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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

College [Blu-ray]

 

(James W. Horne , 1927)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Joseph M. Schenck Productions (A United Artists Production)

Video: Kino

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:05:00.271

Disc Size: 27,974,025,209 bytes

Feature Size: 18,117,793,152 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.91 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 5th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary: LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Audio commentary by film historian Rob Farr, founder of Slapsticon

Visual Essay Tour of Filming Locations (9:55)

• The Scribe (1966 industrial short that was Keaton's final filmed performance 29:29)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Buster Keaton goes back to school and stages a hilarious send-up of university life in College. Keaton stars as Ronald, an idealistic freshman who attends Clayton College in pursuit of higher learning, but finds himself instead embroiled in a war of athletics as he fights for the heart of his beloved coed, Mary (Anne Cornwall). More than he had in any other feature, Keaton stretched the boundaries of solo physical comedy. In a series of unforgettable vignettes, stone-faced Ronald tries his hand as a baseball player, soda jerk, waiter, coxswain, and track star, performing each task with a steady determination but with consistently disastrous results. These scenes are especially amazing because in demonstrating Ronald's athletic inadequacies, Keaton reveals a surprising degree of physical prowess and finesse, particularly during the film's exhilarating climax.

 

 

The Film:

Minor Keaton but major almost any other comedian, and notably better than Harold Lloyd's The Freshman, whose plot it borrows, with bookworm Buster trying to prove himself a jock to win the girl. There is a marvellous sequence in which he apes - perfectly but disastrously - the tricks of a veteran soda-jerk; an even better one in which he attempts a decathlon of sporting events, but knocks down every single hurdle with metronomic precision, is thrown by the hammer instead of the other way round, etc. Rarely was Keaton's grace and athletic skill demonstrated so clearly, even if he (understandably) had to get a double to perform the great pole vault through a window to rescue the heroine from assault by her jock admirer.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

The silent comedy feature College stars Buster Keaton as a scholarly young man who doesn't know beans about sports. When he arrives in college, Buster finds that all the Big Men on Campus are jocks. To impress pretty coed Anne Cornwall, Buster tries and fails to join all the school teams. Even when he attempts to take a job at the campus soda fountain, Buster is a washout. Through the kindness of dean Snitz Edwards, Keaton is placed on the varsity rowing team where, despite several clumsy moments, he manages to win the big race. This infuriates his athletic rival Harold Goodwin, who seizes Cornwall and runs off with her. In racing to her rescue, Buster is compelled to repeat all the sports activities at which he'd previously failed--and does so, magnificently. He bursts into Goodwin's dorm room and saves Cornwall from the usual worse-than-death fate. Hero and heroine kiss--at which point this lighthearted film takes a sudden, chilling turn. As always, Buster Keaton performs his own stunts in College, except for the pole-vaulting bit, which was accomplished by Olympic champ Lee Barnes.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

College appears quite solid on Blu-ray from Kino. The image quality has the acceptable speckles and light scratch damage - notable is a horizontal line, near the bottom of the frame, running through most of the first 1/4 of the feature.  This sneaks into dual-layered territory and the bitrate is strong. Certain sequences, where the source is les hampered, are quite impressive. I can't see many complaining about this 1080P transfer - and it is quite an improvement over SD.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is in the form of a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps. The John Muri, vintage organ-based score supports the film well. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'.

 

Extras :

Supplements include an informative audio commentary by film historian Rob Farr, founder of Slapsticon, a 10-minute visual essay Tour of Filming Locations and, oddly, The Scribe - a 1/2 hour 1966 Canadian industrial short that was Keaton's final filmed performance. The commentary is certainly the highlight and gives the package additional value.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
College is good solid fun. Keaton's 'stoneface' is in perfect modus-operandi. The Blu-ray provides a wonderful presentation - one that his fans will relish. I envy those seeing this for the first time. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

February 23rd, 2013

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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