Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Cameraman


It is generally agreed that the Top Three comics of silent film were Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd (I met Harold Lloyd in 1965!), usually in that order. I usually agree … except sometimes I put Buster in the top slot.

This was Keaton’s first film after signing a contract with MGM, which he characterized as the worst mistake he ever made. Right after this one the geniuses at the studio took away the total creative control he had always had, and tried to stuff him into an MGM box. The films got worse and worse, and poor Buster got more and more depressed, until they fired him. Goddam idiots.

I wouldn’t rank this with his absolute best works of comic genius like Our Hospitality, Sherlock Jr., College, Steamboat Bill, Jr. or The General, but it’s pretty damn good.