Buster Keaton

  • Charles Reisner & Buster Keaton – Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

    1921-1930Buster KeatonCharles ReisnerComedySilentUSA

    Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent movie Steamboat Bill, Jr, now on rerelease, is most famous for that staggeringly clever and ambitious shot of the house front with the strategically positioned open window collapsing on top of our hero, leaving him unscathed. It is a sublime vision of innocence being protected by comically benign forces – famously pastiched by British artist and Oscar-winning film-maker Steve McQueen in his 1999 video piece Deadpan. Steamboat Bill, Jr is a Romeo-and-Juliet drama and also a gently tender story of a man coming to respect and love his son. Bill Sr (Ernest Torrence) is the captain of a tatty old pleasure boat who hasn’t seen his son since the boy was a baby. He’s hoping for a strapping lad to help out with the business.Read More »

  • Edward Sedgwick & Buster Keaton – The Cameraman [4K Restoration] (1928)

    1921-1930Buster KeatonComedyEdward SedgwickSilentUSA

    Hopelessly in love with a woman working at MGM Studios, a clumsy man attempts to become a motion picture cameraman to be close to the object of his desire.Read More »

  • Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton – Three Ages (1923)

    1921-1930Buster KeatonDramaEdward F. ClineFranceThriller

    Buster Keaton backed into feature filmmaking with this 1923 effort, which essentially consists of three two-reelers (Keaton’s accustomed format) edited together. The structure is a vague parody of D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance, with Buster fighting to win his woman from a stronger rival in the Stone Age, the Roman Empire, and modern times. It’s good but not great Keaton: the gags are chiefly basic slapstick, with little of the surrealistic refinement and visual sophistication he brought to his later features.Read More »

  • Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton – One Week (1920)

    Edward F. Cline1911-1920Buster KeatonComedyShort FilmUSA

    A newly wedded couple attempts to build a house with a prefabricated kit, unaware that a rival sabotaged the kit’s component numbering.Read More »

  • Richard Lester – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

    1961-1970ComedyMusicalRichard LesterUSA

    Pseudolus is the laziest slave in Rome and has but one wish, purchase his freedom. When his master and mistress leave for the day he finds out that the young master has fallen in love with a virgin in the house of Lycus, a slave dealer specializing in beautiful women. Pseudolus concocts a deal in which he will be freed if he can procure the girl for young Hero. Of course, it can’t be that simple as everything begins to go wrong.Read More »

  • Edward Sedgwick – The Passionate Plumber (1932)

    1931-1940ClassicsComedyEdward SedgwickUSA

    Elmer Tuttle, a plumber in Paris, is enlisted by beautiful Patricia Alden to help her make her lover Tony Lagorce jealous. Tony, however, is two-timing Patricia with Nina Estrados. Elmer, with the help of his friend Julius, hopes to use the high-society contacts he’s made with Patricia to find a market for his new invention, a pistol with a range-finding light. But Elmer’s attempts to interest a military leader are mistaken for assassination attempts, and with Tony and half the male uppercrust of France challenging Elmer to duels, he is in hot water not even his plumbing skills can drain away.Read More »

  • Clyde Bruckman & Buster Keaton – The General (1926)

    1921-1930Buster KeatonClyde BruckmanComedySilentUSA

    When Union spies steal an engineer’s beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.Read More »

  • Buster Keaton – Seven Chances (1925)

    1921-1930Buster KeatonClassicsSilentUSA

    Buster Keaton plays a young lawyer who will inherit $7 million at 7 o’clock on his 27th birthday–provided he is married. Long before discovering this, Keaton has pursued a lifelong courtship of Ruth Dwyer, whose refusals have become ritualistic over the years (the passage of time is amusingly conveyed by showing a puppy grow to adulthood). He proposes again, but this time she turns him down because she thinks (mistakenly) that he wants her only so that he can claim his inheritance. The doleful Keaton is thus obliged to spend the few hours left before the 7 PM deadline in search of a bride–any bride. Read More »

  • Samuel Beckett & Alan Schneider – Film (1965)

    USA1961-1970Alan SchneiderPhilosophyPhilosophy on ScreenSamuel BeckettShort Film

    F I L M I N F O
    1. Samuel Beckett made a single work for projected cinema. It’s in essence a chase film; the craziest ever committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds existential dread embedded in the very apparatus of the movies itself. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was understandably befuddled at Beckett and director Alan Schneider’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze. The archetypal levels resonate further in the exquisite cinematography of Academy Award-winner Boris Kaufman, whose brothers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman created the legendary self-reflexive masterpiece Man With a Movie Camera. Commissioned and produced by Grove Press’s Barney Rosset, FILM is at once the product of a stunningly all-star assembly of talent, and a cinematic conundrum that asks more questions than it answers.Read More »

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