Three Ages (1923)
Genre: Silent Comedy Romance
Directed By: Buster Keaton
Overview: A study of love, as seem through male competition throughout three ages: Prehistoric, Roman, and Modern.
Acting: When you look at classic slapstick acting, you would, like I do, tend to think that this is the lowbrow end of the entertainment ladder. Just because the Stooges throw pies at each other doesn't make them bad actors. Buster Keaton probably tried harder than the big drama actors because he relied on his physical acting so much, rather than the context of the script. For that reason again, he and his cast deserve some pretty sweet accolades.
Cinematography: It's nice to get some original scenes in a silent film, and in this not only do we have prehistoric and Roman periods, but we have a lion getting a manicure, dog-sled chariot races, we even have golf with stone clubs in 1 million BC. There's even a nice little stop motion scene with a dinosaur. Visually this is one of the better slapsticks, and I'm proud to recommend it to y'all.
Script: I'll give a standard 'good times' here, because no, this isn't about the writing, but again, when it is necessary, it tries just a little to be cute. Still there's no great character-building moments or any of that dramatic stuff, but you know going it's a touch more simple than deep. It's comedy, what do you want?
Plot: Each tale parallels each era. Act One we have boy meets girl, parents approve more of the other suitor. Act two has boy competes with suitor for the girl, and Act Three has a nice little wrap-up. Throughout we have different situations and competitions, so it doesn't get too predictable. You'll have a lot of fun with this one.
Mood: Hilarious! Buster is witty as always. For example, during the chariot dog-sled race, his chariot slows and comes to a stop. He gets out, goes up to the front, grabs one of the dogs, brings it to the back, opens a box, and replaces it with the 'spare' dog in the trunk. The cute wit like this doesn't stop and each age has its own feel and different competitions so its always original.
Overall Rating: 82% (Three Cheers!)
Aftertaste: I've begun mourning the fact that I'm quickly going through Buster like a bad bowl of soup, but such is life I suppose. Either way I've already begun my first Directorial post and Buster's going to have a nice little corner shrine all to himself. He certainly deserves it.