Saturday, April 17, 2010


There’s an old proverb which says: Don’t try to do two things at once and expect to do justice to both. This is the story of a projector operator in theatre pursuing the detective skills. In 44 minutes length of this silent comedy, you won’t feel bore for a single second. Known as ‘the great stone face’ of silent era, Buster Keaton’s this shortest film is a great refreshing treat for any cinebuff irrespective of age or choice.

Keaton’s situational comic timing is different from slapstick humor of Chaplin; unlike great tramp he’s often played a working man found in trouble either with his girl friend or a job. His good intentions always put him into peril but he’s brave man. Though physically he’s short and wafer thin, his guts to do all challenging physical stunts on his own broke his bones so many times. Needless to say inspirational stuff for even Jackie Chan. Watch his ‘The General’ which I regarded as one of the best silent comedy I’ve ever seen.

There are few remarkable technical achievements too; whether it’s tightly integrated plot, unbelievable athletic stunts by Keaton himself, an avant garde treatment playing reality versus illusion, brilliant editing using optical effects, montage and mise-en-scene. If you watch it closely, you’ll find many copied comic flashes of films like ‘Sholay’, ‘Pushpak’ or even ‘Andaz Apna Apna’; worth to know its inspirational classic for many films. Chaplin is most dear to me but now after watching Keaton’s two films I must admit that he too deserves similar space.
Love to avoid ratings.

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