Get Me to the Church on Time: ‘Seven Chances’: Ultimate Edition

The premise combines simplicity and absurdity. A man in financial trouble (Buster Keaton) is notified that he’ll inherit seven million dollars if he’s married by seven o’clock tonight. He’s got a sort-of-girlfriend, but she’s offended by the implication that he just needs to marry a warm body for the cash. So the first half of the film concerns Buster’s attempts to propose to a series of women at a posh country club, and the last half is an epic chase involving hundreds of women in bridal veils who read about the story in the newspaper.

This one-hour lark is one of Keaton’s beautiful creations, marred only (as is sometimes the case with Keaton) by a few minutes of blackface Negro-stereotype lampoonery; let it serve to remind us, in the Buddhist manner, that everything has a flaw to keep it from perfection. The film opens with a sequence in early two-strip Technicolor, and this version restores it to its loveliest look yet; there’s a bonus on the restoration of this sequence. There’s also scholarly commentary, a comparison of the film’s original Los Angeles locations with how they look today, and two shorts with the same premise: a simple but lovely 1904 chase from Edwin S. Porter at the Edison Company, and a late Three Stooges short scripted by Keaton’s co-writer Clyde Bruckman. Kino is releasing this edition as both a DVD and a Blu-Ray.

RATING 9 / 10
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