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|Additional Physical Format:||Online version:
Keaton's silent shorts.
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1996
|Named Person:||Buster Keaton; Buster Keaton|
|Material Type:||Government publication, State or province government publication|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
|ISBN:||0809319519 9780809319510 0809319527 9780809319527 9780809330027 0809330024|
|Description:||396 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.|
|Contents:||Ch. 1. Introduction --
Ch. 2. One Week (September 1920) --
Ch. 3. Convict 13 (October 1920) --
Ch. 4. The Scarecrow (December 1920) --
Ch. 5. Neighbors (January 1921) --
Ch. 6. The Haunted House (February 1921) --
Ch. 7. Hard Luck (March 1921) --
Ch. 8. The High Sign (April 1921) --
Ch. 9. The Goat (May 1921) --
Ch. 10. The Playhouse (January 1922) --
Ch. 11. The Boat (November 1921) --
Ch. 12. The Paleface (January 1922) --
Ch. 13. Cops (March 1922) --
Ch. 14. My Wife's Relations (May 1922) --
Ch. 15. The Blacksmith (July 1922) --
Ch. 16. The Frozen North (August 1922) --
Ch. 17. Daydreams (September 1922) --
Ch. 18. The Electric House (October 1922) --
Ch. 19. The Balloonatic (January 1923)
Hardly a neglected artist, Keaton attracts biographers and film scholars capable of incisive comment on his work. He continues to draw the serious attention of both popular writers and scholars because as a comic genius and major comedy filmmaker during the silent age he rivals Charlie Chaplin. Yet writers have focused on the full-length films from 1923 to 1928, when Keaton joined MGM, lost his creative freedom, and began a glide toward oblivion that lasted until his rediscovery in the late 1950s. Filling a major gap in the critical canon, Gabriella Oldham's study chronicles the rapid growth in the filmmaker's understanding of what makes both comedy and film successful.
Keaton developed his major themes in these nineteen short films: his persona "Buster" vs. Rival, Nature, Machine, Self, and Fate; his resilient pursuit of love and the efforts he makes to overcome any curves thrown by Fate; and his trademark "stone face" blocking any display of the passionate emotion he feels about everything he does. These short films clearly indicate Keaton's love of the camera and his concern for composition, symmetry, and images that delight the eye and startle the mind.
Oldham reconstructs each of these rarely seen films in such a way as to enable the reader to "watch" Keaton's performance, devoting a separate chapter to each. She analyzes each film's strengths, weaknesses, and prevalent themes and threads. She also enables readers to plumb the depths of what seems to be surface comedy through philosophical, biographical, historical, and critical commentary, thus linking the shorts together into a cohesive study of Keaton's growth through his three-year independent venture as a filmmaker.