The most important family in Hickoryville is (naturally enough) the Hickorys, with sheriff Jim and his tough manly sons Leo and Olin. The timid youngest son, Harold, doesn't have the ... See full summary »
Hazel Flagg of Warsaw, Vermont receives the news that her terminal case of radium poisoning from a workplace incident was a complete misdiagnosis with mixed emotions. She is happy not to be... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Lonely in his English country estate, Sir Basil decides to gather his grown (albeit illegitimate) children around him in his declining years. He uses a ledger which keeps track of the ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
C. Aubrey Smith
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
This film was used for many years by MGM as an example of a perfect comedy. The studio would get all its directors and producers to watch it and learn. Only two scenes were improvised on the spot by Buster Keaton: one was the baseball scene, and the other is the piggybank scene. 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 »
Edward J. Blake:
[after screening Luke Shannon's lost newsreel footage]
That's the best camera work I've seen in years! Get that man in here quick!
See more »
A Fine Comedy That Gets Better & Better As It Moves Along
This is a fine comedy, nearly as good as some of the earlier masterpieces that Keaton had made on his own. It starts off rather slowly, but gets better and better as it moves along, leading up to a great finish that is fully worthy of Keaton's genius.
The setup, with Buster as a cameraman who desperately yearns to break into the newsreel business, lends itself well to visual gags and also provides Buster with the kind of hard-luck character which he always portrayed so convincingly and humorously. The early parts do move slowly at times, aside from a few good gags - but Keaton apparently once said that there was some good material in the original film that has not survived because the negatives deteriorated (this seems likely, because there are some noticeable blemishes even in what is left in the prints on the current video version). Even so, it picks up steam and gets steadily funnier as the situation and Keaton's character are developed.
And it all leads up to a typically great Keaton finale, a wonderful blend of humor, excitement, drama, and fun visuals. It's fully as satisfying as the finishes in his best films, and any Keaton fan should find it thoroughly enjoyable.
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