Reviewing All Of Buster’s MGM Features

This is my own entry for the Eighth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon. I hope you enjoy!

When Buster Keaton went through the transition from silents to talkies, as all fans know it wasn’t smooth–he was talked into giving up his studio and moving to the fancy megastudio MGM, and basically had to adapt to being treated as an actor, not a filmmaker. His personal battles behind the scenes with alcoholism and his failing marriage are also well known to fans, and it’s safe to say that all of the above can…color our opinions of his MGM films (to put it mildly). Of the nine features Buster starred in from 1928-1933, the seven talkies in particular are often dismissed as inept embarrassments for someone who made so many silent classics.

Aaaand images like this don’t help.

So I guess this is my segue into saying: I’m now going to give mini reviews of all his MGMs!

To be clear, I’m going to examine some of the differences between the MGMs and his independent films but I’m also going to try to review them more objectively. Too often we Buster fans seek out the MGMs just to scrutinize every frame for evidence of inferiority to his silent pictures, gawking at the sad beatdown of our creative genius and basically wallowing in whatever misery we feel we can detect onscreen–not really watching them just as movies. This mindset’s hard to escape, it’s true, but it doesn’t hurt to look at the MGMs for what they were–popular films that were pretty similar to other popular films from the time.

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MGM Blogathon: On Buster Keaton’s “The Cameraman” (1928)

Welcome MGM blogathon readers!  I am thrilled to see you here, and invite you to take a look around!

In 1928, the movie industry was changing.  Not just from silence to sound–that much we all remember–but from increasingly from independent studios to big companies.  These companies had the means and the know-how to churn out products that were bright, slick and full to the brim with mass appeal.

Such a bright, slick studio was MGM.  In 1928, MGM was only four years old.  But with blockbusters like Ben-Hur (1925) and Flesh and the Devil (1926) under its belt, enormous budgets and a roster of the biggest stars on the screen, this Superstudio was already the wealthiest one in Hollywoodland.

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