KEATON: The Sllent Features Close Up by Daniel Moews

KEATON: The Sllent Features Close Up

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The nine independent feature films that Buster Keaton made between 1923 and 1928 ""can be taken seriously,"" we are informed by the author, and he proceeds to do just that in this long and pretentious homage. Moews has many theories, and he will go to any length to make Keaton's films fit them. He has many unpleasant things to say about critics who find what he feels to be too much meaning in these films; they contain ""no serious ideas,"" he contends. This doesn't stop him from comparing Keaton to Dostoevsky, T.S. Eliot, Shelley, Hesse, and Shakespeare, though, or from expostulating on the ""transcendental elements"" in Steamboat Bill Jr. The author prides himself on his accuracy, but one questions the value of a five-page, frame-by-frame description of a chase sequence that lasts only a fraction of the time it takes to read about; even the author admits that it makes ""very hard reading."" And do we really need to know that ""trains appear in eight of the nine features""? The range of critical analysis in this study runs from the obvious to the ridiculous, and it is not helped by Moews' self-consciously ""cute"" style. This one should have been left on the cutting room floor.

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 1976
Publisher: Univ. of California Press