Keaton's Silent Shorts: Beyond the Laughter
Brand: Southern Illinois University Press

Keaton's Silent Shorts: Beyond the Laughter

  • Publish Date: 2010-08-20
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Gabriella Oldham

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Filling a major gap in the critical canon, Keatons Classic Shorts: Beyond the Laughter chronicles the rapid growth in the filmmakers 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 Keatons 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 Keatons performance, devoting a separate chapter to each. She analyzes each films 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 Keatons 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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