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Buster Keaton: The Metaphysics of His Films

Year: 1970, 27 mins
Code: CAT-Bus

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An exploration of the great film director-actor Buster Keaton, with some unusual perspectives on his goals and motivations. Illustrated with many film excerpts from his most creative period, 1917 to 1928.

Participants are film critic Andrew Sarris and film archivist Raymond Rohauer. Rohauer knew Keaton well and was instrumental in rescuing many of his old films from destruction. Sarris as a leading film critic has often written about Keaton.

Excerpts include portions of "The General" (1926), a film illustrating "man versus machine." "Cops" (1922) questions the meaning of law and order. "Frozen North" is a satire on William Hart films. In "The Boat" "Keaton goes down with the ship" but then wades to shore. In "Sherlock, Jr." a film projectionist in a dream enters the movie. "College" (1927) spoofs the happy ending, and "Steamboat Bill, Jr." mocks the cyclone that destroys everything in its path.

Rohauer describes rescuing Keaton's films from a garage and Keaton's view of himself at the end of his life when he had been forgotten.

Andrew Sarris was an American film critic, a leading proponent of the auteur theory of film criticism.

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