Seven Chances

Seven Chances.  Buster Keaton Productions/Metro-Goldwyn Pictures 1925.
Seven Chances. Buster Keaton Productions/Metro-Goldwyn Pictures 1925.

Before watching the movie:

Buster Keaton is possibly the most enduring silent film personality, next to Charlie Chaplin. Few have made and starred in so many silent films that still get counted as great entertainment now.

This one is probably one of them. Unlike The General and Sherlock Jr, I think I’ve only encountered this as a heavily represented modern release of Keaton’s body of work. So it’s well known on the silent film shelf, but I don’t know of any buzz outside it.

The basic story appears to be an heir who must get married to receive his fortune getting mobbed by gold-digging suitors. Which would provide plenty of fodder for slapstick, and I’m not sure if there will be time for much else, though it’s apparently based upon a play. I wonder what the result will be in the translation from a dialogue-driven medium to a purely visual one.

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The Cameraman

The Cameraman. Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer 1928.
The Cameraman. Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer 1928.

Before watching the movie:

It’s hard to tell if I’ve heard of all of Buster Keaton’s greatest films and this isn’t one of them but silent film fans know it, or if I’ve barely scratched the surface of silent film. Either way, I only found out about this in doing costume research for a play about a silent film set.

It’s hard to know what to expect. The General was a very straightforward narrative with emphasized physical humor. On the other hand, Sherlock, Jr (and indeed most silent film comedies I’ve seen) meandered to wherever the jokes might be. In addition, Sherlock, Jr is very much a movie about movies (Keaton’s character has a literal dream of jumping into a Sherlock Holmes movie), so I’m not sure where this can go that parts of Sherlock, Jr didn’t.

Apparently, Keaton’s character gets a job as a cameraman to be close to his love interest. That still doesn’t tell me much about what to expect, since that’s probably just an excuse to get the story to the gag theme.

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