Starting in 1913 movie director Connors discovers singer Molly Adair. As she becomes a star she marries an actor, so Connors fires them. She asks for him as director of her next film. Many silent stars shown making the transition to sound.
Star-packed promotional short subject intended to raise funds for the National Variety Artists tuberculosis sanatorium, produced in association with a cigarette company! Plot involves the ... See full summary »
Buster Keaton's most commercially successful film to date - to his chagrin, since he made it under protest at MGM's insistence and felt that the studio would feel justified in ignoring his artistic opinions in the future. See more »
Lefty's pistol, a six shot, is fired twice before Harmon tosses the remaining cartridges into the fireplace. Five bullets subsequently explode in the fire. See more »
Nobody would remember or watch this if not for Buster
The directors of this film, Jules White and Zion Myers, were the directors of the successful Dogville Comedies at MGM. They were rewarded by being given a feature film to direct, that film being Buster Keaton in Sidewalks of New York. I'm sure Keaton was insulted being considered one step above canine stars at MGM, by reading his biography I know he was angry at the autocratic ways of Jules White who was used to directing four-footed stars and thus went about telling Buster how to be Buster. On top of that, their ideas of comedy just did not mesh. Jules White liked mayhem as comedy. This served him well at Columbia with the Three Stooges, but not here with Buster.
The story revolves around wealthy Homer Van Dine Harmon (Keaton) who has sent his assistant (Cliff Edwards) out to collect the rent at the tenements he owns. Edwards is sent home without the rent money and shoe prints on his face. Homer returns to the East Side with Edwards in tow to get the rents himself and winds up in the middle of a neighborhood fight between the kids on the street. At the same time he meets the older sister of one of the tougher kids, Margie (Anita Page), and falls in love at first sight. Margie's brother Clipper is on the verge of getting into serious trouble with the law by hanging around with hoodlum Butch. Homer decides - partly out of real concern for the kids, partly out of pining for Margie - to build a gym where the kids can play safely and get off of the streets and away from bad influences like Butch. Needless to say Butch is unhappy about this development and decides to get rid of the meddlesome Homer when he instructs Clipper to turn what is supposed to be a harmless play into an opportunity for a fatal accident. Will Clipper go through with it? Will Homer get the girl? Watch and find out.
There is one part of this film that is genuinely funny and inspired, and that is when the shy Homer is trying to figure out how to propose to Margie. He follows Cliff Edwards into a record store and Edwards has Homer use the titles of popular songs as the material for his proposal and record the whole thing. This seems to be working out quite well until Homer hits the last song title Cliff holds up, at which time he makes a comment that doesn't quite fit the rest of the recording and is certainly no way to conclude a proposal. This gag was good enough that Buster refurbished it years later when he was a gag writer on "Neptune's Daughter" and he used it in a scene between Red Skelton and Betty Garrett.
This film was a real disappointment to me overall. The gags largely consist of chases, food fights, and prolonged routines that have no sense of timing and just get tiresome. If not for the fact that this film is part of Buster Keaton's filmography I'd say avoid it entirely and find something more worthwhile to do with 74 minutes of your life. Since it is Keaton, it's probably worth one viewing just to say you've seen it.
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