I know I’m a bit late to the deathiversary of Buster Keaton, but I’ve been busy on other things. This is a very old documentary made in 1965 telling the story of how Buster Keaton started his successfully funny movie job. The documentary starts focusing on British-Canadian Gerald Potterton’s NFB film The Railrodder. Keaton and Potterton discuss the performance of another contributor on the project and also how they’re going to work out the film.
In the beginning, Keaton was just a young man in a Fatty Arbuckle movie who was hit with a bag of flour and bitten by a dog. After his debut, Keaton went into making films with much empty space and all the resources he needed. Keaton’s films began earning $200,000 yearly. One of the traits he became famous for was his deadpan expression (even in family photos). After his first films plummeted and he resorted to drinking, he loset everything. Years later, Buster Keaton started over by making cheaply made shorts for Columbia Film.
The documentary mainly focuses on Keaton in his years of work in the 60s, where his career was resurfacing. Since this is a very old documentary, the interviews are minimal, and it’s more narrated by Donald Brittain. There’s also a lot of live footage showing Buster and his life with his family and having discussions in behind the scenes footage with Gerald. I’ve been a fan of Keaton since I saw some of his early work in high school and this documentary was very informative and interesting.
(Photo: Library of Congress)