Brilliant editing makes this Buster's most cinematic short
During the first five minutes of this short, we see Buster assume over two dozen characters (including three pairs of audience members, conductor, six orchestra members, a stage technician and an astonishing nine minstrels all in a row.) He also manages to dance with himself on stage. The multiple exposures had to take place within the camera - accurately masking off sections of the film, then re-running it to expose parts while those already filmed are covered. Special effects had not come to the labs as yet. This brilliant knowledge of film and film editing shows why he is the greatest of all silent film comedians
he understood the craft and the art of film making.
The remainder of the film does not live up to those first five minutes. Buster pursues twins (actually the same girl-again making use of multiple exposures). There is a great impersonation of a monkey but other than that not much to amuse us. The pair of war veterans, each with one arm, clapping their remaining hands together when both liking something comes a cropper when one refuses to lend his hand to an act he doesn't care for. Other than these two inspired bits, the rest of the film is not inspired. It moves very fast and is amusing. Those first five minutes, though, and the edited screen sequence in SHERLOCK JR. are Keaton's greatest moments on film.
Kino's print is crisp and clear, using violin, piano, drum, flute accompaniment. A must-see.
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