"It's said that Chaplin wanted you to like him, but Keaton didn't care. I think he cared, but was too proud to ask. His films avoid the pathos and sentiment of the Chaplin pictures, and usually feature a jaunty young man who sees an objective and goes for it in the face of the most daunting obstacles. Buster survives tornados, waterfalls, avalanches of boulders, and falls from great heights, and never pauses to take a bow: He has his eye on his goal. And his movies, seen as a group, are like a sustained act of optimism in the face of adversity; surprising, how without asking, he earns our admiration and tenderness." - Roger Ebert
A lot of time has been spent covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute. And they can do so while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
In the 1920s, the burgeoning movie industry was starting to come into its own. Alongside actor and director Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton was at the peak of Hollywood. It's no surprise that Keaton was so effective in silent films. He had been practicing comedy in his family's vaudeville acts as "The Little Boy Who Can't Be Damaged", and became a popular performer by the age of five. Indeed, his physical form of comedy, which initially involved having his father throw him around the stage, translated well onto the screen. Some of his slapstick and other comic gags remain legendary even today, in part because Keaton practiced his own stunts. In fact, Keaton wrote his own material, and was a crucial comic influence on acts like The Marx Brothers and The Three Stooges.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes. Most people know little of Keaton's life. This listen is an eye opener.
What other book might you compare American Legends: The Life of Buster Keaton to and why?
Which scene was your favorite?
Willingness to experiment with new approaches.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Comedians are geniuses too.
Any additional comments?
Well worth the listen.