Sunday, July 09, 2006

College (1927)

These two frames tell it all. He love his mother, but he loves balls more.

Genre: Silent Sport Comedy

Starring: Buster Keaton (Seven Chances; Steamboat Bill Jr.)

Directed By: James W. Horne (Way Out West)

Overview: A scholarly, not at all athletically inclined boy heads off to college, juggling his time between keeping a job, track and field, baseball and rowing tryouts and impressing a girl.

Acting: It seems pretty obvious to me that this was directed by someone other than Buster Keaton. It's not as full of energy and that special zing that Buster brings to the screen. I gather that if it were up to him, he'd be more wild. He's fine here too, but we hardly get to experience what he's capable of.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: I gather that if it were up to him, Buster would have more inventions, more stunts, more quirky little moments. Yes, there's a couple cool scenes like wearing the rowing rudder when it breaks and pole-vaulting to save the damsel, but there wasn't any of that special unique Keaton-ness that I'm accustomed to.
Rating: 7

Script: There's quite a bit of dialogue in this one. For as much as a scene can be perfectly set comedically for the pantomime, speeches should be kept at a minimum, especially if you're here to see Slapstick. I'm used to seeing this guy as a stuntman, not an orator. During said speech at the beginning, I was hoping the joke would be worth the wait. It certainly wasn't, and he didn't even fall out of a window after or nuthin'!
Rating: 6

Plot: The plot is thin as Slapstick always is, but at least its versatile. There's work, there's getting picked on by jocks and there's sports galore to get clumsy around. There's a girl, there's strife, tests and quests. As plots go, this is better than most romantic comedies, but yeah, nothing intricate.
Rating: 7

Mood: This ain't no City Lights, for character development and important depth, but it's cute and light. I'll say again that the energy is not as present as in pretty much everything else he's ever done... Fine I'll say it, I'll say it! It's not his best work! Are you happy now? It's cute, it's fun, but all the time spent yawin' or meeting with the Dean could have been spent hurting himself!
Rating: 7

Secret in-field code for stick the umbrella up your nose.

Overall Rating: 68% (You'll Need To Be Held Back Another Year)

Aftertaste: If you're into Keaton as much I am, you'll see this, but if you just want to see the best of, this is certainly not one of them. Try watching something he directed himself. Granted this 'James W. Horne' went on to direct many Laurel and Hardy films, but since I haven't really seen any of those yet, I can just say that he doesn't mesh well enough with Keaton, who directs himself better than anyone else could.