Love them both, though last time I checked Chaplin was my favorite filmmaker of all time.
So this is a bit tough to answer. The Sarris quote is great, btw. :-)
Just watched “The Circus” the other night (on my new $25 projector YEA YEA). The last image really blew me away. The mammoth circus train pulling away all around him in the mist, leaving him the trace of the ring. Maybe the most astonishing image in a Chaplin film. A brilliant comment on the end of the silent era.
I don’t know that I could choose one or the other. I am thankful that we have both men, and I would not want to have to choose between one or the other.
I love Chaplin, but cannot choose between either because Keaton is not pretty popular here in Brazil and it’s hard to find his films in decent conditions.
Chaplin never would have been approached by Samuel Beckett for what that is worth
The real question would be if Beckett would have been approached by Chaplin. ;-)
Keaton approached Beckett, not the other way round?
I didn’t know that.
no keaton was approached by beckett and excepted because he turned down Godot a few years before and regretted the sucess that had. That being said Keaton was a pandering actor most of his life and chaplin got to do what he wanted so had better results
I think Keaton finished the work that Chaplin started — he brought film comedy into the twentieth century. Chaplin was stuck in a mode of sticky sentimentality that would have embarassed Dickens.
Keaton never produced a film as mawkishly sentimental as CITY LIGHTS or MODERN TIMES.
Chaplin never produced a feature film as perfect as THE GENERAL.
I don’t mean to dismiss Chaplin. His best work (THE ADVENTURER, A DOG’S LIFE, THE CURE, THE GOLD RUSH) is as great a body of work as anyone has ever produced. But I’d say his worst work (MODERN TIMES, THE GREAT DICTATOR, the unspeakable MONSIEUR VERDOUX) is really just dreadful.
Ultimately, I’d say it’s a draw. They’re so completely different as artists that comparisons are just useless.
!!!!!! monsieur verdoux is truly one of the best films ever made
they are too different to compare.
i have seen every feature length keaton including the ones he did with durante and altho he is wonderful (sherlock jr being his materpiece), Chaplin was the king of the comedic silent era. With Lloyd and Keaton well behind
>>Keaton never produced a film as mawkishly sentimental as CITY LIGHTS or MODERN TIMES.<,
Considering I used the phrase mawkishly bathetic on the last page & got blasted for it, I pleased to see this.
>>Keaton was a pandering actor most of his life<<
Den, I’m going to hope you’re in a non-English-speaking country, because pandering is hardly the word that ought to be used. He was very much an actor-for-hire and had to accept just about everything that was offered (and having played Estragon & having had to memorize that insane Becket dialogue, I can understand why Keaton might have declined a role in any stage play when his stage experience was decades before & of the vaudeville variety – not a 2.5 hour play with very tricky dialogue).
Pandering has a very different meaning. Check it out.
>>But I’d say his worst work (MODERN TIMES, THE GREAT DICTATOR, the unspeakable MONSIEUR VERDOUX) is really just dreadful.<,
Actually I love DICTATOR and VERDOUX until the end when Chaplin decides you’re too dim to have gotten his message or he was too inept to convey it & has to speechify. His simplistic Freudianism in LIMELIGHT pretty well kills that one, too.
Harry pander meaning to cater to or indulge. every actor panders to a certain degree but keaton more so than many, the way durante (at his most bullish) walked all over him on screen and on set and the way he was treated in the industrial films of the 50s he did.
i did not mean the noun form involving a pimp who procures or the other sexual forms of the word u no doubt seem familar with
@Harry Long: I guess there’s no accounting for taste but if you think that “his worst work (MODERN TIMES, THE GREAT DICTATOR, the unspeakable MONSIEUR VERDOUX) is really just dreadful,” then you probably have not seen the following:
_ A King in New York_ (1957)
BTW, I’m a great admirer of Chaplin’s work overall, as well as Keaton’s. These two final films as director were, in my opinion, embarrassing tail ends of a great career.
Frank I might agree about Hong Kong (tho is was interesting to see Brando at his most controlled) but King of New York had some nice funny business and decent commentary on McCartneyism and aging
@ Dr. Tomasulo:
>>@Harry Long: I guess there’s no accounting for taste but if you think that “his worst work (MODERN TIMES, THE GREAT DICTATOR, the unspeakable MONSIEUR VERDOUX) is really just dreadful,” then you probably have not seen the following:
A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
_ A King in New York_ (1957)<<
No I haven’t caught up with KING & I’ve avoided COUNTESS based on what I heard, but please note
What I was quoting from another post
What I actually posted about DICTATOR and VERDOUX.
