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Author Topic: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton  (Read 513 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
« on: May 27, 2017, 06:00:46 AM »
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  • http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/B04_Neighbors.html
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File%3ANeighbors_(1920).webm

    Watch NEIGHBORS in the link above.

    THE SCARECROW and NEIGHBORS were released on the same day.  I chose to do Neighbors, but the Damfinos have THE SCARECROW as the 3rd short.

    NEIGHBORS, simply put, is fantastic.  It's the first Keaton true domestic comedy as well as his first police comedy, and both themes recur a ton in his silent shorts.

    Buster knows how to milk a gag well, but I believe this same short could have been extended and as funny as a three-reeler as well.  His encounters with the cops and with Joe Roberts both take about 50% of the first 14 minutes of the film for an even balance.

    The battles between the families are an absolute riot.  Keaton pulls off some absolutely crazy acrobatics.  Unfortunately for me, all has been said below, but nevertheless...

    10/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 06:40:46 AM »
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  • I never realized these two shorts had the same release date, and yeah, Wikipedia have 12/22/20 for both shorts as well.  I've always assumed THE SCARECROW was first and perhaps it was filmed first, I don't know.  Either way, I was expecting THE SCARECROW this week and get NEIGHBORS.  Fine by me, I love 'em both.  I'll get a fresh viewing and a review either tonight or Monday.  Three day weekends rule.

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: May 27, 2017, 10:21:53 AM »
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  • The 1917-1923 blu-ray lists THE SCARECROW as being released on December 22, 1920 with NEIGHBORS being released on January 3, 1921. However, the book Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase also lists alternate dates of November 17, 1920 and December 22, 1920 respectively, which probably is the reason for the confusion (busterkeaton.com lists these dates). THE SCARECROW was copyrighted a month before NEIGHBORS, so it most likely was released first.

    My review will also probably come later tonight. However, one interesting thing to note about this is that Buster's father in this short is played by his actual father, Joe Keaton.

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: May 27, 2017, 10:57:24 PM »
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  • Once again, we get another great short with a lot of fun gags and incredible acrobatics from Keaton, such as when he is climbing on top of the pole or sliding on the clothesline. Keaton also takes full advantage of the Flying Escalantes towards the end when rescuing Virginia Fox.

    The feud between Keaton's and Fox's families is also a delight to watch, thanks to the efforts of some very talented supporting players and that fly swatter of Keaton's leads to some funny situations between the family and the police officers. I do think Keaton's own encounters with the police officers get a little tedious after a while, although even then Keaton adds some nice touches such as attempting to convince one that he's doing a dance rather than running away.

    There's two other things that I noted. One is that the judge is not only also a wedding minister but apparently also digs coal for a living. The second is that when they do the close-up of Joe Roberts destroying the ring, a fly lands on his hand, which I doubt was intentional. Neither of these really affects the quality of the short (although that first one kind of confuses me), but they were just some odd things that I thought were notable. It was another great short and there are more great shorts to come.

    9 out of 10

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 11:38:29 PM »
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  • I believe the judge is the same toothless old guy who plays the captain of the guards in the Stooges Restless Knights and asks "is this the clay department?" in Pop Goes the Easel before getting a facefull.  He's also feeding his own furnace here with the coal that just got delivered down that chute.  That's the way it used to be.

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 10:06:57 AM »
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  • I believe the judge is the same toothless old guy who plays the captain of the guards in the Stooges Restless Knights and asks "is this the clay department?" in Pop Goes the Easel before getting a facefull.  He's also feeding his own furnace here with the coal that just got delivered down that chute.  That's the way it used to be.

    Oh, OK. Thanks for clearing that up. It looks like you're right about it being the same guy. It does look like him and the Damfinos credit Jack Duffy for the role. There seems to be some confusion though as to whether it was Jack or James Duffy who played the role. I don't know who James Duffy was (a brother, maybe?), but I think it's highly likely it's the same guy.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Neighbors (1920) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 12:40:24 PM »
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  •       What can be said, another masterpiece.  If any of you guys want to do some great reading on silent comedy, I highly suggest Walter Kerr's THE SILENT CLOWNS, which is my favorite book of all time.  This was written in the 70's, so imagine what he could have done with access to DVD's and YouTube.  Still, he writes highly intelligent thoughts on silent comedy, including NEIGHBORS. 

          Virginia Fox does make her first appearance here, and her last name has some irony to it.  Later on, she would marry none other than Darryl Zanuck, the man who would go on to run Fox Studios.

           My favorite things about this short?  I love how perfectly geometrical everything is.  No doubt those three windows and scaffold had to be measured so those three men could fit perfectly in them doing those amazing acrobatic stunts.  No faking it here, those guys were the real deal, and the creative ways they fall one by one before Keaton and Fox fall underground into wedded bliss is highly creative, physical, and funny.

          I love the whole old world neighborhood.  I love the Keaton gag on the clothesline where he circularly goes around the two houses only to land back to where he started...known as The Keaton Curve, according to Walter Kerr.  The fly swatter gag is both mechanically fascinating and funny the way it's milked.  The half black/half white gag remind some me of Rowdy Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania 6....strange childhood memories.  LOL.  R.I.P. Buster and Hot Rod.  This short is also the first to really delve into in laws and families fighting, a theme Buster would go into more later on as it mirrored his own life.

    10/10