WolfmanOz at the Movies #4


Well we could probably do with a bit of cheering up now.

So, to get the smile on our faces let’s look at a film that’s 100 years old this year!

Buster Keaton’s comedy short Cops tells the tale of a man who inadvertently is mistaken for a terrorist at a police parade and is chased all over town by the entire Los Angeles Police Department.

I vividly remember first seeing this over 40 years ago at uni as part of a double-bill with The General, Keaton’s marvelous feature length US Civil War comedy.

Both movies had the student audience in fits of laughter throughout and after each film had finished, a spontaneous standing ovation was given. In fact, an encore of Cops was shown again to rapturous enjoyment by all.

The attached 6 minute clip is a procession of hilariously inventive and impeccable timed physical comedy that is still a wonder to behold.

https://youtu.be/HpgMkN8l6UU

As long as people enjoy movies, then there will always be a special place for the titans of silent comedy in Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Enjoy.

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bemused
bemused
January 13, 2022 8:55 am

I haven’t been to a cinema in a t least 20 years, found them to actually destroy any pleasure that watching a movie on the big screen might offer. Dirty, noisy stupidly expensive venues.

I also think the days of Hollywood producing entertaining movies is well past. They are now mostly super hero, woke, lecturing or just cookie cutter films that hardly deviate from a theme. Disney has a lot to answer for when it comes to producing crap.

I much prefer to watch movies made in the 50s/60s.

A good overview of current movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AiH613dm9Q&t=29s.

Dot
Dot
January 13, 2022 8:59 am

Mr Keaton, on or around April 11,2020, did you buy pizza and in fact eat that pizza in greater western Sydney whilst in a car with three other occupants?

Mr Keaton, did you with two Islamic bothers, on around September 24 2021, buy masks from a servo at Guildford, then get beaten up by 20 or so police officers?

Cassie of Sydney
January 13, 2022 9:19 am

“As long as people enjoy movies, then there will always be a special place for the titans of silent comedy in Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.”

My two favourites are Laurel and Hardy but they were all geniuses…..Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy.

I once enjoyed going to the movies and still would if I thought there was a movie worth seeing……but now all we get is mediocre, sanctimonious, patronising and progressive drivel. No thanks.

Mother Lode
Mother Lode
January 13, 2022 9:27 am

I draw a sort of mental line at about 2010. After that I assume it will be laden with politics or political bias and I have to look into it more carefully. Anything since 2019 I expect to be garbage – not just replete with forced messaging, but frankly very poorly written and directed.

Comedy has really taken a pounding.

I like this youtube clip comparing how the same scene was done in the original Ghostbusters and the 2016 version. It details a lot of what has gone wrong.

Cassie of Sydney
January 13, 2022 9:29 am

“I will definitely have a post on these 2 dear men sometime in the future.”

Yes please.

One of my favourite comedies is It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, made in 1962 or 1963. There are cameos galore in it. One of the cameos was written for Stan Laurel but Stan declined because he refused to ever work again after the death of his partner Ollie. Buster Keaton was also offered a cameo but he refused due to health reasons.

areff
areff
January 13, 2022 10:28 am

Buster’s last role.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ7rhB9OYTA

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 1967

bemused
bemused
January 13, 2022 10:55 am

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

That just reminded me that you couldn’t make a movie like that or anything similar (Monty Python, Carry On etc) anymore, as no one would dare do so for fear of offending the woke crowd.

Roger
Roger
January 13, 2022 11:08 am

Keaton was a pioneer of movie comedy.

Many of his trademark stunts have been repeated by directors down to present times.

This short video is also worth watching: Buster Keaton – The Art of the Gag

Lots of laughs to be had in those old B & W films.

Lee
Lee
January 13, 2022 12:15 pm

My two favourites are Laurel and Hardy

Mine too, Cassie.

but they were all geniuses…..Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy.

Agreed.

Cassie, did you know that most of the second reel of one of L&H’s most famous short films, The Battle of the Century (1927), was thought lost for nearly sixty years, until it was rediscovered in 2015?

This reel was mostly taken up with the famous mass street pie fight, which was previously thought only to survive in a heavily edited and truncated three minute version used in an early 1960s L&H compilation film.

The first reel (minus about two minutes at the end) was also thought lost until rediscovered (apparently) by the famous film critic, Leonard Maltin, in the late-1970s.
This reel featured Canvasback Clump (Laurel) in a boxing match for a $100 prize!

The whole film (minus about two minutes at the end of reel one) is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, along with other films of theirs, from Amazon Australia and various other sources, as Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations.

jupes
jupes
January 13, 2022 12:37 pm

Great stuff Wolfy and others. Hadn’t watched Buster Keaton before. Absolutely brilliant.

Just think. Audiences 100 years ago went to the cinema and had a great time. Not any more.

Cassie of Sydney
January 13, 2022 12:42 pm

“Just think. Audiences 100 years ago went to the cinema and had a great time. Not any more.”

Yep….once upon a time audiences weren’t preached to, weren’t smeared, weren’t belittled, weren’t ridiculed…instead they were entertained.

Lee
Lee
January 13, 2022 1:28 pm

Yes I’ve just accessed the full version of The Battle Of The Century (I only had the truncated version). I’ll be uploading it to my channel in the next day or 2.

