Buster Keaton - Biography - IMDb
Buster Keaton, Actor: The General. Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were. According to IMDB, Keaton and Chaplin were rivals at first, but consolidated their relationship when Keaton's career declined: He and Buster. Keaton himself verified the origin of his nickname "Buster", given to him by Houdini, . After spending time in hospitals to attempt and treat his alcoholism, he met.
Mary Pickford, the superstar of silent films, said that, in the best of them, the silence looks like an artistic choice, not a technical limitation. In terms of comedy, silence offers a lot of advantages. For one thing, the laughter can build and build because the audience is not held up by dialogue. With a Marx brothers film, Groucho's verbal gags come so fast that the audience has to choose between missing the lines or stifling their laughter.
With a Keaton or a Chaplin film, the laughs build to the climax, and it's all part of the experience.
You also remember visual gags in a way that you don't remember verbal jokes. Once you've seen the moment in Easy Street where Charlie Chaplin pulls the gas lamp down over the bully's head and turns on the gas to anaesthetise him, you never forget it.
But rarely do you remember the dialogue from a Bob Hope film or a modern comedy. The great silent comedians had a facility for inventing the kind of visual gags that assume that the audience is intelligent. Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and, in his prime, Buster Keatonwere making films on their own terms. They didn't have to please producers. And they were fanatical perfectionists.
They would preview films and then go back and recut them and repeat the process till the timing of every gag was perfect. Most people think of silent films in terms of scratchy old prints, run too fast on small screens - which is like knowing the Mona Lisa only from a poor photocopy.
There is a lot of satisfaction in introducing people to silent film as they should be seen - on the big screen, projected at the right speed, with an audience and live music. In these circumstances, there is a real sense of occasion, from the moment the musicians take their places.
The musicians are an integral part of the show. A good musician can make an indifferent film seem good and a great film even better.
It is live and immediate - and it prevents the films from being museum pieces. Why, I never tried to make anybody cry in my life!
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And I go 'round all the time dolled up in kippie clothes--wear everything but a corset. Just imagine having to play-act all the time without ever getting hit with anything! My God, we ate, slept and dreamed our pictures.
Is Hollywood the cruelest city in the world? Well, it can be. New York can be like that, too. You can be a Broadway star here one night, and something happens, and then you're out--nobody knows you on the street. They forget you ever lived.
It happens in Hollywood, too. The first thing I did in the studio was to want to tear that camera to pieces. I had to know how that film got into the cutting room, what you did to it in there, how you projected it, how you finally got the picture together, how you made things match. The technical part of pictures is what interested me. Material was the last thing in the world I thought about. You only had to turn me loose on the set and I'd have material in two minutes, because I'd been doing it all my life.
- Archive: Buster Keaton obituary - 'something of a genius'
They say pantomime's a lost art. It's never been a lost art and never will be, because it's too natural to do. The minute you started a picture with the Marx Brothers you hired three assistant directors, one for each Marx brother.
You had two of 'em while you went to look for the third one and the first two would disappear. Think slow, act fast. Silence is of the gods; only monkeys chatter. Lovable as he was, he would steal if he got the chance.
silent movie - Was Buster Keaton really Charlie Chaplin's rival? - Movies & TV Stack Exchange
My little fellow was a working man and honest. All my life, I have been happiest when the folks watching me said to each other, "Look at the poor dope, will ya?
Not long ago, a friend asked me what was the greatest pleasure I got from spending my whole life as an actor. There have been so many that I had to think about that for a moment. Then I said, "Like everyone else, I like to be with a happy crowd. Dumb show is best for screen people, if they must appear in public.
I've had few dull moments [in my life] and not too many sad and defeated ones. In saying this, I am by no means overlooking the rough and rocky years I've lived through.
During the railroad water-tank scene in Sherlock Jr. A scene from Steamboat Bill, Jr. Then, the facade of a two-story building toppled forward on top of Keaton. Keaton's character emerged unscathed, due to a single open window. The stunt required precision, because the prop house weighed two tons, and the window only offered a few inches of clearance around Keaton's body. The sequence furnished one of the most memorable images of his career.
John in Aside from Steamboat Bill, Jr. The General, set during the American Civil Warcombined physical comedy with Keaton's love of trains, including an epic locomotive chase. Employing picturesque locations, the film's storyline reenacted an actual wartime incident. Though it would come to be regarded as Keaton's greatest achievement, the film received mixed reviews at the time.
Buster Keaton - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times
It was too dramatic for some filmgoers expecting a lightweight comedy, and reviewers questioned Keaton's judgment in making a comedic film about the Civil War, even while noting it had a "few laughs. His distributor, United Artistsinsisted on a production manager who monitored expenses and interfered with certain story elements.
Keaton endured this treatment for two more feature films, and then exchanged his independent setup for employment at Hollywood's biggest studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer MGM. Keaton's loss of independence as a filmmaker coincided with the coming of sound films although he was interested in making the transition and mounting personal problems, and his career in the early sound era was hurt as a result.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January With Charlotte Greenwood in one of his first "talkies", 's Parlor, Bedroom and Bath Keaton signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ina business decision that he would later call the worst of his life. He realized too late that the studio system MGM represented would severely limit his creative input. For instance, the studio refused his request to make his early project, Spite Marriageas a sound film and after the studio converted, he was obliged to adhere to dialogue-laden scripts.
Keaton with Thelma Todd and Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily Keaton was forced to use a stunt double during some of the more dangerous scenes, something he had never done in his heyday, as MGM wanted badly to protect its investment. Some of his most financially successful films for the studio were during this period.
The films proved popular. In the first Keaton pictures with sound, he and his fellow actors would shoot each scene three times: The actors would phonetically memorize the foreign-language scripts a few lines at a time and shoot immediately after. So Funny it Hurt, with Keaton complaining about having to shoot lousy films not just once, but three times. Keaton was so demoralized during the production of 's What!
Most of these are simple visual comedies, with many of the gags supplied by Keaton himself, often recycling ideas from his family vaudeville act and his earlier films. He also provided material for Red Skelton  and gave help and advice to Lucille Ball in her comedic work in films and television.
The director was usually Jules Whitewhose emphasis on slapstick and farce made most of these films resemble White's famous Three Stooges shorts. Keaton's personal favorite was the series' debut entry, Pest from the Westa shorter, tighter remake of Keaton's little-viewed feature The Invader; it was directed not by White but by Del Lorda veteran director for Mack Sennett.
Moviegoers and exhibitors welcomed Keaton's Columbia comedies, proving that the comedian had not lost his appeal. However, taken as a whole, Keaton's Columbia shorts rank as the worst comedies he made, an assessment he concurred with in his autobiography.Charlie Chaplin & Buster Keaton in GOLF ANTICS
Throughout the s, Keaton played character roles in both "A" and "B" features. He made his last starring feature El Moderno Barba Azul in Mexico; the film was a low budget production, and it may not have been seen in the United States until its release on VHS in the s, under the title Boom in the Moon.
Critics rediscovered Keaton in and producers occasionally hired him for bigger "prestige" pictures. Keaton invented comedy bits where Johnson keeps trying to apologize to a seething Garland, but winds up messing up her hairdo and tearing her dress. Jimmy assists Spencer Tracy 's character, Captain C.