Even discounting the pimping connotation of pander (which I was not referring to) I disagree with your use of the word.
Any Harold Lloyd fans out there?
huge lloyd fan
Of course Keaton……… as Matthew explained it wisely to Theo in The Dreamers.
Talking seriously… who knows…
Would anyone agree that the majority of Chaplin’s films are personal, and a bit “on the soapbox?”
I consider him a cinematic genius. This is just my opinion. Thank you.
Keaton for the dead-pan delivery.
I find Chaplin just too sentimental. I probably prefer Harold Lloyd but Laurel and Hardy even more so because – to me at least – they are consistently funny. I think their non-silents are the funnier though [Nothing makes me laugh more than Oliver Hardy’s screams of pain]
The very idea of comparing Chaplin and Keaton seems downright ridiculous to me. Both of them were very unique in the way they worked and in their mise-en-scene.
It has become quite common for many to pan Chaplin for his use of sentimentality and his “old fashioned” camera technique, resulting from a largely static camerawork. Didn’t Yasujiro Ozu use static camerawork in his films? The answer to this problem comes from Chaplin’s own words: “My technoque is the outcome of my own logic and approach; it is not borrowed from what others are doing.”. I am surprised when Modern Times and Monsieur Verdoux are called “worst”. Modern Times is one of the timeless masterpieces in Cinematic History. The use of sound in the film is very cleverly judged. Who else could have portrayed the perils of hunger and loneliness as vividly as Chaplin in The Gold Rush? Or the final, sublime close-up of City Lights? I especially like the finale of The Circus. I can understand when one finds The Kid or Limelight to be mawkish, because it edges dangerously close to that description. Another Chaplin moment which I like very much is in The Immigrant, in the moment where he sees the girl in the cafe. Many of his films have outstanding moments of cinematic poetry which has rarely been matched by other comic artists.
Keaton is by all means a genius. I perfectly agree that there is not a wasted second in The General. Equally impressive is The Navigator and Sherlock Jr (the latter has outstanding technical innovations). Keaton’s handling of inanimate objects to create comic effects is unique. On the other hand, Chaplin’s handling of comedy came from irrational forces (hunger, poverty, etc.), policemen and menacing bullies. The Goat is, by far, my favourite Keaton short. I don’t have to say more because I feel that a majority are for Keaton, but for me they are two very diferent artists with very different ways of working.
Keaton, by virtue of Sherlock Jr. alone. But I love Chaplin too :)
I enjoy both talents…but I enjoy Harold Lloyd even more. Hehe…
Keaton, but why be forced to choose? Gilberto Perez has an amazing chapter of his book THE MATERIAL GHOST on why he prefers Keaton, who, to unfairly boil down his prose and his argument, is more cinematic than the more theatre-oriented Chaplin.
I like that scene in The Dreamers where Louis Garrel and Michael Pitt discuss the two. imo, in that particular debate Garrel won, for Chaplin.
Harold Lloyd is an asshole. Who else would repeatedly lie to his girlfriend, act really cockily at his job and then try to make you feel sorry for him as he covers the whole thing up with a crazy climb-this-building contest to avoid dealing with it?
Whenever Keaton and Chaplin got into messes, it was always stemming from their good intentions and the hilarity came from circumstances not really letting them express what they meant.
Harold Lloyd probably meant well by lying to his lady, but there’s a big difference between meaning well by doing something kind of reprehensible and meaning well, acting well, and then having it be misunderstood.
I like Keaton for his straight face and gymnastic-abilities; and Chaplin for some really great set pieces (the boxing match, say) and also how sweet he can make me with my cold heart feel. Our Hospitality and The Kid are probably my favourites.
Anthony: Hehe….he was not that bad. He lied to his girlfriend in “Safety Last” because he didn’t want her to know that he was just a lowly employee. But you have to admit, that climb was incredible and the fact that he did that with a few fingers (he lost a few when he held a live bomb which was supposed to be a prop during a photo shoot).
Granted, Lloyd may have not be as popular as Keaton and Chaplin (mainly because he had creative control over his work and priced the rights for his films quite high. He knew it was high but he was not starving, so he held out until the studios would meet his demand). But in the end, Harold Lloyd had creative control over his films, did not end penniless nor was he exiled.
But I enjoy both Keaton and Chaplin in different ways. I will say that I own more Keaton because it’s more accessible and price-wise cheaper to own than Chaplin’s good releases (you can get a lot of his other film via public domain or dvd collections easy but his good films are pricey. So, look forward to the Criterion releases).
Any Langdon, Chase, L&H fans?