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The
High Sign

(1921)
 

In his first solo film production, Buster Keaton is hired as a bodyguard to protect a man from a secret society of killers.

The High Sign (1921) was actually the first Keaton short produced by his own company in 1920, but was held for later release favoring the release of One Week (1920) instead.

2011 Kino International Blu-ray Disc edition

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923 (1920-1923), black & white, 390 minutes total, not rated,
including The High Sign (1921), black & white, 19 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K756, UPC 7-38329-07562-0.
Pillarboxed 16:9 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, three single-sided Blu-ray Discs, Region 0, ? 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.
BD release date: 12 July 2011.
Country of origin: USA
This remastered edition of The High Sign has been mastered in high-definition from a moderately scuffed 35mm print. The film is presented in two versions in the collection: one version in its unmodified HD video transfer (revealing a moderate-to-pronounced amount of emulsion scuffing), and in the other version that has been slightly digitally cleaned of some of the scuffing, sacrificing a small amount of the image sharpness for the sake of a smoother overall picture. The difference in quality between the two versions in the Blu-ray Disc edition.

At least one insert shot and an intertitle comes from another source print, which is a little stretched horizontally. The overall print detail is very-good to excellent. You can even read the signage off in the distance of a long shot (Plaza Auto Park Drive In).

The film is accompanied by a piano score composed and performed by Ben Model.

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.
2011 Kino International DVD edition

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923 (1920-1923), black & white, 390 minutes total, not rated,
including The High Sign (1921), black & white, 19 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K755, UPC 7-38329-07552-1.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? 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-disc DV keepcase in cardboard slipcover, $34.95.
DVD release date: 12 July 2011.
Country of origin: USA

This remastered edition of The High Sign has been mastered in high-definition from a moderately scuffed 35mm print. The film is presented in two versions in the collection: one version in its unmodified HD video transfer (revealing a moderate-to-pronounced amount of emulsion scuffing), and in the other version that has been slightly digitally cleaned of some of the scuffing, sacrificing a small amount of the image sharpness for the sake of a smoother overall picture. The difference in quality between the two versions in Kino’s new DVD edition is not as great as in the Blu-ray Disc edition. We feel that either or both of the two versions will satisfy most collectors who choose the DVD edition. The increased picture quality of the HD transfer, stepped down in resolution for this DVD release, shows marked improvement over the analog transfers from the 1990s utilized for Kino’s 2000 DVD edition.

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.
2000 Kino on Video DVD edition

The Saphead (1920), color-toned black & white, 77 minutes, not rated,
with The High Sign (1921), black & white, 21 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K134DVD, UPC 7-38329-01342-4.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0 ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 15 chapter stops, snapper DVD case (reissued in standard DVD keepcase [retail], and in slimline DVD keepcase [boxset]), $29.99 (reduced to $24.95).
DVD release date: 11 January 2000.
Country of origin: USA

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

This Kino presentation of the Keaton short The High Sign (1921) has been produced for home video by David Shepard, and appears here as it was released by Kino on VHS videotape in 1995. The film has been transferred from a very-good but worn 35mm print, with some constant emulsion scuffing.

The film is accompanied by an older small orchestra recording, with sound effects, from a previous sound film rerelease.

For information on the other Keaton releases in this collection, see our The Saphead on home video page and our One Week on home video page.

This edition of Buster Keaton’s first solo film production will please viewers with its quality picture image and pleasant musical accompaniment.

 
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.
 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD edition is also available directly from KINO LORBER.
Other silent era BUSTER KEATON films available on home video.
Buster Keaton filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
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