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Where to Begin with Buster Keaton

June 24, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

An introduction to the life and work of the comedian Buster Keaton: “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies”, Roger Ebert.

This talk by Richard Kendall is produced in co-operation with Berwick Film Society. It is part of our Summer Film Series. Tickets for the full series are available here and are free to anyone who was a member of BFS for its 2019/20 season.

‘No man can be a genius in slap-shoes and a flat hat’, so Buster Keaton was keen on repeating, but most film critics would, respectfully, disagree. In the century since he first stepped onto a movie set, Keaton’s critical prestige has only risen, with Orson Welles calling him “the greatest of all the clowns” and his features becoming regular fixtures on lists of the greatest films of all time. Even more remarkably, they remain among the most inventive, thrilling and hilarious movies ever produced – despite a century of technological and cultural change, Keaton’s work endures. Unfortunately for those of us who aren’t film critics, it isn’t always easy to appreciate silent cinema, even films as enjoyable as Buster’s. In this hour long talk, therefore, we aim to provide an easy-to-follow guide on where to begin, what to look out for and how to appreciate some of these films, from his early two-reeler (twenty minute) appearances alongside Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, to his extraordinary run of features in the 1920s, including ‘Sherlock Jr.’ and ‘The General’. You’ll also learn Buster’s biography, from his childhood onstage to his later years as gagwriter for the Marx Brothers.

If you’d like to do some preparatory viewing, ‘One Week’ is a pretty good representation of Buster’s comedy style, and speeds along at twenty minutes or so. It also happens to be the first released (though second made) two-reeler he made on his own, which is pretty impressive by anyone’s standards. There’s a good copy available on YouTube here. Further reading/viewing suggestions will be provided.

Lectures will be delivered via Zoom. If you haven’t used Zoom before, please go to www.zoom.us and look at the tutorials. An invitation to each lecture will be emailed to you.

If you book this course online, we will hold your personal data in accordance with our privacy policy. If you do not wish us to hold your personal data, please book by post (see www.berwickea.co.uk) and do not supply an email address.

This talk by Richard Kendall is produced in co-operation with Berwick Film Society. It is part of our Summer Film Series. Tickets for the full series are available here and are free to anyone who was a member of BFS for its 2019/20 season.

‘No man can be a genius in slap-shoes and a flat hat’, so Buster Keaton was keen on repeating, but most film critics would, respectfully, disagree. In the century since he first stepped onto a movie set, Keaton’s critical prestige has only risen, with Orson Welles calling him “the greatest of all the clowns” and his features becoming regular fixtures on lists of the greatest films of all time. Even more remarkably, they remain among the most inventive, thrilling and hilarious movies ever produced – despite a century of technological and cultural change, Keaton’s work endures. Unfortunately for those of us who aren’t film critics, it isn’t always easy to appreciate silent cinema, even films as enjoyable as Buster’s. In this hour long talk, therefore, we aim to provide an easy-to-follow guide on where to begin, what to look out for and how to appreciate some of these films, from his early two-reeler (twenty minute) appearances alongside Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, to his extraordinary run of features in the 1920s, including ‘Sherlock Jr.’ and ‘The General’. You’ll also learn Buster’s biography, from his childhood onstage to his later years as gagwriter for the Marx Brothers.

If you’d like to do some preparatory viewing, ‘One Week’ is a pretty good representation of Buster’s comedy style, and speeds along at twenty minutes or so. It also happens to be the first released (though second made) two-reeler he made on his own, which is pretty impressive by anyone’s standards. There’s a good copy available on YouTube here. Further reading/viewing suggestions will be provided.

Lectures will be delivered via Zoom. If you haven’t used Zoom before, please go to www.zoom.us and look at the tutorials. An invitation to each lecture will be emailed to you.

If you book this course online, we will hold your personal data in accordance with our privacy policy. If you do not wish us to hold your personal data, please book by post (see www.berwickea.co.uk) and do not supply an email address.

Details

Date:
June 24, 2020
Time:
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:
Website:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/where-to-begin-with-buster-keaton-tickets-107534131482