Keaton's Silent Shorts: Beyond the Laughter [NOOK Book]

Overview

Filling a major gap in the critical canon, Keaton’s Classic Shorts: Beyond the Laughter chronicles the rapid growth in the filmmaker’s understanding of what makes both comedy and film successful. Keaton developed his major themes in these nineteen silent short films shot between 1920 and 1923, creating his persona “Buster” with his trademark stone face. These short films clearly indicate Keaton’s love of the camera and his concern for composition, symmetry, and images that ...

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Keaton's Silent Shorts: Beyond the Laughter

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Overview

Filling a major gap in the critical canon, Keaton’s Classic Shorts: Beyond the Laughter chronicles the rapid growth in the filmmaker’s understanding of what makes both comedy and film successful. Keaton developed his major themes in these nineteen silent short films shot between 1920 and 1923, creating his persona “Buster” with his trademark stone face. These short films clearly indicate Keaton’s love of the camera and his concern for composition, symmetry, and images that delight the eye and startle the mind.

Oldham reconstructs each of these rarely seen films to enable the reader to “watch” Keaton’s performance, devoting a separate chapter to each. She analyzes each film’s strengths, weaknesses, and prevalent themes and threads. She also enables readers to plumb the depths of what seems to be surface comedy through philosophical, biographical, historical, and critical commentary, thus linking the shorts together into a cohesive study of Buster Keaton’s growth through his three-year independent venture as a filmmaker. Beyond the laughter and beyond the great stone face, Oldham presents a treasure of cinema comedy and a unique philosophy of life as captured by a great filmmaker.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The first comprehensive treatment of Keaton's independent silent short films which were shot between 1920 and 1923. Oldham (artistic director, New York Children's Theatre) reconstructs the 19 films for the reader, analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, and themes for which Keaton would later become famous: his persona "Buster" confronting nature, machine, Self and fate; the pursuit of love at all costs; and his stony face trademark which blocked the emotion behind each endeavor to circumvent fate. The biographical information is minimal; the focus being the work itself. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

“This is an intelligent and readable introduc­tion and a worthy celebration of the ingenious artistry of Buster Keaton.”—Choice

“Oldham knows that the majority of the readers of her book haven’t seen the classic shorts, so in a remarkable way she has illustrated them with words, analyzed what was going on in Keaton’s life at the time, and offered what she has concluded from seeing these short films. It is a thoroughly engaging and informative study.”—Rapport

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809385942
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 909,305
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Gabriella Oldham is the author of First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors and the children’s musical Melville and the Yellow Umbrella.



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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 One Week (September 1920) 12
Ch. 3 Convict 13 (October 1920) 26
Ch. 4 The Scarecrow (December 1920) 43
Ch. 5 Neighbors (January 1921) 56
Ch. 6 The Haunted House (February 1921) 69
Ch. 7 Hard Luck (March 1921) 82
Ch. 8 The High Sign (April 1921) 93
Ch. 9 The Goat (May 1921) 108
Ch. 10 The Playhouse (January 1922) 125
Ch. 11 The Boat (November 1921) 146
Ch. 12 The Paleface (January 1922) 166
Ch. 13 Cops (March 1922) 187
Ch. 14 My Wife's Relations (May 1922) 209
Ch. 15 The Blacksmith (July 1922) 234
Ch. 16 The Frozen North (August 1922) 250
Ch. 17 Daydreams (September 1922) 268
Ch. 18 The Electric House (October 1922) 290
Ch. 19 The Balloonatic (January 1923) 312
Ch. 20 The Love Nest (March 1923) 332
Ch. 21 Conclusion 357
Notes 365
Selected Bibliography 377
Index 386
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