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Author Topic: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton  (Read 286 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
« on: August 07, 2017, 04:54:16 AM »
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  • http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/B13_My_Wifes_Relations.html


    Watch MY WIFE's RELATIONS in the link above.

    For the Stooge fans, we see two important gags used later by the Three Stooges.  Did you spot them?

    This short is, in short, the first total flop from the Keaton collection.  What we have here is a plot that doesn't make sense even for Keaton.  A normal Keaton film has bizarre things happening to normal people in otherwise normal scenarios with the aid of bizarre contraptions.  Combine this with Buster's reactions to these happenings, and you have the basic Buster formula.

    The incompetence/stupidity/facetiousness/autism displayed by the supporting cast is just plain weird and totally cooks the short for me.  That said, we have some moments, such as the hats on the sconce, Buster with the calendar, Kate breaking the pitcher over his head.  The judge who only speaks Polish is the real harbinger as doom, as any idiot should know that such a person would never be able to hold a government position because that job requires fluency in English.

    This short could be worse, but I stop here because I could write at least two more paragraphs on this one...

    6/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 12:26:52 PM »
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  • Yes, folks, that is Monte Collins of Columbia shorts fame!
    Actually, that's his old man - also named Monte Collins - who appears in some other Keaton flicks.
    "With oranges, it's much harder..."

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 04:47:10 AM »
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  • Actually, that's his old man - also named Monte Collins - who appears in some other Keaton flicks.

    You are correct.  A source I saw had claimed it was the Columbia Collins, even going so far as to specify that he was not the elder Collins.  Now, since you have gone so far as to do this work, can we implore you to do a review for us?
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 11:19:08 AM »
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  • Unfortunately, I have never been a fan of the "pestering in-laws storyline" that some comedians (notably Edgar Kennedy) tended to use. To be fair, I do think that Keaton does it a lot better than most comedians and I do understand why he made the short, considering his own issues with his in-laws at the time. Still, out of all of his solo silent shorts, I would probably have to pick this as my least favorite.

    The way that Keaton gets trapped in the marriage is frustratingly stupid, considering the fact that Keaton wasn't even the one who broke the judge's window. I also really dislike a lot of the bedroom scenes, as it cuts between these unfunny shots of Keaton and his wife constantly hitting each other and his in-laws annoying each other in the other room. A lot of the short really does amount to him being thrown around by the in-laws, even after they pledge to be nice to him.

    Still, I do think that, unlike in the Edgar Kennedy shorts, the in-laws can actually be kind of funny at times, notably during the dinner table scene in which Keaton changes the calendar on them, along with when they're trying to have their picture taken and the camera keeps falling. Joe Roberts is very expressive, which helps a lot. In addition, the chase is very energetic, though it should be noted that there are two different endings to this short, one that's shorter and ends with Keaton on the train and another that's longer and features Keaton being chased by policemen. I do prefer the shorter one, considering that it's a bit more conclusive and the other one feels like it drags on a bit, but neither one can save this from being my least favorite. It's not bad, though, and I'd still rather watch it over some of the early Arbuckle shorts.

    6 out of 10

    Also, regarding the Three Stooges gags, I remember during the dinner table sequence, they used a gag involving sugar in coffee and bending a spoon, both of which turned up in my favorite Three Stooges short, THREE DARK HORSES.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 10:25:18 AM »
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  • Pretty darned broad, but like the equally broad Arbuckles, the stunt work and acrobatics are astounding.  Nobody but nobody fell like Buster.  What the hell is that beer foam made of?

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 06:06:38 PM »
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  •       Probably the weakest Keaton silent short, and in a sense that's a compliment, because for an average comedian, this would be an above average, if not classic film.  For Keaton, it's fine entertainment, but hardly the genius we've come to expect from the guy.  It's basically a crazy in law comedy, the kind of thing done by a million comedians, and yeah, like Umbrella Sam mentioned, Edgar Kennedy being a good example.  You get stuff like the in-laws being quicker to grab the food at dinner, a bed that falls down, confusion over Keaton inheriting money, it all just seems like this stuff belongs on planet Earth while Keaton's great stuff is from another planet where only he lives.

          Still, some nice stuff.  The putting too much yeast in the beer, a gag I know I've seen somewhere else but can't quite remember where  [pie] is a wonderful sight gag when all those suds come out of the door.  I echo Big Chief's question on wondering what the heck it was all made out of.  I also have always had a soft spot for the meat on Friday gag, being because I was raised a Catholic and had an ex girlfriend who was raised in an even stricter Catholic family, an also shares the same name as the character in this short.  No similarity in looks, though. As a tribute to Keaton, when he gets found out the inheritance is not his and the family is eyeing him, the shot of just his face is marvelous.  He is still fairly stone faced, hardly overacting, yet still somehow manages to convey fear.  Keaton was a wonderful actor and that shot is a great example.

          As for the end, yes, I know the sudden end when he runs away and gets on the train makes more sense plot wise.  After all, why would a cop suddenly be chasing Keaton?  Personally, I don't care.  The ending where the cop gets involved adds more to the chase and has that wonderful gag of Keaton going down each awning like he's slowly tearing a napkin.  It's the best sight gag in this short, something this film needed and I'm glad the footage exists.

    8/10

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: My Wife's Relations (1922) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #6 on: August 21, 2017, 09:08:42 PM »
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  • Pouring coffee in a bowl of sugar when a few lumps of sugar won't do.  Bending the spoon to prevent it gouging the eye - also done in EVERYTHING'S ROSIE (1931) in addition to MY WIFE'S RELATIONS and THREE DARK HORSES. A solo film from Robert Woolsey of Wheeler and Woolsey fame, and directed by, you guessed it, Clyde Bruckman.  Watching it now for the first time as I type this.