Buster at his best! Like a lot of silent comedy, the plot is essentially a framing device meant to surround scarcely related set-pieces, some of which work better than others. But when it all ties together at the end, it's a thing of beauty and hilarity, with a few cheeky statements about what filmmaking does to reality. All this high-minded subtext, plus the best performance a monkey has ever given on screen.
Though not quite as wild as some of his other works from College to Sherlock Jr and especially the General, still showcases some of Keaton's overall flare for using the whole world as sets, props, and characters while running amoke doing his silent clown thing. Some noteworthy camera movements stick out, the multifloor staircase crane and a memorable track out on the beach of iconographic note. --PolarisDiB
It may not have the insane stunts and extravaganza of Buster's bigger films, but The Cameraman captures the very essence of Keaton's comedy. It's sweet, and surprisingly realistic. I loved every minute of it, but what blew me away most was the film's technical skill. It's a silent film that doesn't just look modern, it is modern. A timeless masterpiece.
Keaton's "worst mistake of his career" at least brought forth this late-career gem before MGM yanked all creative control. You can sense how confining a script can be for Keaton but he still shines from one mishap to the next. With several standout moments, and an adorable monkey, it may be a lightweight affair. But it earns its emotional beats in the end despite it's contrived resolution.
It's fascinating how this film is, in many ways, a narrative precursor to the wholly experimental Man with a Movie Camera: the heralding of the photographer in the opening, the almost lifelike camera and tripod, the split screen images in Buster's first newsreel...