The Cameraman (1928)
Genre: Silent Romance Comedy Family Drama
Starring: Buster Keaton (Our Hospitality, Go West), Merceline Day, The cutest MONKEY EVER, Jocko!
Directed By: Edward Sedgwick (Free And Easy, Speak Easily)
Overview: A meek tourist photographer trades in his tintype for a movie camera in hopes to gain employment at the news office where a new love interest just so happens to work. The boss gives him a chance to get some important news on film.
Acting: Oh Buster! He's so good in this one! He runs around like a lunatic, the big dumb pretty-boy does that majestically, and the cute little monkey vies for our hearts better than the dame. I've even read that the monkey's also been in some Harold Lloyd stuff too! In this film we have the youth and vigour that Buster Keaton is renowned for and the only film that Edward Sedgwick, that filthy career-murdering arse, can be proud of having directed. That dumbass.
Cinematography: The stunts in this are so very amusing. Not only do we have a full out Chinese gang war, but some swimming pool and car stunts, not to mention a tremendous regatta scene. Another classic scene of note is a long take of Buster changing into a bathing suit in a small change room while a large man attempts to do the same, in the same puny change room. Big action, that's what Keaton's films are about, and they deliver here too.
Script: There's a couple cute moments, but as with most silent film the magic is knowing when to let the scene tell its story in pantomime. That is the gift that Buster brings and he tells his story perfectly, just like the good old days. Man, this mostly reinforced how much of a dick the guy playing a dick was.
Plot: The story is great. We have the underdog, eking out a meagre existence and to get a girl he tries getting a job at her work, which he royally messes up, of course. She accepts a date, they go swimming, enter big bad brute of a competitive suitor, and you have yourself a challenge. The best type of romantic comedy, this is one that seems predictable but is genuinely versatile in its delivery.
Mood: No I'm serious, this is all about the monkey. It's so cute you'll give yourself a hernia yelling, "MONKEY! Monkey, monkey, monkey!!!" like I did. The girlfriend hated my barage of declarations of the obviousness of the cute, but she loved the monkey. You know what, I bet she liked the monkey as much as I did, even though she didn't go buck wild... till later. Yeah, that's right. Hot monkey love inuendo. Live with it.
Overall Rating: 80% (Action!)
Aftertaste: The second-last film of Buster Keaton's silent career is one of his most renowned. If you ask me, his earlier stuff is still better, that which he directed himself. Maybe it's my penchant for the indie underdog, or maybe it's the insane inventions like those in The Boat or The 'High Sign' that make me long for his own unique slant on things. What a guy...
This completes my study of Buster Keaton. No way am I watching his terrible talkies which will only make me feel worse. So, that's it, no more.
Stop cheering, I heard that.