BLOGATHON UPDATE: The Third Annual Busterthon Is Almost Here!

Silent-ology’s grand Buster celebration is a little over a week away, everyone!! Are you as excited as I am?!

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Quite a few bloggers have signed up for this event, and since 2017 is a special year I’ve gone all out and decided that Silent-ology will be holding not one, not two, but three drawings for all blogathon participants! (The hundred-year anniversary of Buster entering films ain’t happening again, folks!) Here are the prizes: Continue reading

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Third Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon–Celebrating 100 Years Of Buster!

My friends, I’m thrilled to announce:

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I’m thrilled not just because this is a fantastic annual event celebrating one of the finest, most beloved comedians who ever walked this earth, but because 2017 marks 100 years since Buster first entered the movies on that fateful day in NYC back in 1917. That makes this blogathon an extra special one, and frankly, I’ve been waiting for it for years. Continue reading

Josie, Lige, “Pimple,” And Other Uber Obscure Silent Comedians

 

While many people are familiar with only a handful of big names, the world of silent comedy was a vast, dizzying hurricane of one- and two-reelers starring folk of every conceivable size, shape, and level of talent. A great many tried and a great many failed to win themselves a coveted spot on the “Beloved Performers Who Will Be Immortal” list.

…Well, Billy Dooley tried.

If you are a fan of silent comedy, you already know all those big names: Charlie, Buster, Harold, Mabel, Roscoe (not “Fatty,” mind you), and so on. If you are a buff, you probably also know Max, Lupino, Snub, Ford, and so on. And you also never to call Roscoe “Fatty.”

But what of all those other names? Who were some of the really obscure comedians from those far-off days when automobiles were finally catching on? Many of them are lucky if a handful of their shorts survive. But while the Immortals such as Charlie and Buster were certainly very popular back in the day, at one time these forgotten people had fanbases of their own (some smaller than others).  Continue reading

The Villains of D.W. Griffith Films

It’s pretty common knowledge that director D.W. Griffith, one of the Biggest of all the Big Names of the silent era, was a huge influence on fellow filmmakers. Not only in the technical skills department (contrary to popular myth, he didn’t invent closeups, crosscutting, etc., but he did utilize them wonderfully well), but also in regards to storytelling and popular movie tropes–such as character archetypes.

Pure hearted heroes, damsels in distress, coldhearted landlords, strict fathers, brash young sons, gentle mothers, heroic soldiers, faithful servants, cowardly soldiers, noble American Indians, ruthless gangsters–you name ’em, out of the 500 (!) or so films Griffith directed from the 1900s to the early 1930s, he included ’em all.

Directing Henry B. Walthall in Death’s Marathon (1913).

Continue reading

Thoughts On: “Le Roi des Champs-Elysees” (1934)

This is  my own contribution to the Second Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon. I hope you enjoy!

Buster Keaton fans are well aware of his much-discussed, sometimes-derided 1930s MGM talkies (and more than a little of that derision came from Buster himself). Speak Easily, Doughboys, and Sidewalks of New York are a few of the titles that pop up in conversation after online conversation–features that used the multi-talented director Keaton solely as an actor, and showed it.

But if there’s one Keaton feature that’s rarely discussed, either by fans or historians, it’s Le Roi des Champs-Élysées (1934). This independent French film was made about a year after Keaton was dismissed from MGM Studios. The sad story of that dismissal is all too familiar to fans–a slow downward spiral of unhappiness at work and unhappiness at home, and the bottom of bottle after bottle. But if there was ever a sign of hope in those dark, frightening months of blackouts and sanitariums, it can be found in this overlooked film.  Continue reading

Buster Blogathon UPDATE! (A Prize Drawing…And More!)

Only ten days until the Second Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon!! Are you getting as excited as I am?!

Although NO ONE’S as excited as Buster clearly is in this photo!

I’m doubly excited about what I’m about to share right now. You might remember that in my original announcement post I mentioned a drawing for all the blogathon participants. Well, I’ve got the details for you–and how! Continue reading

What’s Your Silent “Gateway Film”?

We silent fans all know a certain type of person. This is that person who, when you share your deep and abiding love of movies made before the Great Depression, chortles incredulously. When he realizes you’re being serious, he tries to feign interest in your quaint obsession with cobbled-together Victorian melodramas (as he assumes) and nods obligingly as you try to find words to describe the wonder and excitement of that pioneering era. (This is always when regular ol’ words fail you, too.)

You probably know more than one of these people. Okay, quite a few of these people. Alright, just about everyone you come into contact with during your daily life. 

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I feel ya, classical statue.

What to do, then, when you’re aching to share your passion for movies that most uninitiated friends and family dismiss with an eyeroll? Continue reading

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Second Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon!

Because good news can never be shared too early, I am psyched–simply psyched–to be announcing:

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It’s back! Once again I would like to extend a warm invitation to movie-loving bloggers to pay tribute to the one and only Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton, our solemn-faced funmaker in the flat hat. Buster’s work has not only delighted generations of fans from around the world, but has inspired countless filmmakers, from Martin Scorsese to Werner Herzog to the fine folk at Pixar. He is one of our most beloved screen legends, and this February we’re going to celebrate his legacy. Continue reading

A Hearty Thank You!

Blogathon 1 buster eleanor thank youMe and a very elated Buster and Eleanor want to thank all of you for the rousing success that was First Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon!!

Bloggers, you rock. Your participation and all your hard work are appreciated 1000%. I’m sure Buster is doing an “aw shucks” routine somewhere up there.

Readers, thank you so much for taking the time to read our work and help celebrate one of the geniuses of comedy (and I know a lot of you are still dropping by–it’s been quite a turnout!).

And happily, this is only the beginning–the start of an annual tradition that I’m happy to host. With that in mind, fellow bloggers, see you all next year!

p.s. Kudos to my friend Bob Borgen for sharing this incredible photo with a group of us FB Buster fans!