Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Great Stone Face

Taking a break from learning crochet(kind of getting the hang of it!) to fangirl I mean talk about my favorite silent male star. Buster Keaton. I'm sitting here trying to remember my very first impression of him. When I became a Gloria Swanson fan was really when I was introduced to the silent film world. Before I had no interest in silent films, I guess I thought they would be boring? I know dumb right! Well after seeing Sunset Boulevard I was enthralled by the lovely Gloria Swanson and just had to see her silent films. Because of my interest in her and later on silent films in general I began seeking out other silent films. I've always known of Buster Keaton and even having never seen any of his films I just liked something about him. Maybe it was his deadpan expression but when I saw a photo of him I would stop and look.

I finally caught one of his films on TCM, The Cameraman. I Loved it. I would consider it my favorite Buster film. From then on I watched his other films and still have a few I have yet to see. His serious expression throughout every situation he is in is just funny. And the stunts his does in every single one of his films are amazing. I find myself saying 'he is going to break his neck!' watching his incredible stunts. Later on I found out that he actually did break his neck in a scene in his film Seven Chances, yet he didn't know about it until years later.

When I started to learn about his life, I had found like many other stars he went through some hard times. Disastrous marriages, drinking, going broke, losing his job, etc. When I learned of his move to the studio MGM I couldn't believe that they didn't want any of his input on his films they just wanted his famous name. And it was interesting to learn that later on he became writers on films for the Marx Brothers, where he ended up recreating his famous gags he did years earlier for them and they were getting the credit. Of course he didn't mind though. With the invention of television he became famous once again though.

If you are a new Buster Keaton fan or maybe want to watch some of his films, my favorites include The Cameraman, Sherlock Jr., The General, Steamboat Bill Jr., and his shorts are always fun to watch. And if you want to read any books about him he has an autobiography but I recently bought a nice coffee table book called Buster Keaton Remembered that I would highly recommend. He is worth checking out in general.

Being the Blu Ray obsessed person I am, I am happy to be seeing his films being released on Blu Ray. The General was the first to be released, it was restored from the original negative so it looks AMAZING in Blu Ray. Next Steamboat Bill Jr. was released and coming Soon the double feature of Sherlock Jr. and The Three Ages will be released in November. I can't wait to see what other classics make it to Blu Ray in the coming years.


  1. Have you seen him in Limelight with Charlie Chaplin? It's not a silent film but it was really cool seeing them together!

  2. I've only seen clips of that film but I've been wanting to see the whole thing because it looks really good! And YES, those two together in one movie? Mind=blown.