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Author Topic: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton  (Read 635 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
« on: May 06, 2017, 06:21:13 AM »
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  • http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/B01_One_Week.html


    Watch ONE WEEK in the link above.

    We have begun Phase 2 of our incredible journey.  And this is an incredible start to Phase 2!  Buster Keaton's first solo effort is a riot and a half to those of us who love films with a premise of mass destruction via tools.  First off, this is a parody of a 1919 promotional film, HOME MADE, which was a Ford sponsored film about the ease of kit homes.  This in mind, notice what kind of car they have.

    Immediately, there is a stark contrast to the Arbuckle era: worthy co-stars and bit players.  We already see the oft recurring Sybil Seely and Joe Roberts, who does a fantastic job as unrealistically strong and completely unsympathetic piano deliverer.  Roberts was a good friend of the Keaton's, so we'll see lots of him over the next few months.

    The concept of the diminutive, timid Buster building a house is funny enough, but then add in his "Great Stone Face," and you're in for a treat.  The falls he takes in this one are absolutely incredible and so cringe-worthy that you wind up laughing.

    The highlight is when Buster steps out of that second story door and makes that wonderful flip, landing on his back.  Special camera tricks also play a role here as it is fairly apparent that these players are REALLY playing their roles (I see know hidden straps on Seely.  Is she really nude there?) and play them to perfection.

    Trains are to Buster Keaton as mud puddles are to Laurel & Hardy (Hal Roach, really).  They show up everywhere and to excellent comic effect.  Yes, I do love this short, but, then again, most of these Buster films are going to be awesome.

    10/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #1 on: May 06, 2017, 10:59:16 AM »
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  • Now we're getting to the really good films. Keaton's first released solo outing (THE HIGH SIGN was produced before this) already shows a more different style than Arbuckle's shorts. Not that Arbuckle's films as a whole were bad, but he did often feel like he was playing it a little too safe in terms of his physical comedy. Keaton is much more destructive and while this may have not been good for production costs, his films are more thrilling as a result.

    In addition, Keaton plays with our expectations, with the train gag at the end being a very good example. We expect him to have the train hit his home, only for it not hit the home. When we think everything is alright, then he has the train hit the home.

    ONE WEEK also has a unique style that I think helps, much like how I like BACK STAGE. Whereas BACK STAGE takes a more sketch comedy style, this one goes through the title week showing how everything slowly goes wrong.

    We also see Joe Roberts for the first time and even though his role isn't that big, his part is hilarious in that he completely ignores the fact that Keaton is being crushed by his own piano and even drops it back on him after getting his signature!

    Of course this is a fantastic short and we will be seeing much more like this as we go along.

    10 out of 10

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: May 06, 2017, 01:46:33 PM »
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  • That can't possibly be the nipple shot it looks like, can it?

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: May 06, 2017, 02:57:45 PM »
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  • That can't possibly be the nipple shot it looks like, can it?

    Buster apparently has beaten Playboy to the punch.  She's definitely nude.  I'm surprised there wasn't an uproar over that.

    Now, what does your pithy wisdom have to say about the over 24.5 minute product?   ;)
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 04:20:31 PM »
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  • I certainly could have shown more intellectual dazzle for my 700th post.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #5 on: May 06, 2017, 09:27:24 PM »
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  •       As far as nipple, you be the judge from the picture below.

          For the record, Renee Adoree appeared in a 1928 film called THE MATING CALL, which I watched about ten years ago when it was on TCM, and lo and behold, full frontal nudity.  This was produced by Howard Hughes, and three years earlier, Ms. Adoree starred in THE BIG PARADE, which was a massively successful film, so we're talking a mainstream film.  Nudity wasn't common in the silent era, but it happened occasionally, unlike the code era.  You can even see breasts through a see through top very briefly in 1916's INTOLERANCE, a film Keaton would later spoof.

          My review coming tomorrow night.  We're starting one of the great comic runs.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 04:58:33 PM »
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  •       As far as nipple, you be the judge from the picture below.

          For the record, Renee Adoree appeared in a 1928 film called THE MATING CALL, which I watched about ten years ago when it was on TCM, and lo and behold, full frontal nudity.  This was produced by Howard Hughes, and three years earlier, Ms. Adoree starred in THE BIG PARADE, which was a massively successful film, so we're talking a mainstream film.  Nudity wasn't common in the silent era, but it happened occasionally, unlike the code era.  You can even see breasts through a see through top very briefly in 1916's INTOLERANCE, a film Keaton would later spoof.

          My review coming tomorrow night.  We're starting one of the great comic runs.

    Considering we are talking about Vaudevillians, this isn't too surprising.  But, yes, that's a nipple/teat/b***er/breast.

