Sunday, June 12, 2011


‘Silence is of the gods; only monkeys chatter.’

It’s always treat watching Buster Keaton’s silent comedies. This is my third Keaton film after ‘The General’ and ‘Sherlock Jr.’ and equally enjoyable as both of them…‘the great stone face’ is equally genius and legend like Chaplin and Groucho. However both of these legends continued their success and fame even after arrival of talkies, the stoic Keaton got most disturb with it and never reached the status of them. Though I must say his situational comic timing, self-done athletic stunts and props are just unparalleled in the silent classics. There are many absolute Keaton moments here too- i.e.-breaking dime box for dating his girl, his bus ride outside window, swimming pool fun or the scene not to miss is the one where he’s shedding clothes with a fatso in closed dressing cubicle. This is what only Keaton can do!

His common trait for impressing his girlfriend continues here too. She’s working desk girl in MGM News Reel and he’s amateur street cameraman. The man messed up every chance offered by her until ultimately he captured the Chinese shootout amid street procession followed up by saving damsel in the distress. Now we have seen animals doing all sorts of things but the monkey in this Keaton film performed something so extraordinary stuff on screen; watch it to find out how. Arthur Barrow’s pleasant score in 2004 digitally mastered print deserves appreciation. Classic cinebuffs will love to watch that early elevator crane shot where Keaton repeatedly runs up and down for receiving a phone call. Once on the differences between his and Charles Chaplin's characters, he remarked, ‘Charlie's tramp was a bum with a bum's philosophy. Lovable as he was, he would steal if he got the chance. My little fellow was a working man and honest.’

Hate to rate this silent single malt.

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