitally cleaned by computer processing.

Among the supplementary content created for this collection are 15 visual essays featuring contributions from Jack Dragga, Ken Gordon, David Kalat, Bruce Lawton, Steve Massa, Ben Model, David B. Pearson, R. Emmet Sweeney and Patricia Eliot Tobias, a series of alternate and deleted shots from Keaton shorts, a presentation of exerpts from comedy films influenced by Keaton, and Keaton cameos in short films of the late 1920s.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverKino on Video
2000 DVD edition

Seven Chances (1925), color-toned black & white and color, 56 minutes, not rated,
with The Balloonatic (1923), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K125DVD, UPC 7-38329-01252-6.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in windowboxed 4:3 (720x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 6 chapter stops; snapper DVD case (reissued in standard DVD keepcase [retail], and in slimline DVD keepcase [boxset]), $29.99 (reduced to $24.95).
Release date: 11 January 2000.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 8 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

This presentation, produced by David Shepard, has been transferred from a very-good to excellent 35mm print, and the older windowboxed video transfer (originally intended for laserdisc and VHS videotape releases) still looks good on a high-definition monitor played from a deck capable of line-doubling up to 1080p. The print has a moderate amount of speckling and dust, but is otherwise pleasant viewing.

The film is presented with a music score performed on theater pipe organ by John Muri.

For information on the other Keaton releases in this collection, see our Seven Chances on home video page and our Neighbors on home video page.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD edition is also available directly from KINO LORBER.
Nostalgia Family Video
2010 DVD edition

The Balloonatic (1923), black & white, ? minutes, not rated,
and One Week (1920), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Nostalgia Family Video, 5314D, unknown UPC number.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD-R disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, no chapter stops; clamshell CD case, $14.99.
Release date: 2010.
Country of origin: USA
This edition was likely mastered from 16mm reduction prints. The disc has no navigation menu, chapter stops or package artwork and is sold in a clear clamshell case.

To order a DVD edition, you must enter “Replace My VHS Title with Standard ‘No Frillz’ DVD” in the comments section at order checkout.

 
NOSTALGIA FAMILY VIDEO has discontinued business and this edition is OUT-OF-PRINT.
Other silent era BUSTER KEATON films available on home video.

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Buster Keaton filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
 
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