    Watching THE MATING CALL MUST have been awful for your virgin eyes, Doug.   ::)   [naughtywag] [wheelchair]
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #7 on: May 07, 2017, 08:17:19 PM »
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  • Yes, to class up my contribution a bit, this certainly is a full-scale introduction to Buster's mechanical/mathematical sense of humor: many of the gags had to be worked out with slide rules, I'm sure.  I can picture the faces of the production staff as Buster limns his vision: yeah, yeah, the house has no right angles, and the roof is on sideways, and it spins like a merry-go round in a storm, and my overloaded car splits in half top-to-bottom,  and my wife's got her tits out !  The only gag I can see being appreciated at the drawing board stage is The First Train Misses, But The Second One Kills.  Word was that Schenck gave Buster free  rein artistically and financially, and if so he was a brave man, a daring gambler, and a man with a huge pile of disposable cash to let a beginner with no track record at all as a soloist spend so much money on what amounted to an experiment.  That it turned out so great is only hindsight - nobody could have guessed this.  Keaton and Schenck needed many miracles to pull this off, first time out of the box ( not including High Sign ), but by golly, they turned out to be Miracle Men.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #8 on: May 07, 2017, 08:20:42 PM »
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  • And BTW, Metal, your post gives new meaning to the term Screen Grab.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #9 on: May 07, 2017, 09:17:53 PM »
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  •       Wow....just.....wow.  I should end the review right here, but I won't, because I have too much hot air I need to release.  To address Big Chief's remark about Joe Schenk giving Keaton free reign early on, this almost enforces the idea more to me that Keaton had to have creative control with these later Arbuckle films, because Schenk would have to be a fool to allow Keaton this much financial freedom this early on without Keaton proving himself in some manner.  I don't think Schenk was a fool.

          ONE WEEK is a wonderful introduction to Keaton, so if any of you Stooge fans reading this are even remotely curious, click the link in Paul's post, watch, and enjoy a wonderful journey.  ONE WEEK is simply one amazing mechanical gag after another with great physical comedy thrown in.  Keaton really did have the mind of an engineer.  The angular house with the door being placed on the window, turning a house rail vertical into a ladder, the house turning into a tornado and Keaton doing these dives in and out, the crazed second story falls out of a door where a window should be, using wheel barrels as wheels to move the house across the street, the perfect timing of the train gag...Hell, even the way Buster and Sybil Seely diagonally fall into each other after seeing how the house is wrecked from the storm is brilliant.  Me describing all this does not do any of this justice, just see for yourself if you haven't already.

          I do like Sybil Seely and think she was cute..,and yeah, cute is the right word.  My second favorite Keaton lady after Marceline Day, but truth be told, leading ladies, with a few exceptions, were never overall as important to Keaton as they were to Chaplin and Lloyd, nor did they stick around long. 

          Overall, a pretty amazing short film.  I'll just randomly throw in how I like the way when the wedding guests throw shoes at the couple (what a strange tradition), Keaton nonchalantly takes a pair for his own.

         
    10/10

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #10 on: May 08, 2017, 08:16:34 AM »
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  • We have failed to address the hilarious scene when Buster is trying to haul the piano in and just yanks the floor down.  Handy Hank plays a fine fall guy in this scene.

    To continue on Sybil Seely, she performs quite a few stunts of her own in this, line the flipping, falling wall scene (you can tell she kicked the wall down).

    And the signs on the car "Good luck.  You'll need it."  etc.
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    Offline Umbday

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    Re: One Week (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 08:49:47 AM »
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  • You can hardly beat One Week as an introduction to Keaton. The solo shorts simply don’t get much stronger, all around. In fact, one will see that, over the course of the three years these shorts were in production, the first dozen or so are pretty much indelible, with the last batch tending to be somewhat less dazzling. 

    Yes, Sybil Seely was probably Buster’s most memorable and vibrant leading lady. The story goes that she was replaced by Virginia Fox early in the silent shorts era because Seely “proved a little fragile.” I’d always figured that Keaton meant that Seely wasn’t as game for the knockabout stuff as he might have wanted her to be. Turns out, thought, that around 1921, Seely got married and became pregnant — so maybe that’s what was meant when Keaton described her as fragile.

    For my money, Fox, as Seely’s replacement, was not as distinctive a personality or as watchable as Seely, and to my recollection wasn’t given much physical business to perform anyway.

    Another cool thing — Although I’ve never seen it screened this way, One Week makes a seamless middle act in a fantasy Buster-Sybil feature consisting of three of the very best shorts: The Scarecrow (courtship); One Week (newlyweds); The Boat (with children and damfino). Try it at home.