What A REALLY special on-the-road-type documentary!
I love many of the documentaries I've seen over the years from NFB (National Film Board - Canada, for those who don't know).
This one isn't 'about' legendary comedian Buster Keaton, instead, it's a working across the nation (via a train) with Mr Keaton and a crew who were writing with him to film several television promotional pieces.
As we journey, Mr Keaton is tasked with making these bite-sized films - things which are in their modern sense are adverts, but, when he started his career, a silent film could be any length, but the big thing was, as there's no dialogue, you had to be able to grab a viewer's attention - and quickly, and Mr Keaton (aka the 'great stone face, noted for his blank expression as chaos ensured around him.
Though I wasn't around during this time, my father (who wasn't, either) - who loved these films, shared many of them with me when I was little, and I love them.
We get to watch Buster and his crew work out what are simple, yet brilliant simple visual 'stories' some quite dangerous (Mr Keaton is well-known for- amongst other things - standing as the framing from A HOUSE FELL around him (he survived, having worked out where he should be; where the window would go).
Today, no studio would allow their talent to partake in the things Buster did - and DOES. They'd have an understudy - and now, digital (ugh) effects.
This is ALL real, and the fact that Buster - who'd die within less than a year after this (as a reformed smoker, watching Mr Keaton with his ever-present cigarette holder, smoking one after another of lung cancer, I think THAT was truly 'scary' for me), and it's doing all of these gags (in one, he's in a teeny-tiny little hands car HIGH atop a bridge - with NO safety anything. Truly nuts, but all Buster Keaton, and as someone who never got into video games, this film, and those moments are a million times more adrenaline pumping than anything one can play today.
Watch it, learn and be amazed by a true master of mayhem. You'll love it.
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