Peter Bogdanovich’s loving tribute to Buster Keaton and his silent films, whose comic masterpieces informed generations of filmmakers.
A giant of early Hollywood, Buster Keaton was born into physical comedy. The enormous influence of his globally beloved silent films can be seen in the physicality of Tom and Jerry and Simpson cartoons, and the latest Spiderman film.
A lifelong Keaton fan, director Peter Bogdanovich weaves together great archive and testimonials from the likes of Werner Herzog, Quentin Tarantino and Mel Brooks, to examine Keaton’s rise, fall and rise again. Bogdanovich lovingly narrates how Keaton’s love of mechanical invention, and physical bravado were instrumental in his most celebrated scenes. He traces Keaton from his prolific period making independent films in the 1920s through an ignominious stint making talkies for MGM, to the blossoming of a late career doing a wide range of projects, many of them celebrating his early genius.
As Jackass star and fan Johnny Knoxville notes, “It’s amazing how timeless he is and how that type of physical comedy will never be unfunny. It was funny then, it is funny now, and it will be funny in 100 years. How many filmmakers can you say that about?”