Buster bids goodbye to Virginia and all women, sailing away in his "Cupid." Later, without food or water, he is taken on board "The Love Nest" which has a very mean captain. A crewman who spills coffee on the captain's hand is thrown overboard. So is anyone else who bothers the captain.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The great Buster Keaton's short films may have been inconsistent in quality, though certainly through no fault of his. There are some wonderful ones, such as 'The Scarecrow' and 'The Goat'. A few though disappointed, such as 'The Frozen North' and 'The Balloonatic', yet were still watchable (it takes a lot for me to consider any of Keaton's work unwatchable). What they have in common as the main reason to see them is Keaton himself, wholly deserving of his comedy genius reputation.
Keaton did though do a lot better than 'The Love Nest', not just short films but also his overall filmography. It is definitely worth seeing, has great things and Keaton himself doesn't disappoint, but for me the material, amusing but not his most inspired, and storytelling were flawed. If to rank his short films from best to worst, for me 'The Love Nest' is towards the bottom. Just to reiterate, it is far from terrible, actually did like it, just didn't love it.
A lot of good things can be seen here in 'The Love Nest'. Other Keaton short films may be more polished visually, with more refined editing, but the more surrealistic imagery is quite eerie and there is a lot of atmosphere in the stark photography. There is plenty of charm here, without being sappy, and enough amuses. Joe Roberts is a formidable nemesis.
What makes 'The Love Nest' worth seeing are two things. One is Keaton, who has great comic timing as ever, is daringly athletic and nobody before, during or since did deadpan more expressvely than him. When it comes to standout scenes, the highlight is the pretty ingenious, very funny and thrillingly staged climax.
So it was something of a shame that other aspects of 'The Love Nest' weren't as inspired. The story here is pretty weak, it takes a while to gain momentum, with the first third feeling over-stretched, and much of it feels rather thin and incomplete. It did feel like more was filmed but left out for time constraints, which would account for why structurally it felt slightly choppy at times.
Despite enough of 'The Love Nest' being amusing, not much is hilarious or particularly inventive. While the climax is brilliant, the very end is less so and felt almost like an abrupt easy way out. May be a little biased as it is a type of ending that has always come off as too much of a cheat and indicative of not knowing how to end it.
Overall, above average and worthwhile but generally not exceptional. 6/10
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