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College (1927)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Sport | November 1927 (USA)
To reconcile with his girlfriend, a bookish college student tries to become an athlete.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(story), (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Girl
Flora Bramley ...
Her Friend
...
A Rival
Snitz Edwards ...
The Dean
Carl Harbaugh ...
Sam Crawford ...
...
A Mother
...
A Son
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Storyline

Ronald's high school valedictory address praises books and condemns sports. His girlfriend Mary condemns his attitude. He fears losing her to rival Jeff, decides to go to college and pay more attention to sports. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

HEY! HEY! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buster Keaton, der Student  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The boat for which Buster Keaton is coxswain is called Damfino, the same name as the eponymous boat in his short movie The Boat (1921). See more »

Connections

Featured in Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Entertainer
written by Scott Joplin
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User Reviews

Wild World of Sports
19 July 2003 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

COLLEGE (United Artists, 1927), directed by James W. Horne, is something of a sort-after silent classic inspired by Harold Lloyd's more successful college comedy, THE FRESHMAN (1925), starring Buster Keaton demonstrating on how to fail as an athlete without really trying.

The story opens one rainy afternoon with Ronald (Buster Keaton), carrying his umbrella, walking along side with his mother (Florence Turner) to attend his high school graduation ceremony along with his other classmates: Mary Haines (Anne Cornwall), the girl he loves, and Jeff Brown (Harold Goodwin), his rival for Mary's affection and star athlete who is finally graduating after seven years. Ronald, the school's "most brilliant scholar," receives his diploma, and is asked by the members of the faculty to speak on the "Curse of Athletics," which he does. After degrading sports by saying "The student who wastes his time on athletics rather than study, shows ignorance" and "Where would I be without my books," wins approval with the teachers but not with his classmates, especially Mary, who finds his speech ridiculous. Because Ronald loves Mary, he finds he might now really lose her to Jeff (Harold Goodwin). As Mary and Jeff register at Clayton College, Ronald decides to enroll there also, and with no financial support from his mother, he decides to work his way through college where he intends to win back Mary's affection by becoming an athlete himself.

In true Keaton fashion, he tries out in all sports imaginable, ranging from baseball, track and field events, shot-put and finally as a coxswain on a varsity crew team in an important race, and flunks. Even while working as a soda jerk and as a waiter, he fails at that, too. But after he learns that his girl is in trouble does he pull out all stops in making himself a success without realizing how good he actually is.

COLLEGE may not be as well known as Buster Keaton's other silent film comedies, including two of which come to mind, SHERLOCK Jr. (1924) and, of course his masterpiece, THE GENERAL (1926), but it's a simple-minded story set against a college backdrop that features plenty of sight gags and sports activity to make this one enjoyable, especially to any avid sports fan.

The supporting players include: Snitz Edwards as the college dean; Grant Withers, Sam Crawford, Buddy Mason and Flora Bramley. While these names are not particularly well-known, it's the Buster Keaton name heading the cast that has generated interest in this comedy, then and now.

COLLEGE was one of the twelve selected films to appear during the summer months on public television's 1975 weekly presentation of "The Silent Years" as hosted by Lillian Gish, with a piano score and color tints from the Paul Killiam collection. Before the airing of the feature-length silent comedy, Gish would talk a little about Keaton's career and how he became known as "Buster,", present a 20-minute comedy short, ONE WEEK (1920), and then ask for the viewers awaiting to see COLLEGE to not be offended with one particular scene where Keaton's character of Harold is working in a restaurant disguised as a "colored" waiter. This plea would still reflect upon viewers of today.

COLLEGE, which is available on video cassette and DVD, can be seen in various ways, depending on the distributor, especially with its time length. Blackhawk Video's version accompanied with the same piano score that was used in "The Silent Years," runs at 60 minutes; while Video Yesteryear's accu-speed version with organ score runs close to 100 minutes. A more recent and recommended (1992) restored version with clearer picture and a fine new organ score by John Muri, running at 65 minutes, was the one formerly shown on cable television's American Movie Classics (1997-2001), and later on Silent Sunday Nights on Turner Classic Movies.

In spite of a handful of college-sports films produced during this period, it's interesting to point out that such legends of screen comedy as Charlie Chaplin and/or WC Fields have never attempted this. Future film comedians as Lou Costello and Jerry Lewis have done such, and probably were inspired by the likes of Lloyd or Keaton. However, COLLEGE is minor but enjoyable Keaton at best that would be a fine addition to any film buff's video or DVD library. (***)

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