A man scrambles through a silent grey landscape to his sparsely decorated room, where he systematically rids himself of every possible witness to his existence: pets, mirror, a picture of a staring ancient god, photos of his own past. But also watching him is someone else, embodied by the gaze of the camera, which remains behind the man virtually throughout the film. There is a profound philosophical theme in Beckett’s sole foray into cinema, based on the idea to be/exist is to be perceived. But perhaps more intriguing than Beckett’s largely successful attempt to examine an abstract epistemological concept through the materialist medium of film, is the wholly appropriate casting of Keaton who, in the classic comedies of the ‘20s, envisaged a universe notable for its cruel, arbitrary absurdity, and who, perhaps, anticipated Beckett’s thesis on perception (and cinema) in Sherlock Junior. Dark, witty and fascinating. —Time Out Film Guide
Alan Schneider (December 12, 1917 – May 3, 1984) was an American theatre director and mentor responsible for more than 100 theatre productions. In 1984 he was honored with a Drama Desk Special Award for serving a wide range of playwrights. He directed the 1956 American premiere of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Tiny Alice; the American première of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane, Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, as well as Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, The Collection, and a trilogy of Pinter’s plays under the title Other Places (including One for the Road, Family Voices, and A Kind of Alaska); Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle; You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running; and Michael Weller’s Moonchildren and Loose Ends.
Mr. Schneider also directed Samuel Beckett’s only direct foray into the world of film, entitled “Film (film)” The short subject starred Buster Keaton and its direction is often mis-attributed… read more
"Perhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly are.", José Saramago
Towards the end of his magnificent life, The Great Stone Face appeared in another short film but one quite different in tone from the comedies he made his name with at the start of his career. Based on the only original screenplay Beckett ever wrote, Keaton's famous features are not even seen until the very end of a film in which he's shown trying to avoid being observed. Out of the ordinary and strangely unsettling.