Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Three Ages


The schtick is that Buster Keaton plays out the same story of frustrated love in three eras: The Stone Age (where there are dinosaurs; holy shit! Sarah Palin was right!), The Roman Empire, and the Modern Era. It’s fun to see how the same story works out in different ways, but it’s not really one of Buster’s best.

SOUR NOTE: There have been several Keaton films I’ve seen that included scenes showing the easy, accepted racism of the day, the sort that leave a bad taste in your mouth. In this one Buster has consulted a soothsayer, whose means of divining the future is a pair of dice as big as volleyballs. Funny! He is tossing them, and a sedan chair carried by four husky black men goes by. All four get big eyes, drop the chair, and hurry over to get in the game. Not funny, now. How awful that it was funny back then.

DVD EXTRAS: Two two-reelers:
“The Goat” (1921) This is the Keaton I adore, a story of mistaken identities and mishaps that keeps you laughing all the time. Amazing sight gags and athletic slapstick.
“My Wife’s Relations” (1922) Not nearly so funny, but even the lesser efforts of this comic genius are worth watching.