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Film (1965)
Topic Started: Mar 8 2017, 08:16 PM (207 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Film (1965) Dir. by Alan Schneider
Written by Samuel Beckett
Starring Buster Keaton, a puppy, and a kitten
Milestone Films
24 min. / B&W / 1.37:1 / Silent, for the most part

An old man who can't see too well is stalked by a camera, and no wonder: it's horrifying his neighbors. The old man fears the camera so much he develops a pathological fear of eyeballs and so covers up his fish, his parrot, his mirror, and puts out the cat and dog (well, at least tries to) from his ramshackle apartment. He opens a folder containing pictures of himself at various stages in life, says goodbye to all that, and then something happens to him but we'll all have to interpret what that is. You know, Beckett.

Surprisingly good film, shot in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge we're told. Keaton was the fifth choice to star (Chaplin was first) and he didn't want to do it (he doubtlessly didn't understand the script) and his wife had to talk him into it. Nevertheless, he's terrific in it, and although he didn't mesh well with Mr. Beckett (who was on-set for the entire shoot) he gives a memorable performance and yes, there are some laughs in it, particularly the sequence where he "puts out" the pets and a scene where he ducks a window to avoid being seen - a window nobody could possibly ever see through.

As mentioned, the film is nearly completely silent and there's no music, either, which is appropriate, all things considered. It's flaky for sure, but some kind of a classic.

The Milestone Blu-ray is terrific, gorgeous restoration. Includes nearly 9 min. of outtakes of Keaton trying to (a) put out the dog and the cat, and (b) keep his back to the camera per the script, and failing miserably at both tasks. And most interestingly, it includes a full (more than an hour and 40 min.) version of a TV version from the 1950s of Waiting for Godot, with Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith! Watched a little of it, the opening intro is rough (looks like cheap video) but the play itself is excellent. Highly recommended disc.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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CliffClaven
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Balcony Gang, Foist Class
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Laughing Gravy
Mar 8 2017, 08:16 PM
Posted Image

Film (1965) Dir. by Alan Schneider
Written by Samuel Beckett
Starring Buster Keaton, a puppy, and a kitten
Milestone Films
24 min. / B&W / 1.37:1 / Silent, for the most part

An old man who can't see too well is stalked by a camera, and no wonder: it's horrifying his neighbors. The old man fears the camera so much he develops a pathological fear of eyeballs and so covers up his fish, his parrot, his mirror, and puts out the cat and dog (well, at least tries to) from his ramshackle apartment. He opens a folder containing pictures of himself at various stages in life, says goodbye to all that, and then something happens to him but we'll all have to interpret what that is. You know, Beckett.

Surprisingly good film, shot in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge we're told. Keaton was the fifth choice to star (Chaplin was first) and he didn't want to do it (he doubtlessly didn't understand the script) and his wife had to talk him into it. Nevertheless, he's terrific in it, and although he didn't mesh well with Mr. Beckett (who was on-set for the entire shoot) he gives a memorable performance and yes, there are some laughs in it, particularly the sequence where he "puts out" the pets and a scene where he ducks a window to avoid being seen - a window nobody could possibly ever see through.

As mentioned, the film is nearly completely silent and there's no music, either, which is appropriate, all things considered. It's flaky for sure, but some kind of a classic.

The Milestone Blu-ray is terrific, gorgeous restoration. Includes nearly 9 min. of outtakes of Keaton trying to (a) put out the dog and the cat, and (b) keep his back to the camera per the script, and failing miserably at both tasks. And most interestingly, it includes a full (more than an hour and 40 min.) version of a TV version from the 1950s of Waiting for Godot, with Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith! Watched a little of it, the opening intro is rough (looks like cheap video) but the play itself is excellent. Highly recommended disc.
"Notes on a Cowardly Lion" by John Lahr details Bert Lahr's battles with the same director on a production of "Waiting For Godot", bizarrely premiered in Miami and promoted as a laugh riot (Tom Ewell costarred).

Lahr was fascinated with the play despite a seeming distrust of egghead stuff. It was restaged in New York with a new director and a new costar (E.G. Marshall) and fared somewhat better.

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