ARRAY(0xaa481ce4)
 
Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to the standard of Unknown Chaplin, but easily the best documentary about the Great Stone Face, 12 Mar 2009
This review is from: Buster Keaton - A Hard Act To Follow [DVD] (DVD)
From the same stable as the superb Unknown Chaplin and the legendary Hollywood series, this three-part 1987 TV series is easily the best documentary on the great stone-faced comedian, and comes with the added advantage of a wealth of radio and television interview material with the man himself to draw on. Yet it suffers somewhat in comparison despite highlights such as its comprehensive account of the making of The General, which includes interviews with extras and sightseers at the film's spectacular battle scene, as well as home movie footage of Keaton at work. Partially this is due to its tendency toward the 'sad clown' approach that is, if not hidden, at least bolstered by its attention to detail, but perhaps more importantly it at times gives the feeling of preaching to the converted. Where their Hollywood TV series was an eye-opener that managed to completely dispel the patronising contempt or superiority many felt for silent cinema by restoring it to its original element, here Kevin Brownlow and David Gill take Keaton's genius too much for granted.

Still, while many of the extracts aren't likely to make any new converts, they do illustrate the extraordinary technical precision and danger involved in shooting them. Consequently, the extraordinarily accomplished scene where Buster is trapped within the film in Sherlock Junior is dealt with in depth, but the simpler, and much funnier, billiard sequence that demonstrates a different kind of cinematic imagination is completely absent. As a result, while Keaton's fans will find much to embrace, as an introduction to his work it to the uninitiated it tends to marginalise him as more of an inspired craftsman than a great comic.

If many of the warmest and funniest moments of his silent work are missing, so too is the star's Beach Blanket Bingo era when he turned up in bit parts in teen movies, or his TV work, such as his Twilight Zone episode that boasted a couple of outstanding pieces of physical comedy). Even A Funny Thing Happened to Me On the Way to the Forum seems tagged on as an afterthought, leaving a slight impression of, not so much rewriting history, but at the very least ignoring the bits which don't gel with his critical rediscovery at that time.

Highly recommended nonetheless, it does make you hungry to see more of the man's work. Despite the age of the material, picture quality is excellent throughout, with the extracts being shown at the correct speed, while full credits for all three episodes are retained. Carl Davis' sympathetic scoring works well, with the extracts from his score for The General a particular highlight.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.4 out of 5 stars (11 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
14.99 9.04
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Trevor Willsmer
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 37