Thursday, June 7, 2012


September 27, 1927
66 min
United States (English)

Directed by James W. Home and Buster Keaton
Written by Bryan Foy and Carl Harbaugh

Buster Keaton proves his place as one of the great silent comedians yet again in "College."

The film commences upon high school graduation. Ronald (Keaton) is awarded for his excellence in academics and speaks about "the curse of the athlete," much to the approval of his teachers and principal, but much to the chagrin of his fellow graduates. The love-interest Mary (Anne Cornwall) informs Ronald that unless he changes his mind about sports, she won't change her mind about him. Ronald goes to college, not to further his education, but to win the heart of Mary. So many Keaton classics follow this same mantra. This doesn't make it stale, rather, straightforward. Besides, it is difficult for such premises to become humdrum when Keaton and his collaborators fashion up one genius hilarity after another.

It is a simple set up, which paves the road for many gags along the way. My favorite has to be when Ronald is bullied and tossed up and down with a blanket by his peers. This takes place outside a woman's window while she dresses. Ronald is not so much interested in her as he is his own safety, he pulls out an umbrella to slow-down his fall. It works!

As you'd expect, Ronald tries his hand at baseball, track, and field all to win Mary over. Crazy antics ensue each time. We also see the part-time jobs he tries his hand at. Keaton dons blackface to work as a colored waiter in one madcap side plot. At just over an hour this film never loses steam. In fact, I am confident they could have successfully and easily made a three-hour epic out of this; many sports are completely left untouched. This nimble showpiece has perfect payoffs that result in an incredible climax and a truly daft denouement. Put this one in the hall of fame.


CONTENT: some slap-stick violence

1 comment:

Galyn said...

Sounds like it might be entertaining.