I wrote that previous description posted by Jonathan S, and there is indeed no unseen footage in the rough cut, so I think the convention folks got a bit carried away in their description. Keaton had apparently already selected all his takes at the time he completed this cut, which I believe was made to get a feel for how well the story flowed (this was, after all, his first single-narrative feature when you consider the structure of "Three Ages").
There are quite a few differences in editing (the prologue is a flashback, for example) and interesting details, however, as discussed further on the Yahoo Group. The varying nitrate decomp suggests that Keaton cut this by hand from various rushes, and indicates which shots came from which cameras, etc. Rough cuts from that era are extremely rare, so on that front this is indeed a find—just not as exciting as the promotional copy built it up to be (the copy almost suggested something that had been extensively reshot and altered).
I don't think that the print would have much value or generate much interest as a stand-alone DVD, but could definitely make for an interesting supplement on, say, a new, restored edition of "Our Hospitality," with the Carl Davis score. David B. Pearson (or someone else who has studied the print) could do a voice-over explaining some of the most interesting portions of the print.
Speaking of which, I'd love to get the Thames version of "Our Hospitality," but can't justify buying the whole "Keaton Chronicles" set to get it. Is available separately anywhere?
The second find featured at the convention was a 10-minute collection of gags that Keaton directed and starred in for a production of the play "Merton and the Movies." It was shown during a scene where the producers are watching rushes, so the film has no story line. It's just a collection of gags, including a very funny segment with ducks. Keaton shot the material on 16-mm with Eleanor operating the camera.
Since I started with all the Kino's before the MK2 set came out, this has been my recipe for the complete Keaton silent era:
1. Replaced my Cameraman/Spite Marriage Laserdisc with the triple-feature TCM disc.
2. Picked up the R2 Cinema Club Releases of "The General" and "Three Ages/Steamboat Bill Jr./College. I assume this is the equivalent of picking up the R4 release of those four films (minus the missing Israel score on the first Australian pressing). Does the Australian release have the second disc of "The General" extra features as well?
With all that, the French MK2 set seems unnecessary for the money, since although the encodes are better, it uses the same transfers as Kino for the remaining films. I suppose for the best picture possible, it's still the only game in town, though. My instinct is to wait in hope of new, improved transfers of "Sherlock, Jr.," "Our Hospitality," "Seven Chances," "The Navigator," etc. Hopefully one day we'll see these.
3. Right now I'm still living off the shorts on the Kinos and the Arbuckle-Keaton set, with a couple VHS supplements, but I will probably import the MoC collection in the future if it is a notable improvement over them, as seems to be the consensus. What say you all?