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The Triumph of Lester Snapwell (1963)

 -  Short | Comedy
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 52 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

A low budget industrial film shot for the Eastman Kodak company in 1963, The Triumph Of Lester Snapwell is a mildly funny film that shows all the troubles of a man named Lester Snapwell (... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Lester Snapwell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sigrid Nelsson ...
Nina Varela ...
Clementine's Mother


A low budget industrial film shot for the Eastman Kodak company in 1963, The Triumph Of Lester Snapwell is a mildly funny film that shows all the troubles of a man named Lester Snapwell (Keaton), who, in the late 1860's, tries to photograph his sweetheart, Clementine, (Nelsson) and her mother (Varela). However, he has too much trouble with the bulky camera. Then he is accidently killed and father time transports him forward in time. In each successive period he struggles with the photographic technology of the day. Then he arrives in the 1960's were the new "Kodak Instamatic" camera puts all his troubles to rest. Written by Jonathan McDevitt

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Short | Comedy





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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Notable in that they didn't use a hand double for close-ups despite Buster Keaton's missing right index fingertip. See more »

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User Reviews

Latter-Day Buster
29 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

I find myself laughing harder at Buster-in-decline than at the youthful genius of the Silent Era. Even as I laugh out loud at him, I'm in awe that this artiste of the pratfall had not lost his touch through the decades.

TRIUMPH OF LESTER SNAPWELL is certainly not in league with the Classic Buster of the 20's. But while the production values are minimal, you'll still come away deeply impressed by the the man's adroitness. His physical humor is fully intact and perfectly timed. You'll find yourself rewinding the tape to scrutinize how the hell he set up his gimmicks so seamlessly. (Case in point: Buster "inadvertently" closes the back of a camera on his tie, so that it's left hanging from his tie. It takes a very dexterous fellow to make clumsiness look so flawless.)

This Kodak promotional film was produced to tout the newly-released "Instamatic" which featured an easy-to-load film cartridge. So naturally they wanted to show the pitfalls of all the earlier awkward technologies. Enter Buster, who demonstrates through the ages how the photographic arts have progressed over the last 100 years.

By the way, this 20-some minute short was available on a video titled "The Lost Films of Buster Keaton" (available from Grapevine Video, Phoenix AZ). Also on the tape were two other shorts --

"Ford Van Commercial" where Buster loads up an Econoline with everything including the kitchen sink. And a lion to boot.

And "The Home Owner". This was a creative promotional for a 1950s-era prefab housing community. Buster is sold on the strength of the pretty neighbor as much as the quality of homes. And once again, I found myself hitting the rewind button over and over to admire the artistry of his surprising stunts. This guy was pushing 70 and still performing miraculous pratfalls. (I was especially jazzed by a spill into a swimming pool. He was pushing a shopping cart, got distracted by a pretty lass, the cart went into the deep end and pulled him along after it ... Buster did an amazing flip in the air to sail far PAST the cart, halfway across the pool.)

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