Steely And Seely: On Two By Buster Keaton

The short (and silent) Buster Keaton flick, One Week (1920), revolves around Buster and his bride (Sybil Seely) building their first house from a do-it-yourself kit, saddled by a sabotage effort from an obnoxious old flame.  Keaton’s comedies are not only funny, they’re adventurous, for Keaton is so often on the precipice, life and limb almost lost.  Through it all, the wife he loves is at his side—and she loves him—and both of them summon delectable mirth.

Also from 1920, Convict 13 is not as good but still pleasurable—weirdly so.  For a long time I thought the 21-minute lark contained too much coarse criminal violence, but—well—it doesn’t.  The ending proves it.  Again Keaton has vigor to spare, and Seely’s in this one too, though with less personality.

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