Is Hats Off available there, Wolfman?
LOL

Anchor What
Anchor What
January 13, 2022 1:41 pm

Great stuff, thanks Wolfie.
Laurel & Hardy: that one where they were in the French Foreign Legion is a doozy – and includes Oliver singing Harvest Moon.

Lee
Lee
January 13, 2022 1:41 pm

Yep….once upon a time audiences weren’t preached to, weren’t smeared, weren’t belittled, weren’t ridiculed…instead they were entertained.

That’s modern day woke Hollywood for you.
With very few exceptions:
https://gab.com/BeachMilk/posts/107607864914674677
(Sylvester Stallone, if anyone is wondering.)

Shy Ted
Shy Ted
January 13, 2022 2:19 pm

Watch out for Stan & Ollie on SBS32. Was on the other day so likely to be on again soon. Steve Coogan & John C Reilly. The latter days of a wonderful comedy duo. Funny, sad, nostalgic. Very well done.

Lee
Lee
January 13, 2022 2:26 pm

Hats Off is considered a lost film now.

Supposedly the last confirmed sighting of it was in 1930!
Though there have reports of people having claimed to have seen it as recently as the 1990s (including on TV!), although not one has been confirmed nor has a single copy turned up, and all claims are regarded as extremely dubious and possibly cases of mistaken identity.
Apparently the late L&H film collector and film producer, Robert Youngson – to whom we owe thanks for saving and copying many L&H silent films – wasn’t aware of any copies of Hats Off being in existence in the 1940s or 50s.
The second reel of The Battle of the Century which was fairly recently rediscovered, was originally copied by Youngson in 16mm from a deteriorating original print of the film in the mid-1950s, and found its way after his death into another collector’s archives, whence it was found after his death.

Muddy
Muddy
January 13, 2022 2:28 pm

The following is off-topic, but perhaps it may provide fodder for future posts?

I’ve just finished watching the five seasons of The Wire – which I had not seen previously – on DVD. My first thought was how unlikable almost all of the main characters were (except for Bubbles), and how none of them really developed or grew in any meaningful way during the series. Secondly, I thought that after the second series, the quality of the storylines started to go down hill.

Lastly, the older I become, the more I identify with the ‘Dark Side’ in the original Stars Wars Trilogy. The Rebels were hippy buffoons who somehow always found themselves at the right place and the right time to take advantage of an Empire mistake.

O.K., back to the topic at hand.

Lee
Lee
January 13, 2022 2:30 pm

Watch out for Stan & Ollie on SBS32. Was on the other day so likely to be on again soon. Steve Coogan & John C Reilly. The latter days of a wonderful comedy duo. Funny, sad, nostalgic. Very well done.

Got that on DVD a couple of years ago, despite being rather dubious about it, never having seen it.
I agree with your comments, Ted.
I also thought the film was moving, treated L&H with respect and was tastefully done.

shatterzzz
January 13, 2022 2:36 pm

And when you’ve pigged out on silent funnies there is always the never ending backstop .. westerns ..
The “oldies” were great but some of the more recent TV offerings are total class … try ..
GODLESS …
THE HATFIELD & MCCOYS … (Kevin Costner version)
1883 … ( Paramount streamer currently showing)

jupes
jupes
January 13, 2022 3:53 pm

Lastly, the older I become, the more I identify with the ‘Dark Side’ in the original Stars Wars Trilogy.

A bit further off-topic: In Hobart recently I went to the exhibition of Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series. I had always been on the side of the cops in the Ned Kelly story, but viewing the paintings, I found myself having a fair bit of sympathy for Ned. I haven’t thought too deeply about it since but I think I know why.

bemused
bemused
January 13, 2022 4:01 pm

I haven’t thought too deeply about it since but I think I know why.

Shades of what has been going on in modern day Victoria when it comes to the oppressed?

local oaf
January 13, 2022 4:54 pm

One of my favourite comedies is It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, made in 1962 or 1963.

Saw this in the cinema when I was a kid. Still love it, so many wonderful performances.
I didn’t really notice the curvaceous Edie Adams when I was 10, but she adds to the enjoyment of watching the movie these days. 🙂

Anchor What
Anchor What
January 13, 2022 6:29 pm

The Mad, Mad … World showed back in the 1960s in Sydney at the Plaza (I think) that had a curved widescreen and multi-channel audio (L-C-R) across the screen.

Anchor What
Anchor What
January 13, 2022 6:31 pm

I think myself and girlfriend de jour also saw Butch Cassidy there not too long after.

Bruce in WA
January 14, 2022 12:13 am

Wow! That brought back some memories of a time long ago, doing my teaching qualifications, with a major in Film and Television. Luis Bunuel, the Odessa Steps sequence, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, then years later, visiting Alaska and travelling up Dead Horse Pass, where much of Chaplin’s The Gold Rush was filmed. Watching some arty-farty movies I can’t even remember now, then going back to the lecturer’s apartment to sit on the floor with the film group and pass around flagon wine while making pretentious statements about what the director was “really trying to say”.

Hand on heart, the last movie I watched where every single scene was critical, where every camera shot served a purpose, where editing was an art form was … Love Actually. Don’t believe me? Watch it with a critical eye.

We also watched and studied this, as an example of editing to music. Ironically, one of my friends from school days is in it (Pilatus pilot). He was later to die when a Nomad fucked up and killed him. I urge you to watch the movie (17 mins) if you have any interest in film-making or indeed Australian military in the early 70s.

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