Close Up

6 - 27 September 2015: Close-Up on Buster Keaton


Following the restoration and re-release this September of Steamboat Bill, Jr., we are delighted to present 17 films, shorts and features by American cinema pioneer Buster Keaton.

The Frozen North
Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
1922 | 23 min | B/W | 35mm

Buster Keaton uproariously lampoons the melodramas of William S. Hart, and the highly stylised and absurd conventions of Twenties Western epics, who finds himself in the frozen north, "last stop on the subway". read more

James W. Horne
1927 | 65 min | B/W | 35mm

When collegiate bookworm Keaton falls for a pretty co-ed who only has eye for jocks, he hits the playing fields in a series of wildly hilarious attempts to win her. At first he's all thumbs, but by the end of the picture, when he hears the campus bully is forcing himself upon her, Keaton jumps a pond, hurdles row after row of high bushes and pole-vaults through a second story window of the women's dorm to save her. read more

One Week
Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline
1920 | 25 min | B/W | Digital

Keaton and his new bride have one week to build a house from an assemble-it-yourself pre-fab kit before their housewarming celebration scheduled for Friday the 13th. However a rival has changed the numbers on the home components!  read more

Sherlock Jr.
Buster Keaton
1924 | 45 min | B/W | Digital

Keaton plays a film projectionist who daydreams himself into the films he is showing. While dreaming he is Conan Doyle's master detective, and snoops out brilliant discoveries. read more

The General
Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
1926 | 79 min | B/W | Digital

Many critics consider The General to be the last great comedy of the silent era. Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is also an authentic looking period piece. The title refers not to Keaton's character, but to his engine, "The General". Keaton portrays the engineer Johnnie Gray, who is rejected by the Confederate Army and then suffers the further humiliation of his girlfriend thinking him a coward. When a small band of Union soldiers penetrate far beyond Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, Johnnie Gray sets off in hot pursuit. read more

The Balloonatic
Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
1923 | 23 min | B/W | 35mm

Buster Keaton rises to new heights as he sails heavenward in a balloon. He bumps into clouds, and in trying to bring down a duck, punctures the gas bag and crashes in the woods where he saves Phyllis Haver from a bear and falls in love. read more

The Navigator
Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton
1924 | 60 min | B/W | 35mm

A comedy in which Keaton and his sweetheart are cast adrift on a deserted ocean liner. The ship runs aground on a desert island, where the two unfortunates are chased by cannibals. read more

The Boat
Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline
1921 | 20 min | B/W | 35mm

Keaton builds a boat called "The Damfino" in his basement only to run afoul of Murphy's Law. As he pulls the boat out of the basement, the house falls down. He then rides the boat out at harbour and it sinks. There begin the hilarious adventures Keaton has with the restored boat. read more

The Three Ages
Buster Keaton
1923 | 60 min | B/W | Digital

Inspired by D.W. Griffith's Intolerance, Keaton stars in this comedy in which two young men compete for the same girl in different epochs: the Stone Age, Ancient Rome, and America during Prohibition. read more

The Goat
Buster Keaton
1921 | 20 min | B/W | Digital

A mistaken identity crisis precipitates a continuously brilliant chase through two adjoining towns, where Keaton is taken for "Deadeye Dan, Public Enemy". read more

Seven Chances
Buster Keaton
1925 | 58 min | B/W | Digital

Keaton gets word that if he can be married by seven o'clock that evening, he will inherit $7 million. When his sweetheart refuses, he proposes to everyone in skirts, including a Scotsman! Hopeful still, he advertises for a bride and is horrified to discover five hundred would be brides hot on his trail in a hilarious chase to the finish. read more

Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
1922 | 20 min | B/W | Digital

A wonderful example of Buster Keaton's film artistry. A carefully orchestrated series of gags in which he plays an innocent who tries to impress his girl by attempting to become a tycoon, winding up inextricably caught in a police parade, which breaks up to pursue him. read more

Battling Butler
Buster Keaton
1926 | 68 min | B/W | Digital

Based on the Broadway play, the story revolves around a case of mistaken identity between two Alfred Butlers – one a millionaire, the other a heavyweight champion of the world. Coincidence brings them to the same backwoods Kentucky neighbourhood, where Butler-the-Fop finds love with a mountain girl, but not before antagonising Butler-the-Brute into a Madison Square Gardens grudge match. read more

The Haunted House
Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
1921 | 20 min | B/W | 35mm

Bank teller Keaton spills glue on his money, gets himself accused of robbery and winds up in a haunted house full of spooky devices. read more

Our Hospitality
Jack Blystone, Buster Keaton
1923 | 70 min | B/W | 35mm

The respective heads of the Canfield and McKay families try to settle an old score, but by killing each other, they merely perpetuate the old feud. Among the many gags is the train ride that zig-zags around obstacles, a wild chase through the mountains and a hair raising rescue at a waterfall. read more

The Playhouse
Buster Keaton
1921 | 20 min | B/W | Digital

Buster Keaton plays every part in this brilliant comedy about a vaudeville house, including simultaneously playing all eight musicians in a minstrel show! One of the most extraordinary films of this period. read more

Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Charles Riesner
1928 | 71 min | B/W | Digital

Muddy Waters is a two-boat town – much to the chagrin of their respective proprietors. Local fat cat J. J. King operates the plush new paddle steamer, the King, and he is determined to put his rival out of business. Steamboat Bill is his unlucky target; a grizzled old sailor with a vessel to match: the Stonewall Jackson is a rotted-out hulk that'll need a miracle to compete with King's floating palace. Bill thinks his prayers are answered when he learns that his long-estranged son is returning home from college in Boston, but he's sorely disappointed when it becomes apparent that Steamboat Bill, Jr. is not the man his father expects him to be. Urbane, shaky on his sea legs and – worst of all – sweet for King's daughter, Junior might just be hopeless enough to sink the Stonewall Jackson for good. But when Steamboat Bill, Sr. lands himself in jail and a destructive storm sweeps through Muddy Waters, Junior gets an opportunity to prove himself a hero. read more