Buster Keaton

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The Garage

The Garage was Buster's fourteenth and last short with Roscoe Arbuckle, released about four months after Back Stage. Like many of Arbuckle's two-reelers, it consists of two mostly disconnected halves. Fatty and Buster work in a garage owned by Rube (Daniel Crimmins) in the first half, and the garage is also a firehouse staffed by Fatty and Buster in the second half. Most of it is not particularly funny, but it has some wonderful physical comedy, mostly involving Buster. Fatty takes a nice fall too (2:10), but his character is undeveloped. The love interest, Rube's daughter Molly (Molly Malone), relates to neither Fatty nor Buster.

Borrowing a gag used by Buster in The Bell Boy, The Garage opens with Fatty polishing the window of a car, which Fatty then reaches through to show it does not exist (0:25). Soon he and Buster are throwing wet rags, buckets of water, pies, and tires at one another (2:00), resulting in predictable pratfalls. Their use of a large motorized turntable to wash and dry a car (4:00) is not particularly funny, but it establishes the prop for later. After Fatty walks on the rotating turntable (8:50), Buster performs a spectacular sequence on it: somersault, backflip, backflip/roll off turntable into wall, back onto turntable for another somersault and backflip, finally running on the turntable until Fatty tackles him (9:00).

Too much of The Garage is uninspired: a rented car falls apart as soon as it leaves the garage (4:30), oil from a car covers Molly and her beau (6:45), a fake mad dog is chased with large nets (10:00), a fire starts in the garage/firehouse (15:30) leading to silly business with a leaky hose (16:00), and Molly bounces atop telephone wires (17:30). Firemen Buster and Fatty set up an elaborate mechanical rope and pulley system to remove their bedclothes and nightshirts when a firebell rings (14:00), but the gag feels forced, less amusing than Buster moments earlier acrobatically pulling himself up the firepole upside down (13:40). One odd cinematic moment is reminiscent of the breaking of the fourth wall in Fatty's early shorts: when Fatty's face gets smeared with oil, Buster leads him right up to the camera before he wipes him off (6:15).

Buster gets stuck in a fence during the mad dog chase and the dog bites the seat of Buster's pants (10:45). Pantless Buster dons a barrel, but the barrel breaks, leaving a passing lady aghast, and she brings in a cop. Buster dons a paper kilt and tam cut from a poster to convince the cop he's a kilted scot, but then spins around to reveal no pants under his 2D kilt. Fatty rescues Buster from the persuing cop with their best joint moment: Buster walks very close behind Fatty in step with him (12:25), then Fatty performs a perfectly executed sidestep and spin to move behind Buster. Finally, Buster grabs a pair of pants while passing a store, and when Fatty lifts him as they walk he puts them on without pausing.


The Garage

The Garage was Buster's fourteenth and last short with Roscoe Arbuckle, released about four months after Back Stage. Like many of Arbuckle's two-reelers, it consists of two mostly disconnected halves. Fatty and Buster work in a garage owned by Rube (Daniel Crimmins) in the first half, and the garage is also a firehouse staffed by Fatty and Buster in the second half. Most of it is not particularly funny, but it has some wonderful physical comedy, mostly involving Buster. Fatty takes a nice fall too (2:10), but his character is undeveloped. The love interest, Rube's daughter Molly (Molly Malone), relates to neither Fatty nor Buster.

Borrowing a gag used by Buster in The Bell Boy, The Garage opens with Fatty polishing the window of a car, which Fatty then reaches through to show it does not exist (0:25). Soon he and Buster are throwing wet rags, buckets of water, pies, and tires at one another (2:00), resulting in predictable pratfalls. Their use of a large motorized turntable to wash and dry a car (4:00) is not particularly funny, but it establishes the prop for later. After Fatty walks on the rotating turntable (8:50), Buster performs a spectacular sequence on it: somersault, backflip, backflip/roll off turntable into wall, back onto turntable for another somersault and backflip, finally running on the turntable until Fatty tackles him (9:00).

Too much of The Garage is uninspired: a rented car falls apart as soon as it leaves the garage (4:30), oil from a car covers Molly and her beau (6:45), a fake mad dog is chased with large nets (10:00), a fire starts in the garage/firehouse (15:30) leading to silly business with a leaky hose (16:00), and Molly bounces atop telephone wires (17:30). Firemen Buster and Fatty set up an elaborate mechanical rope and pulley system to remove their bedclothes and nightshirts when a firebell rings (14:00), but the gag feels forced, less amusing than Buster moments earlier acrobatically pulling himself up the firepole upside down (13:40). One odd cinematic moment is reminiscent of the breaking of the fourth wall in Fatty's early shorts: when Fatty's face gets smeared with oil, Buster leads him right up to the camera before he wipes him off (6:15).

Buster gets stuck in a fence during the mad dog chase and the dog bites the seat of Buster's pants (10:45). Pantless Buster dons a barrel, but the barrel breaks, leaving a passing lady aghast, and she brings in a cop. Buster dons a paper kilt and tam cut from a poster to convince the cop he's a kilted scot, but then spins around to reveal no pants under his 2D kilt. Fatty rescues Buster from the persuing cop with their best joint moment: Buster walks very close behind Fatty in step with him (12:25), then Fatty performs a perfectly executed sidestep and spin to move behind Buster. Finally, Buster grabs a pair of pants while passing a store, and when Fatty lifts him as they walk he puts them on without pausing.


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