USA | 1928 | 67 mins + short | Unrated
Long after the silent era waned, MGM employed its 1928 masterpiece THE CAMERAMAN as a training film for the studio’s writers—the studio knew then, as we do now, that THE CAMERAMAN was a rare specimen, a straightforward, transcendent, and timeless “perfect comedy.” Featuring the “Great Stone Face”—Buster Keaton—in top form, it was swan song for its creator, and arguably, for silent comedy as a whole.
Keaton plays an out-of-step sidewalk tintype portraitist, who after developing a crush on a woman (Marceline Day) working for MGM’s Newsreel Department, endeavours to become a bona fide cameraman to impress her. With a quickness in his step, and substantial ingenuity, Buster captures the calamity of the streets—including the Tong War in Los Angeles’s Chinatown—yet mechanical tribulations get in the way of his dream. Not to fear, after teaming up with the resurrected monkey of an organ grinder (played by the silent era’s greatest simian performer, Josephine the Capuchin), Buster has a chance to capture the footage that can save his nascent career and win him the girl.
Few silent films get as “meta” as this—with Keaton and director Edward Sedgwick using THE CAMERAMAN to comment on the perils of the movie industry, while also celebrating the indescribable and unpredictable magic that happens in front of the camera. – ALICIA FLETCHER
Director: Edward Sedgwick
Cast: Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Josephine the Capuchin
Featuring live accompaniment by William O’Meara
Silent Revue is curated by Alicia Fletcher
Silent Revue is sponsored by Hollywood Suite.
General Admission: $17
Loyalty Members/Child/Senior/Student: $14
Individual/Family Members: FREE
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