The documentary “The Great Buster” (2018), which tells the story of comedian Buster Keaton, begins with a mid-century interview. It opens three labels for Buster: he has a wonderful comedy. His talent; he played a pioneering role in the development of later generations of comedy; he is an over-the-air silent film actor.
Last but not least, the 55-year-old Keaton played directly in Billy Wilder’s satirical and chasing movie “Sunset Avenue” (1950): a few silent film stars spent playing bridges all day long. Keiton noodles, such as zombies, tragic aging, staring at a bad brand, had to sigh, “over.” Two years later, he also guest starred in a “stage spring and autumn” a tripping silent film comedian, to Chaplin Feeling: “I never thought we would fall to this point.”
This kind of mirror-like performance is sighing, and the bleak evening scene is more contrasting than his shining meteor youth.
“The Great Buster” reviews the birth of this comedy master. Keaton’s parents took a family medicine show (a form of performance popular in the 19th century in the United States, where artists tour and sell medicines in the gap). In 1896, the 11-month-old Keaton began to perform. As you can see in the documentary, Ketten, a young boy, wears an Irish-style beard and pretends to be bald. When his father tries to complete various juggling moves on the table, he ruthlessly sweeps over.
At the age of 10, Keaton became the smallest juggling star and formed the Keaton trio with his parents. A suitcase handle was stitched around his clothes so that his father would throw him at the band or the auditorium. He has hardly been hurt in those years. In an interview with Detroit News in 1914, he said: “The trick is to use the feet or hands to cushion or interrupt the fall when landing. I started this performance since I was young, so this is like the nature of the day after tomorrow. There are times if I can’t land like a cat like this, I will be killed.”
He certainly has this talent. When the master of the magic, Houdini, visited the Keaton family, he saw the 18-month-old Joseph Keaton fall down the stairs safely and blurted out: “It’s a buster!” Buster has become his nickname.
In 1917, the 21-year-old Keaton went to New York and began to play a two-volume comedy (two short film length comedy shorts). At the end of World War I, he briefly served in France and returned to the United States in 1919 to begin his own self-directed performance.
In the documentary, I first saw Keaton’s early classic short film. His second two-volume comedy, “One Week” (1920), began with his wife and his wife receiving an assembly house as a wedding item: the rival rewrote the number of the assembled box, making the house a disaster-stricken building with a snot In the midst of the storm, it turned out to be in place. Then, as the train approached, Keaton and his wife discovered that the house was built on the rails. The two men dragged their hands and gave up. The train didn’t actually drive from the rails! When they celebrated happily, another train in the opposite direction rushed to the house with lightning speed.
“I always like to let the audience think that they have guessed my thoughts, and I will make them unexpected again,” Keaton said. Director Walter Cole commented: After reading “Week”, he was like seeing something unprecedented.
“He will use the camera to make the joke take effect.” Director Quentin Tarantino refers to another unforgettable scene in “One Week”: his wife took a bath in the bathtub, and the soap suddenly fell to the ground, she reached out shows his high level of understanding of the nature of the film media,” Quentin said. Director Herzog believes that “Kieton is the essence of film to some extent. He is one of the inventors of the film.”
A series of short films made Keaton soar. He reached the pinnacle of the form of two-volume comedy: he self-directed the scapegoat, the coward in the haunted house, the unlucky ghost who was fired by his girlfriend and tried to touch the porcelain tram; in Theatre, he played a dream All the characters; “Neighbors”, he let his head fall into the ground, how can not pull out; “The Scarecrow”, he and his friends used various mechanical devices to eat breakfast, laughing at all; in the “Police” When chasing the thief, he cleverly smashed through the police, grabbed a door of the car, and flew up… These characters are often serious, stupid and acute.
Keaton has an imaginative imagination and the talent of an engineer. A friend revealed that Keiden’s backyard had a train model running around. He made a hot dog in the kitchen and put it in a small train, which was suddenly transported to the yard.
