Fans of The Artist may enjoy the antics of comedic film star Buster Keaton.
Raised performing vaudeville with his parents, Keaton's big break came in 1917 when he appeared in "Fatty" Arbuckle's The Butcher Boy. By the 1920s, Keaton had his own studio. Inspired by Mathew Brady's Civil War photographs, Keaton wrote and starred in The General - often considered the best film of its era. His last role was Erronius in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum which premiered seven months after his death in 1966.
Other Keaton favorites available at the Library include:
- Our Hospitality includes Sherlock, Jr.
- Go West includes The Scarecrow and The Paleface
- Steamboat Bill, Jr. includes Convict 13 and Daydreams
The Buster Keaton Collection includes Camerman, Spite Marriage, Free and Easy (Keaton's first talkie) and So Funny It Hurt (documentary).
Keaton and his fellow actors remind us that silent films are anything but silent when the audience's laughter is the soundtrack!
Harold Lloyd was another great silent film star. His film "Safety Last," where he hangs on the hands of a clock outside a tall building, was part of another one of this year's Oscar nominated films, Hugo. Check out the Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Volume 1 DVD set from DPL for some early, live action, hair-raising stunts along with laugh-out-loud comedy.
Thanks Janet! Any favorite silent film stars for women's history month?
Two names come to mind: Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford. I don't know much about their silent film careers, just that they were big names. Lillian Gish's career continued into talkies and even TV. We have books and some of her movies on DVD.
Mary Pickford was one of the founders of United Artists and was married to Douglas Fairbanks. Reading a short bio of her, I found that she and Douglas Fairbanks hosted dinner parties that included the likes of George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, H. G. Wells, Lord Mountbatten, Amelia Earhart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Noël Coward, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I kind of wish that Woody Allen would adapt his Midnight in Paris theme to dramatize some of those dinner parties!
Thanks Janet! I also like Clara Bow - the original "It" girl. The Library just purchased a re-release of her film Wings which was the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1928.
Wings was the first silent film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, and The Artist was the second silent film to win Best Picture, just this year. And now we have come full circle - from the first Oscar award to the most recent, and worked in 3 of this year's nominees: The Artist, Hugo and Midnight in Paris. Nice!
A lot of Keaton's films (if not most of them) are public domain too, which means you can check them out at archive.org if the library doesn't have a DVD available
Thanks Andrew, it is a cool site. I found the link to the The Butcher Boy mentioned above:
Let's not forget Joan Crawford in The Unknown with Lon Chaney!