1910s1920SComediansComedyEntertainersHumorSpecials

Comedy – Buster Keaton – River Junction Jail Break imasportsphile

DOG ASIDE:

Film critic David Thomson later described Keaton’s style of comedy as follows:

“Buster plainly is a man inclined towards a belief in nothing but mathematics and absurdity … like a number that has always been searching for the right equation. Look at his face—as beautiful but as inhuman as a butterfly—and you see that utter failure to identify sentiment.”

Gilberto Perez commented on:

“Keaton’s genius as an actor to keep a face so nearly deadpan and yet render it, by subtle inflections, so vividly expressive of inner life. His large deep eyes are the most eloquent feature….with merely a stare he can convey a wide range of emotions….from longing to mistrust….from puzzlement to sorrow.”

Critic Anthony Lane also noted Keaton’s body language:

“The traditional Buster stance requires that he remain upstanding, full of backbone, looking ahead… [in The General] he clambers onto the roof of his locomotive and leans gently forward to scan the terrain….with the breeze in his hair and adventure zipping toward him around the next bend….it is the angle that you remember….the figure perfectly straight but tilted forward….like the Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood of a Rolls-Royce. In The Three Ages….he drives a low-grade automobile over a bump in the road….and the car just crumbles beneath him.  Rerun it on video….and you can see Buster riding the collapse like a surfer….hanging onto the steering wheel….coming beautifully to rest as the wave of wreckage breaks.”

Film historian Jeffrey Vance writes,

“Buster Keaton’s comedy endures not just because he had a face that belongs on Mount Rushmore….at once hauntingly immovable and classically American….but because that face was attached to one of the most gifted actors and directors who ever graced the screen. Evolved from the knockabout upbringing of the vaudeville stage, Keaton’s comedy is a whirlwind of hilarious, technically precise, adroitly executed, and surprising gags, very often set against a backdrop of visually stunning set pieces and locations—all this masked behind his unflinching, stoic veneer.”

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