Cops (also directed by Edward F. Cline) and The Cameraman (also directed by Edward Sedgwick) are two movies directed by and starring Buster Keaton. They were shown in the Konzerthaus with live music by Timothy Brock played by die reihe as part of their Film and Music Cycle. [Here’s my review of the other shows in the cycle.]
In Cops, a young man (Buster Keaton) tries to prove to the girl he loves that he’s a good business man and ends up inadvertently making one shady deal after the other.
In The Cameraman, Buster (Buster Keaton) tries to impress a girl working for a news studio by becoming a cameraman. That doesn’t go so well, either.
So, there’s this big gap in my movie education when it comes to silent films and I had actually never seen a Buster Keaton movie before [I have also never seen a Charlie Chaplin movie but I’m almost too ashamed to admit this]. Since slapstick isn’t much of my thing, I didn’t expect to get much out of it, but both movies were absolutely, brilliantly and amazingly funny. Timothy Brock’s music took a back seat to the sheer awesome, but it was very nice as well.
Timothy Brock’s music did what film music is supposed to do: support the film, the action and the actors, but not steal the limelight. That worked very well, but I have to admit that I can’t recall any of the melodies or songs now. But at the time, I was enjoying it a whole lot.
The movies themselves were pretty awesome, too. Buster Keaton had an amazing presence on screen and such an expressive face! It’s hard to imagine what the films would have been like without him, but I doubt that they would have worked so well – despite the fact that Keaton was not the only good thing about them.
As I said before: Slapstick is not so much my thing. But this brand of slapstick I can do very well with. It was silly, but not too silly and the ever so slight undertone of melancholia was very nice. Plus, I was laughing so hard I almost peed myself.
I have to admit that the gender politics bothered me a little bit, but you’ve got to cut them some slack for being made in the 20s, I guess. [Also, there’s this problem.] Still, at least one of the two women in the films could have not cared for status that much. But then Keaton would have had no motivation, so that’s a bit of a problem.
Summarising: Gotta check out more Buster Keaton. He’s cool.