Buster Keaton: The Shorts Collection
Editorial review of Buster Keaton: The Shorts Collection courtesy of Amazon.com
As new generations of viewers discover the magic of silent cinema, Buster Keaton has emerged as one of the era’s most admired and respected artists. Behind the deadpan expression and trademark porkpie hat was a filmmaking genius who conceived and engineered some of the most breathtaking stunts and feats of visual trickery, while never losing sight of slapstick cinema s primary objective: laughter. Produced by Lobster Films, BUSTER KEATON: THE SHORTS COLLECTION includes all 32 of Keaton s extant silent shorts (thirteen of which were produced in collaborations with comedians Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle and Al St. John). These 2K restorations were performed utilizing archival film elements from around the world, and promises to be the definitive representation of Keaton s early career.
Bonus Features: 2K Restorations, newly scanned (in 2K and 4K) from archival film elements | Orchestral scores by Frank Bockius, Neil Brand, Timothy Brock, Günter Buchwald, Antonio Coppola, Stephen Horne, Robert Israel, The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Dennis Scott, and Donald Sosin | 24-Page booklet with detailed film notes and essay by Jeffrey Vance, author of Buster Keaton Remembered | The Blacksmith – Newly rediscovered alternate version of the 1922 comedy, containing four minutes of previously unseen material | Coney Island – Alternate (politically incorrect) ending | My Wife s Relations – Alternate ending | Introduction by film preservationist Serge Bromberg (6 Min.) | Life With Buster Keaton (1951, excerpt) – Keaton reenacts Roscoe Arbuckle s Salomé dance first performed in The Cook
In short, Pajama Party is an Annette Funicello beach party movie — but in addition to the gyrating young girls in bikinis,Pajama Party adds large amounts of clown-level zaniness as well. The basic story has 3 intertwining plots – a Martian invasion (led by a clean cut, inept Martian teenager and managed by Don Rickles), a beach party complete with teenage angst, and some inept crooks (including Buster Keaton as an American Indian, still wearing his traditional pork pie hat — with a feather in it). There’s a lot of humor in the movie, with slapstick that borders on the Looney Tunes. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it and hope you do as well. (more…)
Seven Chances (1925) starring Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer
Buster Keaton’s silent film, Seven Chances, in a nutshell, laugh out loud funny — I watched it last night on Turner Classic Movies with some of my children, and we were all laughing loud, long, and repeatedly. (more…)
Buster Keaton Collection: (The Cameraman / Spite Marriage / Free & Easy)
Editorial review of Buster Keaton Collection courtesy of Amazon.com
The Buster Keaton Collection presents three of the first films (one, The Cameraman, a near masterpiece) Keaton made for MGM beginning in 1928, an arrangement that gradually ushered the great comic actor and director into the sound era but ultimately deprived him of creative control. (more…)
Coney Island (1917) starring Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Coney Island is a silent short comedy starring Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, with Buster Keaton in a secondary role. Buster is interesting to watch, in that he hasn’t yet developed his trademark stoneface personality, and can be seen laughing, etc. (more…)
Once Upon a Time – Twilight Zone episode starring Buster Keaton
In a very funny episode of The Twilight Zone, Buster Keaton stars as Woodrow Mulligan, a grumpy janitor living in the year 1890 – as Rod Serling says in the introduction to the episode:
Mr. Mulligan, a rather dour critic of his times, is shortly to discover the import of that old phrase, ‘Out of the frying pan, into the fire,’ said fire burning brightly at all times in the Twilight Zone.
Biography of Buster Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966)
(courtesy of wikipedia.com’s biography of Buster Keaton)
Joseph Frank Keaton Jr. (October 4, 1895 - February 1, 1966), always known as Buster Keaton, was a popular and influential American silent-film comic actor and filmmaker. His trademark was physical comedy with a stoic, deadpan expression on his face, earning him the nickname “The Great Stone Face”. His work as a performer and director is widely regarded to be some of the most innovative and important work in the history of cinema. (more…)
Buster Keaton Can Smile After Business Hours, by Dorothy Day – originally published in the New York Telegraph on October 21, 1923
I went to interview Buster Keaton with one ambition in mind–I would make him smile just to see if he could. He can. He favored me with a broad grin, upon our introduction. Maybe he thought I was funny, but that’s another story. (more…)
Low Comedy as a High Art, by Malcolm H. Oettinger – originally published in Picture-Play Magazine, March 1923
For a long time it was considered a breach of critical etiquette, if there be such a thing, to write of any one engaged in such a lowly sphere as that of comedy. It was little short of lese majesty to strum one’s lyre in praise of such funny fellows as Fred Mace, John Bunny, Mack Swain, and the then blooming Chaplin. Some few did it: venturesome souls, but as a general thing it was discouraged.
Times, capriciously enough, have changed. Today Charlot is hymned by the literati and the cognoscenti, the beautiful and the damning. The mere mention of his name is sufficient to start a feverish discussion in the highest circles, even including the well-known vicious one at the Algonquin. The critics have decided that the abominable movies have produced something worth while in this harlequin of the mustachios and baggy trousers. Five years hence they will discover Buster Keaton. In writing of the leading drolls of the flittering photos, it is tempting to take a leaf from Eugene Field’s “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” for it is conceded, almost without question, that the preeminent names today are Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd. (more…)