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Author Topic: Cops (1922) - Buster Keaton  (Read 328 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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Cops (1922) - Buster Keaton
« on: July 31, 2017, 06:20:06 AM »
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  • http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/B12_Cops.html


    Watch COPS in the link above.

    One cannot view this short with full enjoyment until understanding that this was written and filmed during the Roscoe Arbuckle trials.  Buster was one of the few Hollywood characters to maintain loyalty to Arbuckle, whilst the rest blacklisted Roscoe.  And the result is COPS.

    COPS takes Buster's typical cynical approach to an extreme.  In a normal short, Buster might raise the ire of a police officer or three a la The Three Stooges.  Here, everything he does wrong involves police officers.  It is chase gag after chase gag in a machine gun manner that keeps you interested even when you're not laughing.  This short is a classic example of Keaton's genius.  This must have been one of the largest cast counts in the history of two-reel comedy.

    This short nicely accomplishes its mission of showcasing how easy it is to pursue the wrong man and waste time and money in doing so.

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

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    Re: Cops (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 11:24:12 AM »
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  • There's a reason that this short is in the National Film Registry. Everything that you want to see in a Keaton short is in this. It has the comedy, it has the contraptions (such as Keaton's turn signal), it's got the stunt work (such as Keaton on the ladder) and it has what is one of Keaton's greatest chases. Just the sheer number of policemen that are going after him is nothing short of amazing, and the number of them continues to build up as it goes along. Some of my favorite moments prior to this include Keaton using his turn signal and the confusion over buying the horse.

    While the tone does seem a bit different from Keaton's other shorts, particularly with the ending, it is still pure Keaton at the center of it. It ranks up there as one of his best along with THE GOAT and THE PLAYHOUSE.

    10 out of 10

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Cops (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 12:17:56 AM »
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  •       Probably Keaton's most famous short film.  Definitely a classic, and with seven silent shorts left it's usually the shorts up to and including COPS that are considered Keaton's best.  After this, the shorts, while still very good and worth discussing, don't remain as consistently awesome as we have been viewing so far.  Some say Keaton was itching to do features at this point.  Who knows?

          As far as the Arbuckle court hearing analogy, I have to be honest and say I have never heard it before, but it makes a lot of sense and does give more meaning to this short....not that the short needed anything else to be completely enjoyable.

          I'll get this out of the way and then start my praises.  The goat gland specialist gag is the only gag in this short I never understood.  However, through the magic of Google, I found this crazy Wikipedia article well worth reading.  A dated joke for sure, but once you get the situation, the humor is more understood.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Brinkley

          The chase is definitely the most famous thing about COPS, and yes, the pure number of cops in and of itself is breathtaking.  The spectacle of this chase no doubt foreshadows all those great chases that would appear in many Keaton features.  However, it's not just the number of cops that's impressive, but all the well timed gags.  The way Keaton momentarily escapes the cops are fantastic and too numerous to mention, but my favorite is Keaton on the edge of a oval shaped building with a door, cops from both sides running towards Keaton, and Keaton going through the door as cops from both sides miss him by a second.  Wonderful timing and camera placement.  Keaton grabbing the back of a running vehicle by hand and vertically being driven away is an impressive physical feat and the ladder seesaw gag is one of Keaton's most famous sight gags, and rightfully so.  Again, a great combination of timing and physicality.  The end of the chase is Keaton at his most gloomy along with the ending of COLLEGE.

          The stuff before the chase is great as well.  Love the lazy horse ride, the boxing glove gags, the confusion of being tricked into buying a moving family's property, Keaton's initial encounter with Joe Roberts, and the wonderful trick beginning where (spoiler alert) it appears Keaton is in jail and he really isn't.  One year later, Harold Lloyd would open his signature film, SAFETY LAST with a similar gag.  Ironic Virginia Fox says she'll only marry a business man, considering in real life she got Darryl Zanuck.

          An all time classic.

    10/10



    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Cops (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 12:28:23 PM »
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  •       Probably Keaton's most famous short film.  Definitely a classic, and with seven silent shorts left it's usually the shorts up to and including COPS that are considered Keaton's best.  After this, the shorts, while still very good and worth discussing, don't remain as consistently awesome as we have been viewing so far.  Some say Keaton was itching to do features at this point.  Who knows?

    I think many of the remaining ones are quite, although the only stinkers among his silent shorts are among these final seven.
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Cops (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 02:26:32 PM »
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  • I've seen this many times, it never gets old.  I also like the orchestral backing here.  I don't know if it was specfically written for this, it seems heavier than you'd expect, but it doesn't interfere, in fact it kind of offers a wry, deadpan commentary on the action. I hear it as witty, though not ha-ha funny.  All-World flick.