An existentialist opening intertitle liberates the film & the hero who drops before us as if by providential design. A newspaper expands almost endlessly, the laws of perspective & of physics are called into question before our very eyes; one's aim cannot be trusted, & our sense of space is never what it appears to be. A banana, a secret hand gesture, trap doors & an athletic will to move safely through the universe.
Buster Keaton's first independent solo effort after his partnership with Fatty Arbuckle, is a fantastic early example of his budding comedic genius. Has a simple, farcical plot about a young schmuck hired as a bodyguard by a wealthy miser, and also by a roughneck gang to assassinate his employer. Features some terrific set pieces, including an endlessly unfolding newspaper and the kinetic final chase sequence.
This wasn't one of Keaton's favourites and it shows. While the chase scene in the house is amazing enough alone, the whole package in this short isn't as strong as the others. It's still a very good film. I found the gags to be hit or miss, but for Buster's first attempt at adapting his vision to the screen, it's a great showcase for what was to come. Great production and still really funny. Love the newspaper gag
Keaton shelved this movie for quite a while because he wasn't satisfied with it as his first solo project. It's a hoot, though. Keaton's prop comedy is front and center here, climaxing with an extended chase through a house loaded with trap doors and secret passages.