« Last post by metaldams on February 18, 2018, 07:50:25 AM »
I'll start with my thoughts on Keaton at Columbia. He will never have the budgets, time, or creative freedom he had in his independent silent days, so I can understand Keaton fans being down on these shorts who are not Stooge or Columbia shorts fans. Heck, Keaton himself was. However, I'm a Keaton fan who came to him through the influence he had on Columbia shorts, namely The Three Stooges. One always hears about stories, gags, and writers being used from Keaton films in Stooge shorts. Since I'm a Stooge/Columbia shorts fan and a Buster fan, I love seeing Buster in this environment, plus I think it's great Buster time with Columbia was the late thirties and early forties, just as the shorts department hit a big creative peak. So yeah, it's again enjoying these films for what they are versus what they're not.
PEST FROM THE WEST is a nice start to the Columbia series. It has a nice running gag, literally, of Buster running back and forth to his boat, which has a nice lack of communication between him and his sailors and an excuse for some physical comedy. Like Paul, I won't do a spoiler. Buster does seem to be in good energy here, sliding and gliding across the screen to see the girl he desires, and I gotta dig that subtle gag where he takes her long dress, puts the dress on the table and then puts his elbow on the dress to stop her and get her attention. Funny, physical comic bit.
The supporting cast in this one is fantastic, with Lorna Gray as the girl, plus Richard Fiske (I get a laugh the way he brags about being a bullfighter, the way he comically props himself up), Gino Corrado, and Bud Jamison. Lorna Gray is fantastic as usual, love the little eye rolls she does and the fact she blatantly plays a woman who juggles her men. The ending, which I won't give away, is classic Keaton wit and really displays this aspect to her character.
The scene where he serenades Lorna with a ukelele is the most famous bit in the short, and is fantastic in its timing. Keaton does an almost Edgar Kennedy slow burn, but he never totally boils over. Also, listen carefully to the soundtrack in that wonderful bit where Keaton and Gino Corrado take turns slamming the cellar door on each other. When Corrado falls in the basement, the yell dubbed over is none other than that of Curly Howard.
A really fun short. Yeah, this one's better than all the MGM talkies.