In the 1920s, Keaton filmed ten great movies. Except for the “General”, all his short films and feature films have no scripts. He and the team only came up with a good opening and a satisfactory ending in advance. “The middle part will come out by itself.” In “Three Times” (1923), he plans to jump from the top of one building to the other. Without success, he created a wonderful set of shots: he rolled down the wall of the building, fell into the window, slammed the ground, and drove a car and was transported out.
Quentin Tarantino has been dissatisfied with the image of a comedian who is weaker and more naive than the average male character, but Keaton is “a real man” who can place himself in all kinds of impossible situations and achieve madness with the flesh. The effect, such as rolling down a hillside, being dragged by a car, and falling from a cliff, “is like a ballet dancer, with incredible body control.” Keaton has profoundly influenced the kung fu superstar Jackie Chan for more than half a century. . What is stronger than Jackie Chan is that he appeared in the Ford commercials in his 60s. The thief he played was faster than a group of “policemen” who were 30 or 40 years old.
At the end of the 1920s, the 35-year-old Keaton had already finished the best work in his life, followed by the tragedy of “struggling forward and being pushed backwards.” He did not follow the advice of Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, signed MGM – the story is here, it has become a bloody battle between film genius and big studios. Keaton’s biographer said that Keaton was used to shooting out, small-scale screening, rethinking the structure of the film, re-shooting, and re-screening. At MGM, Keaton’s independence was completely stripped. “Since you have joined, you have to follow our own way.” The script should be written clearly, thoughtfully, budgeted, and scheduled on an hourly basis. “He was thrown into the meat grinder of the production system.” In MGM’s first film, “The Photographer,” he even changed his iconic flat-top cap.
The sound film ended the silent film era. As Chaplin said: “Everything is over.” “Captain II” was filmed at the moment when Keaton fell from the peak period. One of the scenes – Keaton stood on the ground, several large houses behind him crashed down. Next, a narrow window just caught his body – as if it were a realistic portrayal. The play is extremely difficult, and Ketten will be crushed to death. Later, Jackie Chan, The Simpsons, and The Stupid Show series all paid tribute to this scene.
Keaton began to drink alcohol and the first marriage broke down. All the films he shot at MGM in the eyes of film critics seemed to be “deliberately designed to ruin the actor” and were arranged to be stunned by the noisy actor. After drinking alcohol into the rehabilitation center, he was fired by MGM. When he was editing for MGM in the 1940s and 1950s, his weekly salary fell from $3,000 to $100. He shot some things that didn’t have the dominance for other companies, which he called “cheaters”.
Later, Keaton helped Red Skelton remake his own silent film classics. “Bast is very modest. Whenever he has new ideas, he always calls me and says, ‘I think it would be more interesting to shoot like this. I will shoot it again. He always tries to convince others that this is me. The idea, but these ideas actually came from him,” Skelton said in an interview that year.
“Bast is a gentle person, he rarely defends himself, but he is anxious,” said Keaton’s friend and director James Cullen. “He blamed himself for all things that didn’t go well. I told him that those bastards are too bad for you.” Keaton only said, “Oh, they are not bad guys.”
Some fans think that this documentary is not deep enough, and there is a suspicion of playing cards. But it happens to be very friendly to a wider audience. You may wish to use “The Great Buster” as an entrance to experience the performance of his “The Great Atone Face”. His face is like a deserted presidential mountain, with the wisdom of sublimating the little fun of singing and dancing into comedy art.
Or, you can escape the trap of knowledge and calm your mind. Think of this documentary as a high-level comedy episode, open it like a comedy show, and you can gain some happiness. In an advertisement he shot for Northwest Airlines in his later years, you can see that Keaton wearing grass skirts, wearing squats, holding beach volleyball, and wearing kimonos appeared in the camera and enthusiastically recruited tourists.
As Keaton himself once said, he did not become a great man’s ambition, the only thing of interest, “just let the audience laugh.”