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Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray

United States
Kino Lorber | 1928 | 71 min | Not rated | Jul 06, 2010

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.32:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles
None

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Packaging
Slipcover in original pressing

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $34.95, Price history

Amazon: $20.85 (Save 40%)
New from: $17.24 (Save 51%)
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Buy Steamboat Bill, Jr. on Blu-ray Movie

Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8.2
46
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 4.2 of 54.2
Audio 4.2 of 54.2
Extras 3.4 of 53.4
Based on 3 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Drama100%
Romance43%
Comedy-
Action-
Family-
55%
popularity
527
collections
19
fans




Steamboat Bill, Jr.

 (1928)

Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

Buster Keaton plays the mild-mannered son of a steamboat captain caught in the middle of the bitter rivalry between his father and another Mississippi riverboat owner. This silent classic contains the famous stunt in which a cyclone blows down a two-story wall over Keaton who passes unharmed through an open window.

For more about Steamboat Bill, Jr. and the Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray release, see Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Starring: Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence, Tom Lewis
Director: Charles Reisne

» See full cast & crew


Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Of the silent films that have made the high definition leap to Blu-ray thus far, City Girl— released by U.K. imprint Masters of Cinema—definitely looks the best. Kino's treatment of Keaton's The General runs a close second, Battleship Potemkin a respectable third, and Steamboat Bill, Jr. chugs in at fourth. (I've yet to see Sunrise on Blu-ray, which may jostle my rankings.) The beautiful thing is, they all look absolutely astounding for 80+ year-old films, especially given all of the frankly horrible public domain home video editions we've seen over the years. Plus, since they've all been stored under different conditions, have all aged in different ways, and have prints in varying states of fidelity, it's not really fair to compare. What we can look at, however, is how faithful and accurate the studios' restorations have been. Thankfully, Kino and Masters of Cinema have both expressed their desire to release these silent classics with no unnecessary digital tampering, to present the purest visions of the films presently possible.

As with The General and Battleship Potemkin, Kino has given Steamboat Bill, Jr. a miraculous transformation that easily bests any previous home video version of the film. There's an understandable amount of damage to the print—white flecks, vertical scratches, occasional tears, some shakiness—but for its age, the film is in remarkable condition. Clarity is often revelatory, letting us make out extremely fine detail, like the texture of the leather on Bill Jr.'s luggage tag, or the weft of the elder Bill's work shirt. Unfortunately, some of the hard lines do look overly edgy, with black haloing present around some foreground objects/people. Kino has categorically denounced using edge enhancement, so I can only speculate that this has something to do with the Blu-ray compression/mastering process. I will say this, though: the effect is much less apparent in motion than it is on some of the screenshots, where it looks very pronounced. This will be a matter of personal preference and, to some extent, the size of your screen, but it really wasn't much of a distraction for me. A bigger issue—but once again, no deal breaker—is that the gradation seems slightly off at times. During a few of the outdoor scenes, highlights can appear too bright, and black levels—throughout—are never as dense as they could be. Consequently, the image can't quite achieve the depth or presence you can see in City Girl and The General. Still, I was frequently in awe of the picture, which is surprisingly detailed and rich with natural, untouched grain. It's easy to get into full-on nitpick mode about these transfers, but Kino really has done a fantastic job here.


Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

For the feature presentation of Steamboat Bill, Jr., Kino has given us three audio options. The default track is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix featuring new music by The Biograph Players. Doing a new score for a silent film is a tricky proposition—I always cringe when I see the "metal" version of Nosferatu—but the Biograph Players have pulled this one off. Obviously, the music sounds newly recorded—the mix is bright and clean, with ample bass response—but the score itself is appropriately old-timey, with a bit of Dixieland swing and occasional sound effects that accompany the on-screen action. My only complaint here—and it's a minor one, purely preference—is that, volume- wise, the music seems to be coming from all channels equally. If your rear speakers are closer to your sitting position than your front line-up is, you might find the music a bit loud in the back of the soundfield. If so, you could always switch to the Dolby Digital 2.0 version of the score, which sounds perfectly fine for a lossy mix. The final option is an excellent vintage organ score by Lee Erwin, presented as a Dolby Digital mono track. The sole audio option for the "Killian" version of the film— presented under the "Extras" tab—is a Dolby Digital 2.0 piano-centric score by William Perry.


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Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray, News and Updates



Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray Announced and Detailed - May 21, 2010

Kino Video has officially announced the 1928 Buster Keaton silent comedy Steamboat Bill, Jr. for release on Blu-ray on July 6. Remastered from archival 35mm material, this new edition will contain two alternate versions comprised of variant takes and camera an ...

Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. Blu-ray in July - April 16, 2010

According to early retailer information, Kino Video has set a July 6 street date for the Blu-ray edition of the silent comedy Steamboat Bill, Jr., starring Buster Keaton as the mild-mannered son of a steamboat captain caught in the middle of the bitter rivalry ...


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