Sunday Matinee: Buster Keaton

“The Great Stone Face” Buster Keaton was one of the masters of silent comedy. On March 22 one of his films, Our Hospitality, makes it on to Blu-ray courtesy of Kino International. They had already released on awesome version of The General last year on Blu-ray.

Keaton started his career in a vaudeville act with his parents when he was growing up. The act consisted mostly of the young Keaton annoying his father and then his father would toss him around into whatever was handy.

In 1917 Buster Keaton met Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and co-starred in his first silent comedy short The Butcher Boy. By 1920, Keaton had moved on to starring in his own short films.

From there he started making feature length films – many which are considered classics. The General, Sherlock Jr. The Camerman and Steamboat Bill Jr just to name a few.

Keaton, like fellow silent comedian Harold Lloyd, performed most of his own stunts in his films. During the shooting of The General he actually broke his back but didn’t realize it for several years. He moved into sound films in the 1930’s working for MGM and Columbia Pictures. By the 1940’s he mostly starred in bit parts and cameos. Buster Keaton died of cancer in 1966 at the age of 70.

Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle in their fourteenth short together – The Garage. It is also one of the earliest accounts of product placement in the cinema.

Steamboat Bill Jr.

The General

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.

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