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Author Topic: Buster Keaton At Columbia Studios  (Read 1935 times)

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Pilsner Panther

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Buster Keaton At Columbia Studios
« on: June 29, 2006, 12:20:34 AM »
I didn't get a chance to answer this because of my work hours, but "BeAStooge" took care of that. I'm just curious of your opinion of this short, as compared to Buster Keatons version, "Mooching Through Georgia" (which was done before the Stooges did it) Even though this was made in Curly's sick time, he seemed like he was in pretty shape for this one. But that being said, I kind of liked the Keaton version a little better. It seemed to move a little smoother and wasn't as offensive. I was curious if they used the "ejaculated " bit in the Keaton version, so I just watched it. They didn't.

I really don't think that "Mooching Through Georgia" is one of the better Columbia Keaton shorts. In all fairness, I only got the DVD set a couple of weeks ago and I haven't watched them all yet. The only one I'd seen before was "Nothing But Pleasure," at a Keaton festival some years back.

The trouble for me is, when I see Buster in a Civil War army uniform, I immediately expect something like "The General," and this film (needless to say) is not "The General." Also, Monty Collins isn't very funny here... he seems like he's just going through the motions, as does most of the cast. He's much better as the sergeant who gets harassed by Buster in "General Nuisance."

That's one of my three favorites of the shorts I've watched so far, the others being "Nothing But Pleasure" and "His Ex Marks The Spot."

Elsie Ames and Dorothy Appleby as Buster's female co-stars, now that's some truly great casting! Dorothy is very pretty and petite, but she can also do the "slow burn" like Edgar Kennedy, which is hilarious. Elsie Ames is a real discovery for me— Daphne Pollard was the only other actress of that time who would do all-out, roughhouse slapstick like this. Elsie was obviously coached by Buster in some of the brutally funny physical/acrobatic routines that went back to his days in his family's vaudeville act.

In "His Ex Marks The Spot," there's a rare instance of Buster getting pied in the face (by Dorothy, with a heaping plate of mashed potatoes). Buster hadn't been on the receiving end of a plate of food or a pie (or a bag of flour) since his silent days with Fatty Arbuckle. He was really going back to his roots here, perhaps realizing that he was getting older and maybe couldn't do such extreme physical comedy for much longer. The fact that he'd been drinking heavily for most of the previous ten years makes his perfomances in these films all the more amazing.

 :o

The flaw of low budgets and sometimes mediocre scripts is more than made up for by watching a still-limber 40-ish Keaton do his incredible pratfalls, and having the Columbia supporting actors play opposite him. For example, in "So You Won't Squawk," he does an extended scene with Vernon Dent.

[thumbsup]

I'll have more comments on these shorts as I continue to watch them.

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Offline JazzBill

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Re: Buster Keaton At Columbia Studios
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2006, 03:02:51 PM »
I have never seen any of Keatons other work. So I really don't have anything to compare the Columbian shorts against. All I have heard is how these don't stand up against his earlier work. The truth is , I think these Columbian shorts are fantastic.I guess I'll have to get some of his early stuff to see how great this guy really was. ( By the way, "Pest From The West" was my favorite.)
"When in Chicago call Stockyards 1234, Ask for Ruby".

Pilsner Panther

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Re: Buster Keaton At Columbia Studios
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2006, 03:09:49 AM »
I have never seen any of Keatons other work. So I really don't have anything to compare the Columbian shorts against. All I have heard is how these don't stand up against his earlier work. The truth is , I think these Columbian shorts are fantastic.I guess I'll have to get some of his early stuff to see how great this guy really was. ( By the way, "Pest From The West" was my favorite.)

Oh yeah, that's a good one— especially the "In A Little Spanish Town" routine, where a carefully-timed falling object bonks Buster on the head at the end of every phrase while he's trying to play Romeo, serenading his sweetheart under her balcony on the mandolin... only, it's the wrong balcony!

[pound]

Also, it features Stooges co-stars Lorna Gray (Adrian Booth) and Gino Corrado, both at the top of their form. Gino's outraged "I'll keel you!" bit is always hilarious, whether it's directed at Keaton or at the Stooges (in "An Ache In Every Stake" and "Micro-Phonies"). Bud Jamison and Richard Fiske are in this first-rate Columbia short, too, but they don't have much more than cameo roles.

If you're not too familar with The Great Stone Face, I recommend that you start here:

http://www.busterkeaton.com/

Why? Damfino...

 ???


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Offline metaldams

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Re: Buster Keaton At Columbia Studios
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2006, 09:04:33 PM »
Hey Jazzbill, have you checked out any silent Keaton yet?  If not, what are you waiting for!?

I've been watching both UNCIVIL WARBIRDS and MOOCHING THROUGH GEORGIA a lot lately, as I'm hoping to write an article comparing the two.  I'll be brief for now and save most of my thoughts for the article, but overall, the script is better suited for the Stooges.  The whole brother concept is appropriate for them because they are a natural team, while Buster needs a contrived and uninspired partner like Monte Collins.  That said, there are a few very beautiful Keatonian moments that only Buster could pull off.  My favorite would be when Keaton is saying bye to his girl and trying to kiss her - absolutely beautiful pantomime.  Both shorts are fun and worth checking out.

Offline JazzBill

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Re: Buster Keaton At Columbia Studios
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2006, 10:18:47 PM »
No, I haven't seen any of Keaton's silent films yet. I've looked for them at Wal-Mart and K-Mart etc, but I haven't put a real effort to find them yet.(I'm Lazy) It's hard to pick a favorite between "Uncivil Warbirds" and "Mooching Through Georgia". My favorite scene in "Mooching Through Georgia" is when Buster pulls Monte through the window when they are making their escape. At his age, that couldn't of been an easy thing to do. It's hard for me to compare the two films when you realize that this was one of Curly's last films. Even though Curly did a hell of a good job on this short, I still find myself focusing on Curly too much.

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"When in Chicago call Stockyards 1234, Ask for Ruby".