Portraying more than twenty characters at once--including lively stage actors, an attentive audience, an orchestra, and an entire nine-member minstrel act--Buster Keaton pushes the boundaries of technical artistry and film trickery, in a time when effects really were special. With this in mind--after waking up from a delightful vaudeville dream sequence--Buster realises that he still is the play house's humble general factotum, and he must keep the show up and running amid delusion and disorder, identical twin sisters, Zouave guards, and a rampant orangutan on the loose. But, can a mere gopher yearn for recognition, and perhaps, love?Written by
In this short Buster Keaton took credit for every part and job, including editor, director, writer, cameraman etc. This was an allusion to Thomas H. Ince's (the "inventor" of the Western) reputation for doing this. See more »
Sometimes the background is visible through the elbow of Male Audience Member Buster, revealing the double-exposure technique used to film two Buster Keatons sitting side by side. See more »
You can expect a lively night when the Buster Keaton Minstrels entertain at THE PLAYHOUSE.
This hilarious little film is a tour de force for Keaton, who is often devastatingly funny. The amount of obvious effort that went in to making the special effects work is also impressive. Highlights: the opening minutes, with Buster playing absolutely everyone in the theater, from an old lady to a little boy, and, a little further on, Buster's peerless impersonation of a chimpanzee.
Born into a family of Vaudevillian acrobats, Buster Keaton (1895-1966) mastered physical comedy at a very early age. An association with Fatty Arbuckle led to a series of highly imaginative short subjects and classic, silent feature-length films - all from 1920 to 1928. Writer, director, star & stuntman - Buster could do it all and his intuitive genius gave him almost miraculous knowledge as to the intricacies of film making and of what it took to please an audience. More akin to Fairbanks than Chaplin, Buster's films were full of splendid adventure, exciting derring-do and the most dangerous physical stunts imaginable. His theme of a little man against the world, who triumphs through bravery & ingenuity, dominates his films. Through every calamity & disaster, Buster remained the Great Stone Face, a stoic survivor in a universe gone mad.
In the late 1920's Buster was betrayed by his manager/brother-in-law and his contract was sold to MGM, which proceeded to nearly destroy his career. Teamed initially with Jimmy Durante and eventually allowed small roles in mediocre comedies, Buster was for 35 years consistently given work far beneath his talent. Finally, before lung cancer took him at age 70, he had the satisfaction of knowing that his classic films were being rediscovered. Now, well past his centenary, Buster Keaton is routinely recognized & appreciated as one of cinema's true authentic geniuses. And he knew how to make people laugh...
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