I think my favorite Keaton is whichever one I have just seen, usually Sherlock, Steamboat Bill, The Navigator, or......
This ingenious comedy from The Great Stone Face is a comedy masterpiece in miniature, a glorious string of brilliant gags timed and performed to perfection by an artist at his peak. Not only that, the story is strong and well thought out too and not just a flimsy vehicle to get hurriedly to the next big laugh. Woody almost certainly took a look at this before he made The Purple Rose Of Cairo over sixty years later...
I'm a bit heart broken these days but watching Buster Keaton does help ease the pain. This comedy makes me laugh more than anything put out today. It's just simply classic and fantastic.
This film (specially the ending) serves as a reminder of how the cinema has taught us how to behave, how to love, how to feel, how to live. It's not even an overreaction; movie scenes set the standards of how human interactions should be. Makes you wonder if art imitates life or if we, just like Buster, just wish to live on the other side of the screen.
Watched this again yesterday and I now think it might be the finest movie ever made. It just has so much going for it. The gags and sequences are classic - the lost dollar, trailing the suspect, the dream sequence, the game of pool. And, in step with the best films of 2011 but doing it 90 years earlier, it speaks to the magic of the cinema and movies in general. This is beyond great - still my #1 for the 1920s.
Nothing makes me happier than showing this film to modern viewers and hearing them yell "How did he DO THAT?" An infinite number of computers doing infinite years of rendering couldn't match what Buster did with his body and a lot of careful planning.
Keaton's feature films gave him more breathing room, and although this sophisticated effort may be short for a feature at a mere 44 minutes, it nevertheless stands tall as one of his finest achievements. Keaton plays a movie projectionist/amateur detective who is framed for theft by a rival for the affections of the same woman, resulting in an elaborate (and hilarious) effort to prove his innocence.
I could go on about how ahead of its time this film was, or how without it, there would be no Jackie Chan or Duck Amuck, but I was too busy enjoying myself, honestly. I couldn't help imagining myself as a kid in the silent film era paying a nickel to see it and falling in love with it so much that I stayed in the theater to watch again and again.