my keaton retrospective

8

Steamboat Bill jr., 1928, was Buster’s last independently produced film.  During filming, he lost control of his company and made the fateful, and ultimately destructive, decision to sign with MGM.  Steamboat Bill jr. is Buster at the top of his game.  This is a funny film, well written, well acted.  I always show this one to newcomers of both Buster and silent film comedies.  

8

The Cameraman, 1928, was the last film Buster had any control over.  This was the first full length Buster film I ever saw and it’s still one of my favourites.  Though MGM did their best to ruin the film Buster was able to make it into a piece of comic history.  Many of the gags are still popular today, and the film itself was remade with Red Skelton, of whom Buster wrote many gags for.  After The Cameraman, MGM would go on to treat Buster as just a comic prop, and basically ended his illustrious career.  

8

College, 1927, was Buster’s next film.  After the negative reviews of the expensive to produce General, Buster chose a subject that was popular in the 1920s; College.  This was a time when a college education was more widely available than ever, and the whole idea of campus life was a novelty.  Many big stars of the time did films about college.  Buster used the subject in a way where he knew it would be most effective, sports.  He took the opportunity to show off his athletic ability, (and his athletic body as well!) There are funny little parts here and there that make me laugh out loud, but far and away his athletics are the most impressive.