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Buster Keaton Shorts (1920-1963)



Buster Keaton Shorts

Film / Silent / Comedy

Buster Keaton was an American comic actor and filmmaker. He was best known for his silent films , in which his trademark physical comedy was combined with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression. He ranks alongside Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd as one of the most popular and influential solo film comedians of the early film era. Keaton first appeared on stage in 1899 in Wilmington, Delaware, at the age of three, performing with his parents. Young Buster would goad his father during the act, and the elder Keaton would respond by throwing him against the scenery, or off the stage into the audience. This knockabout style of comedy led to accusations of child abuse. But the Keatons always showed the authorities that Buster had no bruises or broken bones. He was billed as "The Little Boy Who Can't Be Damaged”. Keaton had great fun performing and he would sometimes begin laughing even as his father threw him across the stage. The Keatons noticed that this drew fewer laughs from the audience, so Buster began to adopt his now famous deadpan. Keaton was recognized as the seventh-greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Keaton the 21st-greatest male actor of all time. No less an authority than Orson Welles stated, “Keaton's The General is the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.”


Neighbors

(1920)

18 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Romance / Silent

The Romeo and Juliet story played out in a tenement neighborhood with Buster and Virginia's families hating each other over the fence separating their buildings.


The Scarecrow

(1920)

19 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Romance / Silent

Farmhands Keaton and Roberts share a cottage full of mechanical devices for making life easy. They are rivals for the farmer's daughter. Keaton, disguised as a scarecrow, causes troubles for his rival and the farmer. When Keaton stoops to tie his shoe, the girl accepts what she thinks is his kneeling proposal.


One Week

(1920)

19 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

Buster and Sybil exit a chapel as newlyweds. Among the gifts is a portable house you easily put together in one week . It doesn't help that Buster's rival for Sybil switches the numbers on the crates containing the house parts.


The Boat

(1921)

25 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton and Sybil Seely

Film / Comedy / Silent

Buster's handmade boat, The Damfino, is finished and is, of course, too large to get through the basement door. When he drives off with it in tow, the side of his house, then the whole thing, collapses. At the harbor he rides the boat out only to have it sink beneath him.


The Haunted House

(1921)

19 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Horror / Silent

Buster enters a legendary haunted house to battle ghosts, the devil and a group of bank robbers.


The Playhouse

(1921)

22 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton

Film / Comedy / Silent

The opening scene, a dream sequence prior to the vaudeville routines which follow, is what makes this film famous. In it Keaton plays everyone in a theater simultaneously, through multiple exposures. He is the band leader, all its members, the dancers on the stage, and everyone in the audience.


The Goat

(1921)

27 minutes.

Directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

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


The High Sign

(1921)

21 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

Buster is thrown off a train near an amusement park. There he gets a job in a shooting gallery run by the Blinking Buzzards mob. Ordered to kill a businessman, he winds up protecting the man and his daughter by outfitting their home with trick devices.


The Electric House

(1922)

19 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

Botany major Buster mistakenly graduates in electrical engineering and is hired to wire a new home. He installs lots of fanciful gadgets. The one who should have received the degree gets even by rewiring all the gadgets to wreak havoc.


The Blacksmith

(1922)

25 minutes.

Directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

Buster Keaton shoes horses and repairs cars, with mixed results.


My Wife's Relations

(1922)

30 minutes.

Directed by Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

When a large Irish woman falsely accuses Buster of breaking a window he is hauled before a Polish judge who speaks no English and assumes they are there to be married. She takes her new husband home to meet her four gorilla-like brothers.


The Paleface

(1922)

20 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

Evil oil barons have given the Indians one day to vacate their land. The Indian chief tells his braves to kill the first white man they see. Buster shows up chasing a butterfly.


Cops

(1922)

18 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts

Film / Comedy / Silent

A series of mishaps manages to make a young man get chased by a big city's entire police force.


The Balloonatic

(1923)

22 minutes.

Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton and Phyllis Haver

Film / Comedy / Silent

Buster and Phyllis endure a number of outdoor adventures trying to prove to each other their survival skills. The balloon which lands Buster in the wilderness proves useful later on as their canoe is about go over a waterfall.


The Voice of Hollywood

(1930)

3 minutes

Comedy

Newsreel type short with vignettes of various Hollywood stars of the day.


The Devil to Pay

(1960)

27:21 minutes

Film / Comedy

Cast:  Buster Keaton

A short silent (with narration), parodying science fiction films .  The USA misfires a rocket which crash lands on Tartarus (or Hades), where Buster Keaton, as Diabolus, is enraged and seeks revenge.


The Home Owner

(1961)

Comedy

21:55 minutes

Cast:  Buster Keaton

Buster tours a new tract of homes with a salesman, buys a home, and causes all kinds of trouble when he moves in.


The Triumph of Lester Snapwell

(1963)

22 minutes.

Directed by James Calhoun

Cast: Buster Keaton, Sigrid Nelsson and Nina Varela

Film / Comedy / Made-For-TV

This Kodak promotional film was produced to tout the newly-released "Kodak 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. Keaton plays Lester Snapwell, who, in the late 1860's, tries to photograph his sweetheart, Clementine, and her mother. However, he has too much trouble with the bulky camera. Then he is accidentally 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.




Directors:
Actors: Buster Keaton, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John
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