Six Films by Buster Keaton from 1920

The Garage (Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, 1920)

Funny, but too much of just slipping and falling on oil and water and other wet stuff.

7.5/10

One Week (Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton, 1920)

That house is probably the most developed and fully-realized character I’ve seen in any silent film. Hell, in any film.

9.5/10

The Saphead (Herbert Blaché, Winchell Smith, 1920)

Buster was essentially the greatest stuntman who ever lived, not only because of his remarkable physical prowess but because he could actually hold his own as an actor. But when he’s charged with pretty much just acting and leaving behind his biggest talent, it’s like making a color commentator do play-by-play: he’s still in the sportscaster’s booth where he’s always been in his element, but simply by sliding into the next seat he’s doing something he just normally hasn’t been paid to do, and it shows. And it shows here. Buster could certainly hold his own as an actor, but eh, not that well, especially when it’s all he does in a given film. There’s a good stunt or two here, but otherwise this was just a bore, with stuffy old men worrying about their stocks, an odd villain who turns from sympathetic loser into Snidely Whiplash at the snap of a finger, and Buster acting like a clueless retard in love who saves the day by accident. Too much backroom stock dealings and maneuverings (to the point that it’s almost more of a drama than a comedy for a moment or two…), not enough Buster, so he’s just a buffoonish clown who’s pushed to the side much of the time instead of a protagonist you can root for. This isn’t a disaster, but his first feature-length film leaves plenty to be desired.

6.5/10

Convict 13 (Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton, 1920)

Who does he think he is, a Jedi?

8.5/10

The Scarecrow (Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton, 1920)

Charlie Chaplin found his ideal athletic/agile counterpart in The Kid with young Jackie Coogan. Buster Keaton found his in The Scarecrow with that dog. And I’m patenting all that mechanical string-powered shit in his house

9/10

Neighbors (Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton, 1920)

Beats U-Haul.

7.5/10

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1 comment so far

  1. Faisal J. on

    Reblogged this on That Dark Alley.


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