It’s that time of year again. As the holiday season arrives, it’s time to go shopping for fellow classic film fans (or as always, yourself). 2016 has brought about another fine collection of new releases that would be great for any classic film fan (hint hint). Here’s a few selections from this year to put under an #OldMovieWeirdo’s tree:
It’s finally here. If there’s a silent film fan in your life, odds are you already know about the blu-ray release of Napoleon. The epic film is not only considered to be one of the silent period’s best films, but perhaps one of the greatest films ever. Long seen only at or poor releases of various lengths, the BFI has remastered the most complete version of this long sought release–five and a half hours in all. This is the one release to get the classic film fan, if they haven’t scrambled to get it already.
The Forbidden Hollywood series always delivers a great collection of precode films, and this one is no exception. This time the set features two Warren William vehicles, as well as appearances by Kay Francis and Barbara Stanwyck. One can never go wrong with a slate of edgy precode films, which is why this isn’t the only set worth getting . . .
Wheeler and Woolsey: RKO Comedy Classics Volume 2
For some more light hearted precode affair, look no further the second collection of Wheeler and Woolsey films. With a combination of fast ribald talk and musical numbers, Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey forever remain one of the best comedy acts of their time. This edition of the set also represents the time before Wheeler and Woolsey worked as partners. This set includes one each of them solo, along with four films as a team. For the dedicated fan, more releases of their work is a welcome addition. And for those unfamiliar with the duo, now it’s even easier to get educated. And that’s not the only comedy collection on the docket this year . . .
Buster Keaton: The Shorts Collection 1917-1923
There are many other Keaton collections out there, including shorts from 1920-1923 and an even bigger (and absurdly expensive) edition that includes that set and his classic features. For a more economic and also more comprehensive shorts collection, this one is the way to go. Unlike the previous shorts blu-ray, this one also includes the shorts Keaton made with Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. And the edition of those is not just a drop in the bucket: that accounts for 13 more shorts. This is the most complete Buster Keaton shorts collection yet.
Finally, a new book recommendation. There is never a shortage of Marx Brothers material, and the books covering their careers are numerous. This book, though, is a little bit different. Instead of covering the film career we know so much about, the author focuses entirely on their stage career before hitting the silver screen. For a deeper dive into the early and formative years of the Marx Brothers, this is one to get.