Buster Keaton at work
"According to Eleanor Keaton, Keaton's work methods rarely included writing anything down. Instead he would sit and work out entire routines in his head, or silently pantomime his way through a sketch over and over. Most comedians keep records of gags and jokes, even whole filing rooms that look like the back room at a bank where clerks toil, but Keaton only kept bags of props and his own mental filing system.
He was known to break down segments of a routine by timing it against pop music which he would listen to over a radio while working on a routine, editing the timing to flow like a piece of music.
Keaton liked to experiment and tinker with routines, and this attitude was what he utilized in making films, something he learned from his personal friend film comedian "Fatty" Arbuckle, who Keaton treated as a mentor on how to make a movie.
Keaton took physical risks in making his films that went well beyond just dedication. During the making of Sherlock Jr., he actually broke his neck, and without knowing it continued to work in pain, the break not being detected for years. He nearly drowned in Our Hospitality. He broke other bones in various films, but had a physical resilience that rarely slowed him down on set, where he would usually finish a scene in one take, would continue to improvise a scene if it had gone wrong, thus sometimes using material that was made up on camera."
From Buster Keaton: Stoic Sphinx with a Porkpie Hat
Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball
View photo image enlarged
Buster Keaton and Anita Page
Some good Buster Keaton resources:
Original Page June 29, 2014
- The Stand In - 1937 - Leslie Howard, Bogart and Blondell
- The Black Book - 1949 - Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl
- Who Done It? - 1942
- The Viking Queen - 1967
- Little Miss Marker - 1934
- Get Out - 2017
- Man's Favorite Sport
- Braveheart 1995
- Bringing Up Baby - 1938
- The Comedy of Terrors - 1963
- Day of Anger - 1967
- Central Park - 1932 - Joan Blondell has trouble on her hands when she gets suckered into helping a gangster to rob a charity event. Though this film stars Joan and Wallace Ford, it also features the American Great Depression which is the background for the hunger and desperation that flavors the film.
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial