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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Convict 13 (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by falsealarms on May 22, 2017, 08:56:52 PM »
I watched this for the first time today, after watching The High Sign and One Week. The High Sign was okay. One Week was pretty good. But Convict 13 was even better. The short's million miles a minute pacing was a huge plus, and the physical comedy was superb. At least on the version I watched, a lively and at times cartoon-like score just added to the experience. I rank it among the best Keaton shorts I've seen, which include the ones mentioned here plus his Columbia and Educational output. I saw those sound shorts years ago, but am just getting into his silent shorts now.

I can only hope the rest of his silent shorts match Convict 13.

Hamiltonbook.com has Kino's 3-disc Blu-Ray set of Keaton's 1920-1923 shorts for $7.95. It's loaded with quality extras, too. A no-brainer for me at that price. Kino's stuff is rarely discounted that much. That set has arguably been surpassed by a more recent one from Kino covering 1917-1923, but you're not getting that for $8 and the extras weren't carried over.

Convict 13 seems to have varying running times. The one linked here runs 24 minutes. The one on the 1920-1923 set runs 19. The one on the 1917-1923 set runs 21.
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If you can mentally supply stooge-type sound effects to the mayhem in this one, you might come to the same conclusion I did:  this is more violent than any stooge comedy ever.  The body count is at least as high as Grips, Grunts, and Groans.  Way back when on this site, someone was tallying up the hits in each stooge episode, and I bet that this one is at least a match, although I'm not myself going to do that math.  Also, I'm not complaining, you understand.  And is this the best available print?  I hope not.
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General Discussion / New Buster Keaton Documentary in the works
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on May 21, 2017, 10:40:02 AM »
Well, I figured since we were in the middle of our weekly Keaton discussions, I would share this news that I learned that Peter Bogdanovic, the director of films such as THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and PAPER MOON, is set to direct a new Buster Keaton documentary under producer Charles S. Cohen, who owns the rights to most of Keaton's films. Here's a link to the article for more information.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cannes-peter-bogdanovich-direct-buster-keaton-documentary-1005395
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Convict 13 (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on May 21, 2017, 10:31:26 AM »
I agree. This is a great short with physical comedy that could be better than ONE WEEK if it weren't for the plot holes. The ending does solve most of them, although the fact that the prisoner escaped before Keaton was knocked out is still a problem. In addition, the ending means that all we saw was for nothing. While it's still impressive that Keaton the actor could do these things, unfortunately, I wish it also technically could have been Keaton the character doing these things as well. I know that seems like a minor point that won't bother most people, but it does sort of bother me.

That one problem does not really ruin the short for me, though. It is still packed with laughs throughout. Keaton's attempts to escape from the police are very fun to watch and Keaton's failed attempts to adjust to prison life are interesting as well, such as when he attempts to break the rocks. We also see Joe Roberts playing the villain for the first time (something we will be seeing more of in the future) and he also does a very good job. Even the stuff before Keaton gets knocked out is really good. Keaton really takes the "play it as it lies" rule in golf to the next level when he hits the ball on the water.

It's still a very good short that I enjoy very much. This was very close to a 10, but I do think I'll mark it down one point for the problems with the plot.

9 out of 10
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Convict 13 (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Paul Pain on May 21, 2017, 04:59:32 AM »

http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/B02_Convict_13.html
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Convict_13_%281920%29.webm

Watch CONVICT 13 in the link above.

We have here a most difficult short.  The short is magnificent start to finish, but only in post-primary viewings.  The reasons are found in the many plot holes that only make sense once you understand the ending, but I can't rant about those.   But this was the first Keaton filmed I ever watched, and it got me hooked.

The physical comedy in this one surpasses ONE WEEK.  We have the medicine ball mace attack, a bungee cord noose, sledge hammers used Three Stooges style, and everything else in between.  I wonder if this served as inspiration for Curly's rage at the end of PUNCH DRUNKS?

The acting is fantastic as always.  And the hangman?  That's Buster's right hand man in directing and writing, Edward Cline.

Watch it once, and the plot holes are confusing.  Watch it twice, and it's a friend for life.

9/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Saphead (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on May 18, 2017, 09:29:10 PM »
Keaton's stories in and of themselves may not be as good as Chaplin and Lloyd, but he sure makes the best of what he's got.  Ironically, I feel story wise, his first MGM, THE CAMERAMAN, is his best.  Too bad the other MGM's didn't follow.

Pretty good summary of the of the three great silent clowns, though.

I agree entirely with what you said. Also, thanks.  :)
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Saphead (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by metaldams on May 18, 2017, 07:43:57 PM »
I've always felt that, between the three, Keaton was the best at comedy, Chaplin was the best at telling a story, and Lloyd was the best at combining the two elements. As a result, I've always felt that Chaplin and Lloyd were better off in features than they were in shorts. Not that their shorts were bad, but I've always found their features to be more interesting to watch. Keaton made some very good features, although this was more from his comedy and his stories usually were not as interesting as the other two.

Keaton's stories in and of themselves may not be as good as Chaplin and Lloyd, but he sure makes the best of what he's got.  Ironically, I feel story wise, his first MGM, THE CAMERAMAN, is his best.  Too bad the other MGM's didn't follow.

Pretty good summary of the of the three great silent clowns, though.
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General Discussion / Re: Ask Team Stooge **NEWBIES**
« Last post by Bill S. on May 18, 2017, 07:30:19 PM »
Can anybody provide some additional details about these two films in the database?

Screen Snapshots Series 13 # 5
Screen Snapshots Series 22 # 8

The first one lists Chico Marx as a cast member, and the second lists the Marx Brothers and the Ritz Brothers as well as the Stooges. This seems pretty notable. Is it known if they're in any scenes with the other brothers?
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Saphead (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on May 17, 2017, 08:14:21 PM »
I've always felt that, between the three, Keaton was the best at comedy, Chaplin was the best at telling a story, and Lloyd was the best at combining the two elements. As a result, I've always felt that Chaplin and Lloyd were better off in features than they were in shorts. Not that their shorts were bad, but I've always found their features to be more interesting to watch. Keaton made some very good features, although this was more from his comedy and his stories usually were not as interesting as the other two.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Saphead (1920) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by metaldams on May 17, 2017, 07:08:38 PM »
I haven't yet.  It's a life goal to at least try them, though I have never liked any snippets of Chaplin that I have watched.

Chaplin's very early stuff, while ahead of its time, isn't a great place to start as they're primitive shorts compared to Keaton (five years make a Hell of a difference in the silent era).  I first saw Chaplin with some 1915 shorts and was not initially impressed.  I did not become a fan until I saw City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936).  I then grew into the earlier stuff.  Most of the Chaplin stuff on YouTube, I imagine, is early shorts, so if you're looking on YouTube, I'd suggest making sure you're watching a Mutual or First National era film.  If you can get a hold of any feature, do. 

Lloyd is awesome too.  Basically any two or three reeler from the early twenties, which I imagine are on YouTube, are great to start with.
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