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An unimpressive but well intending man is given the chance to marry a popular actress, of whom he has been a hopeless fan. But what he doesn't realize is that he is being used to make the actress' old flame jealous.
Yes, he does. We get to hear him put on his Irish accent too.
John Spotton and his crew from the NFB were there in 1964 as Gerald Potterton and his own NFB crew were filming Buster Keaton in his title role as "The Railrodder".
He see Keaton and Potterton as they conceive gags familiar to many Canadians -- of my generation, certainly -- from that funny colour short and wonderful Canadian travelogue. The latter was perhaps the real reason we were shown "The Railrodder" as Wolf Cubs, by our Akela at a pack gathering of the early '70's, if memory serves. (As a little boy, I consequently thought Keaton was Canadian.)
Probably the most valuable point about this documentary is that we see Keaton's actual uncredited role in the making of the Potterton film, as writer, director, and even producer. It was probably natural given his seniority and cinematic experience, and we get to see it, a little bit anyway, as it really happened. Keaton, in general, comes across as a wise old man of the movies, anecdote-filled and a little puckish. Keaton, in "The General", comes across as hilarious, and this film includes some extended sequences from that 1927 gem.
As a point of interest, John Spotton as a name is most familiar around these parts these days as the John Spotton Theatre, the cinema located in the National Film Board building downtown at the corner of John and Richmond. (Stop by the next time you're in Toronto -- that neighbourhood is on the tourist itinerary.)
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