Daily Archives: June 16, 2011

Buster Keaton in “Neighbors”

Buster Keaton - Joe Roberts - Neighbors - Pretty Clever FilmsBuster “Neighbors” is Romeo & Juliet set in a tenement courtyard. Buster plays The Boy, in love with The Girl (played by Virgina Fox), who lives just behind the back fence. Not surprisingly, The Boy’s and The Girl’s fathers, Joe Keaton and Joe Roberts respectively, are none too pleased. But love will always find a way and hilarity ensues. “Neighbors” is a small story, played out on a pretty small stage, and it is way more fun to watch than to read about.

The chief attraction of “Neighbors” is Buster Keaton’s dazzling acrobatics, on display much more fully in this short than in his previous ones. On first viewing, I thought Keaton had moved away from the mechanical brilliance demonstrated by the dinner scene in “The Scarecrow.” Then I learned that the abutting tenement buildings and courtyards were custom designed by Keaton to maximize the acrobatic effects. He zip lines across clothes lines, attaches a spanking device to the swinging door in the fence, and flies in out of windows. There is nothing more visually funny, in my opinion at least, than Buster Keaton hurtling in and out of a window. I have to stop typing right now, so I can chuckle at the memory. Read the rest of this entry

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