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Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  The Navigator
 
Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.
The Navigator
(1924)
 

When asked to name Buster Keaton’s best film, many silent film enthusiasts will elect either The General (1926) or The Navigator (1924). And while we are certain that you can’t discuss Keaton’s best film without seriously considering a half-dozen other titles, we certainly agree that The Navigator is a top Keaton film.

The Navigator was directed by Keaton and actor/director Donald Crisp. Together they created a comic masterpiece that remains one of the silent era’s most memorable films. The film is filled with great Keaton gags, and the premise is inventive if not a little far-fetched. Keaton is the well-to-do and naive, impulsive suitor of Kathryn McGuire, who, through the machinations of plot that seem to be believable only in silent era comedies, ends up alone with McGuire on a large ship set adrift by anarchists. They quickly discover that their sheltered lives haven’t prepared them for surviving on their own. But Keaton’s character, as in other films, reveals his resourceful and inventive side and they not only survive their being without servants but also an assault by cannibals!

Keaton’s character, more than those of any other feature-length silent film comedian, crossed back and forth over economic and social lines and remained true to itself. Buster was not aggressive but was humbly confident, and while his character always had the audience’s sympathy he never asked for their pity. Keaton was equally true to himself when playing a penniless scrounger and a sophisticated societyperson. — Carl Bennett

2012 Kino Classics Blu-ray Disc edition

The Navigator (1924), color-toned black & white and black & white, 59 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K124DVD, UPC 7-38329-01242-7.
Pillarboxed 16:9 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, one single-sided Blu-ray Disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, DTS HD 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard BD keepcase, $34.95.
DVD release date: 4 September 2012.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 9 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.
This Blu-ray Disc edition has been transferred in high-definition from a 35mm print from the Raymond Rohauer collection (ie. Buster’s collection), which is generally in excellent condition, with occasional dust, speckling, print wear and other age flaws. Following the instructions for the initial release prints, this edition of The Navigator adds the color-tinting that was seen at the premieres of the film in major American cities.

The film is presented with the great ensemble music score, recorded in 1995 for David Shepard’s VHS edition, by Robert Israel, presented in 5.1 surround sound and 2.0 stereo.

The supplemental material includes audio commentary by historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan, a short documentary “Of Buster, Boats, Other Seacraft, and Working on The Navigator” by historian Bruce Lawton (9 minutes), a complete presentation of the 78rpm record of “Asleep in the Deep” performed by Wilfred Glenn (which is shown onscreen as a gag in The Navigator), and a stills photograph gallery.

We highly recommend this disc as this is the best-looking home video edition of The Navigator available.

 
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.
 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD edition is also available directly from KINO LORBER.
2012 Kino Classics DVD edition

The Navigator (1924), color-toned black & white and black & white, 59 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K1038, UPC 7-38329-10382-8.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 10 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
DVD release date: 4 September 2012.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 9 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.

This DVD edition, updated by Bret Wood from Kino’s 1999 DVD noted below,video transfer utilized for this DVD is (like the others in this Buster Keaton DVD series) from The Art of Buster Keaton has been transferred in high-definition from a 35mm print from the Raymond Rohauer collection (ie. Buster’s collection), which is generally in excellent condition, with occasional dust, speckling, print wear and other age flaws. Following the instructions for the initial release prints, this edition of The Navigator adds the color-tinting that was seen at the premieres of the film in major American cities.

The film is presented with the great ensemble music score, recorded in 1995 for David Shepard’s VHS edition, by Robert Israel, presented in 5.1 surround sound and 2.0 stereo.

The supplemental material includes audio commentary by historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan, a short documentary “Of Buster, Boats, Other Seacraft, and Working on The Navigator” by historian Bruce Lawton (9 minutes), a complete presentation of the 78rpm record of “Asleep in the Deep” performed by Wilfred Glenn (which is shown onscreen as a gag in The Navigator), and a stills photograph gallery.

Why be surprised that this is the best-looking DVD home video edition of The Navigator available? We highly recommend this disc.

 
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.
1999 Kino on Video DVD edition

The Navigator (1924), black & white, 59 minutes, not rated,
with The Boat (1921), black & white and color-tinted black & white, 22 minutes, not rated, and The Love Nest (1923), black & white, 20 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K124DVD, UPC 7-38329-01242-7.
Full-frame 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 sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 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: 23 November 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 9 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.
All of Buster’s nautical comedies are collected together in this DVD, which also includes The Boat (1921) and The Love Nest (1923). The Boat holds a lofty place among Keaton’s short films similar to those held by Cops (1922) or One Week (1920). It is considered by modern audiences to be one of Buster’s best short films. The Love Nest is very funny, with Keaton regular Joe Roberts playing a menacing ship captain. If you have not seen the films on this disc, we are certain you will be pleased and amused by all of them.

The video transfer utilized for this DVD is (like the others in this Buster Keaton DVD series) from The Art of Buster Keaton series originally released on laserdisc and VHS videotape in 1994-1995. The 35mm print of The Navigator is generally in excellent condition, with occasional wear and age flaws. Portions of The Boat were nearly lost forever to the print decomposition visible at times in this transfer. The Love Nest has been pieced together somewhat but is largely complete. The transfers of the short films are very good, with a generous, open framing.

The films on the disc also feature great music scores by Robert Israel and organist Gaylord Carter. While we have been a longtime fan of the late Carter’s work, we are continually impressed by Israel’s ensemble scores. On more than one occasion, the presence of Israel’s work has been a selling point for us. We enthusiastically recommend these great Buster Keaton films and this disc.

 
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
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  The Navigator   ||   Top of Page

The Big Parade on Blu-ray

The Navigator on Blu-ray

Ultimate Keaton Boxset on Blu-ray

Keaton Short FIlms Blu-ray Disc

Seven Chances on Blu-ray

Go West on Blu-ray

Keaton on Blu-Ray Disc

The General on Blu-ray Disc

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