Monday, July 25, 2016

Silents Is Golden: The Complete Buster Keaton Shorts

“Have you ever been in a movie, Buster?” he asked.

When I told him I hadn’t, Roscoe said, “Why don’t you come over to the Colony Studios tomorrow morning? I’m starting a new picture there. You could try doing a bit in it. You might enjoy working in pictures.”

“I’d like to try it,” I told him.

– Buster Keaton: My Wonderful World of Slapstick

It didn’t take long for Buster Keaton to fall head over heels for the movies. He met Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle on the set of his two-reeler The Butcher Boy in 1916, and the next day he was making his debut in front of the cameras. He enters The Butcher Boy as a customer hoping to buy some molasses, an attempt that ends in a predictably sticky mess, and he later engages in flour-chucking fight and a chase around a school for girls (with Roscoe in drag). Keaton didn’t make much of an impact on audiences in this first appearance – in fact, Variety’s review neglected to mention him even as they found time to praise his canine co-star Luke – but many of the traits we associate with him were already in place. The dumbfounded expression, the astonishing athleticism, the porkpie hat. A star was born.

Read the rest of my article at Mostly Film