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Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2017 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

College
(1927)

 

Buster Keaton returned to a simpler story with College (1927) and reaped one of his most-popular films of the 1920s.

coverKino Classics
2013 Blu-ray Disc edition

College (1927), black & white, 66 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K1101, UPC 7-38329-11012-3.
Pillarboxed 16:9 AVCHD MPEG-4 format, one single-sided Blu-ray Disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, LPCM 2.0 stereo sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 10 chapter stops, standard BD keepcase, $39.95.
Release date: 5 March 2013
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 9 / audio: 8 / additional content: 6 / overall: 8.
This Blu-ray Disc edition features a remastered high-definition home video release of Buster Keaton’s College, which captures the image details of the source print in continuous greytones and rather than in black pointilistic dots — quite preferable and produces the most filmlike picture. Some footage has been inserted from lesser-quality prints.

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

The disc’s supplementary section includes audio commentary by film historian Rob Farr; a visual essay on the film’s locations by John Bengtson; and “The Scribe,” a 1966 industrial short that was Keaton’s final filmed performance (30 minutes).

This is our recommended home video edition of College for its filmlike HD video transfer, slightly edging out Kino’s 2017 edition produced by Lobster Films noted below.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverKino Classics
2012 Blu-ray Disc edition

The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection (1920-1937), black & white, 1600 minutes total, not rated,
including College (1927), black & white, 66 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K1087, UPC 7-38329-10872-4.
Fourteen single-sided, single-layered and dual-layered, Region-Free 0 Blu-ray Discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in pillarboxed 16:9 (? x ? pixels) progressive? scan AVCHD MPEG-4 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; four multidisc BD cases in cardboard slipcase, $299.95.
Release date: 11 December 2012.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 9 / audio: 8 / additional content: 7 / overall: 8.
This Blu-ray Disc collection edition contains the first high-definition home video release of Buster Keaton’s College, which is identical to the single-disc edition noted above.

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

Originally available on Blu-ray Disc in this boxset, College was released separately in 2013.

 
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 Classics
2017 Blu-ray Disc edition

College (1927), black & white, 66 minutes, not rated,
with Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), black & white, 69 minutes, not rated, and Run, Girl, Run (1928), black & white, 18 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K21210, UPC 7-38329-21210-0.
Two single-sided, single-layered, Region A Blu-ray Discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in pillarboxed 16:9 (? x ? pixels) progressive? scan AVCHD MPEG-4 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, LPCM 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 8 chapter stops; standard dual-disc BD keepcase, $29.95.
Release date: 14 February 2017
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 9 / audio: 9 / additional content: 8 / overall: 9.
This remastered Blu-ray Disc edition utlizes a conflation of a number of prints including an excellent 35mm print, with inserts from a very-good 35mm duplicate print with softer image details and another good 35mm print with really soft details. Several of the intertitles have been reset as video-based intertitles, possibly replacing foreign language title cards. Some of the footage has been transferred in 2K high-definition with rather filmlike continuous greytones and sharp image details, where other footage has been transferred with results that produce image details in not-so-filmlike black pointilistic dots.

The film is presented with two optional music scores, both in uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo: a new music score performed by a small ensemble, The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, our favorite accompaniment to this film, and a music score performed on theatre pipe organ by John Muri.

The supplementary material includes audio commentary by film historian Rob Farr; an introduction by edition producer Serge Bromberg (in French with English subtitles) (4 minutes); a filmed introduction by Lillian Gish originally produced for the Silent Years television series (4 minutes); the Mack Sennett collegiate short Run, Girl, Run (1928); a visual essay on the film’s locations by John Bengtson; and “The Scribe,” a 1966 industrial short that was Keaton’s final filmed performance (30 minutes).

This edition of College is largely on par with the 2013 Kino edition noted above and is an alternate recommended edition.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverKino Classics
2013 DVD edition

College (1927), black & white, 66 minutes, not rated.

Kino Lorber, K1100, UPC 7-38329-11002-4.
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, standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
Release date: 5 March 2013
Country of origin: USA
This DVD edition features a high-definition remaster of Buster Keaton’s College.

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

The disc’s supplementary section includes audio commentary by film historian Rob Farr; a visual essay on the film’s locations by John Bengtson; and “The Scribe,” a 1966 industrial short that was Keaton’s final filmed performance (30 minutes).

