Elmer Doolittle,a hired hand on a farm,encounters some complications in his romancing and believes he will have to marry the farm-owner aunt of Molly, the pretty girl he loves. Further ... See full summary »
Elmer owns a gas station out in the California desert. Soon he has a business rival in Jim, who opens up another station, and is also trying to steal Elmer's girlfriend. She plays both ... See full summary »
On the face of it a hillbilly comedy featuring a comic icon sounds like the nadir of the bottom rung for all concerned but that comes nowhere near describing the delightful PALOOKA FROM PADUCAH. Buster Keaton's third short for Educational is a major change of pace from what one thinks of as a Keaton comedy until the absurdest humor of it all comes rolling home. Everyone speaks in a parody of a country dialect while Buster and his Pa sport the most ridiculous fake beards similar to the makeshift version Buster slaps together backstage in SPITE MARRIAGE (1929). Keaton gives the production an extra twist by casting his entire real life Keaton clan in it. (Well...all except brother Harry. I guess he didn't like to work much). The former vaudeville performers fit right in with the storyline. They look like an Al Capp drawing come to life.
This unbridled, fast pace short mixes slapstick with off-the-wall gags such as Buster's attempts to teach his behemoth of a brother how to wrestle to the nightly sleeping arrangements of the family The best of Keaton's film work tends to have a biographical feel to it and this short is no exception; the dinner scene evokes memories of the on-stage horseplay of the Three Keatons while Louise proves she can be just as deadpan as her brother when an errant stick of dynamite goes off causing her to appear out of nowhere and then scatter like the wind.
As many have noted before the presence of his family seems to energize Busters' performance but I contend that he was getting comfortable in the production schedules of these shorts and was in the throes of creating a string of top grade comedies - of which this is one of them.
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