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The greatest box-office success of all his independent comedies, Battling Butler is a rarely-seen gem that mingles Keaton's deadpan demeanor and awesome physical agility with a particularly dramatic storyline. Keaton stars as Alfred Butler, a fragile young man whose father sends him into the country where he hopes masculinity will blossom. Ironically, he is there mistaken for "Battling" Butler, a renowned prizefighter of firey temperament. To impress a young lady (Sally O'Neil), Alfred carries on the ruse by engaging in a laughingly inept training regimen, but his harmless charade is soon complicated by the untimely arrival of the true contender (Francis McDonald). When the long-awaited opportunity to prove himself a man finally comes, it is before the gloved fists of the boxer, who initiates a locker-room brawl. There, in a sequence of agonizing tension and delightful surprises, Battling Butler reaches its unforgettable climax. In addition to the feature, this title also contains two rarely-seen Keaton short films. A Yukon metropolis is the snowbound setting of The Frozen North (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1922. 17 mins. B&W. Musical settings by Alexander Rannie.), wherein Buster parodies movie legends William S. Hart and Erich von Stroheim. This is the most complete print available. The Haunted House (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1921. 20 mins. Color-tinted B&W. Music: Robert Israel at the Fotoplayer.) has been meticulously restored to its original glory: an astounding collection of sight gags and illusions, with Buster taking refuge in a mansion rigged with a series of frightening booby traps.

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KI128 Battling Butler DVD (1926/Buster Keaton) $24.95 $22.45