 
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

College (1927), black & white, 65 minutes, not rated,
with Hard Luck (1921), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated, The Electric House (1922), black & white, 23 minutes, not rated, and The Blacksmith (1922), black & white, 19 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K129 DVD, UPC 7-38329-01292-2.
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 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).
Release date: 11 January 2000.
Country of origin: USA

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

This early DVD edition has been mastered from an excellent 35mm print that has just a touch of dust, speckling, beginning print decomposition and other flaws, with missing footage inserts from a very-good 35mm print and a good 16mm reduction print. Originally mastered for release on laserdisc and VHS videotape in 1995, the standard-resolution analog video master is soft in its image details.

The film is accompanied by a music score performed on theatre pipe organ by John Muri.

We recommend the remastered DVD edition and the new high-definition Blu-ray Disc edition (noted above) from Kino Lorber.

 
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.
coverGenius Entertainment
2004 DVD edition

College (1927), black & white, 65 minutes, not rated.

Genius Entertainment, 62179, UPC 7-96019-62179-3.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 4 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, no chapter stops, cardboard envelope, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 2004.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 4 / additional content: 0 / overall: 6.

This low-budget edition utilizes the same slightly windowboxed video transfer as the Kino edition noted above, for it brandishes the Kino International logomark before the film begins. The transfer has probably been lifted from a Kino DVD, with or without their knowledge. The Kino transfer utilized a 35mm print for nearly the entirely of their edition (the Image Entertainment laserdisc used a greater combination of 35mm and 16mm footage), so the clarity is greater than other home video editions of College. Despite the disc’s low video bit rate, in motion the picture looks pretty good and is far better than other budget silent film discs.

The film is accompanied by the same pipe organ score by John Muri as the Kino edition, but is encoded at a low volume and is noisy when turned up.

Once the disc is playing, there is no accessing the disc’s menu (there isn’t one), there are no chapter stops, nor any other interactive controls other than ‘stop.’

The disc is available on eBay and also retails for about $2.00 in stores that carry this super-cheap line of discs, identified on its cardboard packaging by the ‘Movie Classics’ logo that is used instead of a Genius Entertainment logo.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverGoodTimes Entertainment
2004 DVD edition

College (1927), black & white, 66 minutes, not rated,
with The General (1926), black & white, 107 minutes, not rated, and The Milky Way (1936), black & white, 88 minutes, not rated.

GoodTimes Entertainment, 05-81684, UPC 0-18713-81684-9.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one dual-sided, single-layered and dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 7 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 12 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.99.
Release date: 30 March 2004.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 4 / additional content: 5 / overall: 4.

While surviving prints of College appear to be composed of surviving 35mm and 16mm materials, this GoodTimes edition has been mastered entirely from a 16mm reduction print which is characteristically soft of focus, coarse of image detail and contrasty in its greyscale range. Despite the high video bit rate on this disc, the quality of the source print seriously compromises this disc.

This multifilm edition also features the Harold Lloyd sound comedy The Milky Way (1936), mastered from a 16mm print, which is at least watchable.

For our comments on this edition of The General (1926), see our The General 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.
coverUnknown company
2002 DVD edition

Famous Comedy Legends, Volume 1 (1927), black & white, 324 minutes total, not rated,
including College (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Unknown home video company,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, single-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 DVD keepcase, $24.99.
Release date: 1 July 2002.
Country of origin: USA?
We are suspicious of the quality of this three-disc set of short and feature-length films. The majority of the titles have previously been offered by other budget disc producers and may be of similar low-quality.

While the temptation is to get three discs for a low price, the possibility exists that the quality of prints used for the video transfers are commensurately low.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverBrentwood Home Video
2005 DVD edition

Buster Keaton: The Great Stone Face of Comedy (1921-1927), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including College (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Brentwood Home Video,
unknown catalog number, UPC 7-87364-54939-9.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two 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, two-disc DVD keepcase, $9.98.
Release date: 11 January 2005.
Country of origin: USA
We have no idea whether this budget collection has utilized quality print materials for this edition of College.

Sight unseen, we don’t recommend it.

 
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.
coverCatcom Home Video
2001 DVD edition

College (1927), black & white, 60 minutes, not rated,
with The General (1926), black & white, 78 minutes, not rated.

Catcom Home Video, CAT0119-6, UPC 7-41914-01196-5.
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 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 2001
Country of origin: USA
We have not seen this DVD. Like other budget editions, this Catcom edition is likely to feature a video transfer from a 16mm reduction print. Also included in the collection are two Betty Boop golden era sound cartoons.

Sight unseen, we don’t recommend it.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Other silent era BUSTER KEATON films available on home video.

Other COLLEGE-THEMED FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Buster Keaton filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
 
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