A series about the life, career and works of the movie comedy genius.
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1  
1989   1987  
Won 3 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Unknown Chaplin (TV Mini-Series 1983)
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Using in part rare out-take footage, the film-making methods and techniques of Charles Chaplin are explored.

Stars: James Mason, Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff, Virginia Cherrill
Short | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After waking up from his wacky dream, a theater stage hand inadvertently causes havoc everywhere he works.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Monte Collins
Hollywood (TV Mini-Series 1980)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  

The definitive documentary about the American silent film industry.

Stars: James Mason, Viola Dana, Byron Haskin
Comedy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family.

Directors: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Keaton
Hard Luck (1921)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Strange things ensue after a young man attempts to take his own life.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
The Goat (1921)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A series of adventures begins when an accident during photographing causes Buster to be mistaken for Dead Shot Dan, the evil badguy.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Malcolm St. Clair
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A drifter at an amusement park finds himself both the bodyguard and hit man of a man targeted by a criminal gang.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Bartine Burkett, Charles Dorety
Neighbors (1920)
Short | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young couple who live next to each other in tenement apartments do everything they can to be together despite of their feuding families.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
The Paleface (1922)
Short | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Buster helps a Native American tribe save their land from greedy oil barons.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A bank clerk ends up in a seemingly haunted house that is actually a thieves' hideout.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend's father's pocketwatch.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton
Convict 13 (1920)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Narrator (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Charles Lamont ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
William R. Cox ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Loyal T. Lucas ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Eleanor Keaton ...
 Herself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Harvey Parry ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Raymond Rohauer ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
John Wilson ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Keith Fennell ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
William Ernshaw ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Grace Matteson ...
 Herself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Ronald Gilstrap ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Harold Terry ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Andy Nealis ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Albert S. Rogell ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Anthony Simmons ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
John Montgomery ...
 Himself - Journalist (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Edward Bernds ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Jerome Medrano ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Billy Beck ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Len 'Spider' Austin ...
 Himself - Clown (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Gerald Potterton ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
John Gillett ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
Mick Dillon ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1987-1989)
...
 Himself (2 episodes, 1987-1989)
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Storyline

In this series, we follow the life of the legendary movie comedy giant from his childhood on the stage to his film career. Along the way, we learn of the works of this genius and his methods in creating them. Furthermore, we see how events drove him to ruin and how they turned around in his later years to allow him to enjoy the acclaim that was his due. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1987 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Buster Keaton - Sein Leben, sein Werk  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(3 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Features The Invader (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Buster's Rise, Fall, and Rise
20 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After Hollywood, and THE UNKNOWN CHAPLIN, Kevin Brownlow and David Gill did this documentary on Buster Keaton, and how he developed as the leading rival of Charlie Chaplin as number one comic of the Silent Period (Harold Lloyd is number three, and then - supposedly - Harry Langdon, Raymond Griffith, and Laurel and Hardy). Keaton had begun with his parents in a lively, knockabout vaudeville act (literally his father threw him about the stage). When he entered movies it was with Fatty Arbuckle's company, and as Arbuckle's friend and admirer. Unlike most silent performers, Keaton was interested about how movies were made, and actually took apart a camera to study it's workings. He learned to build jokes into his films to develop character. And he never lost his fascination with the power of what films could do. Look at a film like SHERLOCK JR., where he carefully spends time using cutting to make a series of improbable events occur on screen (such as jumping through the chest of a man standing in front of a wall). Chaplin plucks at the heartstrings, Lloyd takes ordinariness and perks it up with dangers, but Keaton is concerned on how man is at the mercy of nature and science. In one long sequence joke in OUR HOSPITALITY, Keaton is being chased to a waterfall set of cliffs. He ties himself to a rope hoping to climb up. An enemy finds the rope and ties it to himself, planning to surprise Keaton when he climbs up. Keaton sees this and yanks on the rope causing his enemy to fall off the top of the cliff into the waterfall, but as the body of the man fall down in the background, Keaton realizes the rope is still tied securely to his own body. Looking stoically into the camera and waiting, a moment later we see Keaton pulled off the screen by the falling body of his enemy. He can fight human enemies, but not the law of gravity.

Keaton did well until 1928, but then family and health problems hit him, especially his growing alcoholism. Stripped of his dignity by a studio boss (Louis B. Mayer) who had no time for has-beens, he became a gag writer. But he still occasionally made films in the sound period. The film shows how Keaton's rise occurred in the 1950s, spurred on by the rediscovery of many of his films. It is a remarkable story of a gifted genius who lived long enough to know he was not a drunken failure but universally admired.


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