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After becoming infatuated with a pretty office worker for MGM Newsreels, Buster trades in his tintype operation for a movie camera and sets out to impress the girl (and MGM) with his work. Written by
Closing film of the 17th San Francisco Silent Film Festival in July 2012. See more »
Right before the last time the glass in the door is broken (when the wind shuts it abruptly), it is possible to see that it's already cracked to ensure that it will break when the door slams. See more »
[advice to the aspiring cameraman]
You must always grind forward... never backward.
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THE CAMERAMAN is Keaton's last true silent (SPITE MARRIAGE was without dialogue, but was a "sound" film). Feared lost until a print was discovered in Paris in 1968 and finally made available on video in 1991 when an incomplete master positive was found and merged with the inferior 1968 print, this is very close to Keaton's original "conception" process when creating a feature film. He meets the unattainable girl and then tries to win her. She is uncertain but eventually chooses Buster.
A delightful new piano score accompanies the MGM/UA VHS of this work- sadly now out of print. There are five main characters. There are a number of memorable gags:
1. Breaking the MGM newsreel office door glass times three; 2. Solo on the empty ball field; 3. Running down multi flights of stairs to basement and up to roof; 4. The ride on the tire hub of the E37st bus; 5. Sharing the pool dressing room; 6. Diving and loosing his bathing togs; 7. Riding in the jump seat in the rain; 8. The collapse of the platform during the Tong War.
A delight in the last half of the film is the adorable monkey who interacts so well with Buster and in the course of the plot, saves the day by cranking Buster's camera.
It's a delightful film and full of invention. Very worth seeing.
The master positive used as the basis for the VHS release was missing the entire first reel, plus eleven "bits" ranging from whole sequences (the ball field, for instance) to simple three second reaction shots. When the stock suddenly changes from crystal sharp and clear to washed out and grainy, it makes the single strongest statement for film preservation and makes it "silently."
Don't miss this one!
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