Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923

Watch Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923

  • 1950
  • 1 Season

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923 from Kino Lorber is a delightful compilation of short films featuring the legendary comedian and actor, Buster Keaton. The collection includes 19 of Keaton's early works made during a crucial period in his career, when he was honing his craft and establishing himself as one of the most inventive and innovative filmmakers of his time.

The films in this collection are a wonderful showcase of Keaton's artistry and versatility, as he effortlessly switches between genres and styles, from slapstick comedy to romantic melodrama, from period pieces to modern-day tales. Each film is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, with Keaton using his remarkable physicality, impeccable timing, and brilliant wit to create a series of unforgettable characters and scenarios.

Some of the highlights of the collection include "One Week" (1920), Keaton's debut film as a director, which tells the story of a newlywed couple who attempt to assemble a prefabricated house with disastrous results; "The Haunted House" (1921), a spooky comedy in which Keaton plays a bank clerk who gets trapped in a haunted mansion; "The Playhouse" (1921), a dazzling tour de force in which Keaton plays every role in a theatrical production, from the actors to the crew; and "Cops" (1922), a breathtaking chase film in which Keaton tries to outrun an army of police officers.

Other notable films in the collection include "The Boat" (1922), in which Keaton builds his own boat and sets off on a disastrous fishing trip; "The Electric House" (1922), a hilarious science-fiction comedy in which Keaton unwittingly turns a house into an automated disaster zone; and "My Wife's Relations" (1922), a romantic comedy in which Keaton tries to win over his wife's disapproving family.

One of the most impressive aspects of the collection is how Keaton manages to inject humor and heart into even the most absurd and surreal scenarios. Whether he is dodging bombs, riding atop moving trains, or battling a swarm of bees, Keaton's deadpan expression and impeccable comic timing make every moment a joy to watch. And despite the fact that many of these films are nearly a century old, they still manage to elicit genuine laughs and gasps from modern audiences.

The collection also offers a fascinating glimpse into the early days of cinema, when filmmakers were still experimenting with the medium and developing its language. Keaton's films are full of innovative and daring techniques, from daring stunts to clever use of special effects, that would go on to influence generations of filmmakers to come.

Overall, Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923 from Kino Lorber is a must-see for any fan of silent comedy, classic cinema, or just great filmmaking in general. It is a true testament to Keaton's genius and a delightful reminder of the power of laughter and imagination.

Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection 1920-1923
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The Love Nest
18. The Love Nest
March 12, 1950
The Love Nest has the distinction of being the only film in this series in which Keaton took sole writing and directing credit.
The Balloonatic
17. The Balloonatic
January 21, 1950
The Balloonatic is notable for the satisfying interplay between Buster and actress Phyllis Haver.
The Electric House
16. The Electric House
October 15, 1950
Keaton's love of mechanical gags is beautifully showcased in The Electric House.
Day Dreams
15. Day Dreams
November 26, 1950
Day Dreams has as its structure a series of comparisons between how Buster's sweetheart interprets Buster's letters to her versus the reality of his efforts to make good.
The Frozen North
14. The Frozen North
August 17, 1950
A parody of the Western melodramas of William S. Hart, The Frozen North was filmed partly on location near Truckee, California.
The Blacksmith
13. The Blacksmith
July 16, 1950
This lesser work is nevertheless well known, as it has been in circulation and accessible for decades.
My Wife's Relations
12. My Wife's Relations
May 19, 1950
Keaton had married Natalie Talmadge on May 31, 1921. His matriarchal in-laws become the fodder for this minor comedy.
11. Cops
March 19, 1950
One of Keaton's greatest and most famous comedies, Cops is universally enjoyed for the inventive comedy and amazing chase sequence.
The Paleface
10. The Paleface
January 15, 1950
The Paleface is Keaton's comic exploration of the Western dramas that were popular in American cinema at the time.
The Boat
9. The Boat
November 27, 1950
The Boat finds Buster building a thirty-five foot family cruiser. It was Keaton's most commercially successful silent two-reel comedy and ranks among his best works.
The Play House
8. The Play House
September 18, 1950
The Play House one of Keaton's greatest comedies contains one of his best set pieces: a dream sequence in a theater where he plays every member of the cast, crew, pit band, and audience.
The Goat
7. The Goat
May 17, 1950
Filled with complex and inventive gags, The Goat is one of Keaton's finest comedies.
Hard Luck
6. Hard Luck
March 15, 1950
Admittedly a lesser work, Hard Luck was nonetheless Keaton's favorite of all his short comedies because it contained the greatest single laugh of his career.
The Haunted House
5. The Haunted House
February 9, 1950
Buster, on the run, hides in an abandoned house where a visiting opera company of Faust also seeks refuge.
4. Neighbors
January 2, 1950
Neighbors is notable for its acrobatic climax involving "The Flying Escalantes", as well as the appearance of Joe Keaton portraying naturally Buster's father.
The Scarecrow
3. The Scarecrow
December 21, 1950
Addressing the public's fascination with automation, The Scarecrow delights with its clever sequence involving surprising time and space-saving devices.
Convict 13
2. Convict 13
October 26, 1950
Convict 13 pushed boundaries with the darkness of its comedy, particularly the scene in which Buster is about to be hanged in prison while his fellow inmates sit as spectators cheering on the proceedings.
1. The "High Sign"
April 11, 1950
The "High Sign" was Keaton's first independent effort, but he believed the film retained too much of Arbuckle's style of comedy and not enough of his own.
  • Premiere Date
    April 11, 1950