Keaton's first feature - a parody, to some extent, of films like Griffith's Intolerance - revels in the same anachronistic view of history as did his earlier short The Frozen North: the basic story common to all three intercut episodes, charting Buster and Beery's rivalry over their beloved Leahy, allows him to construct a delicious series of gags spoofing the clichés of film through their very absurdity and incongruity. In the Stone Age, Buster arrives to court Leahy sitting astride a dinosaur, and plays golf with real clubs; in ancient Rome, black slaves start up a crap game upon seeing a soothsayer's dice, and Buster, forced into a chariot race (neatly guying Ben Hur) during a blizzard, enters the arena on a sled-cum-chariot drawn by huskies. The modern-day story is least successful, though even here his eye for sheer idiocy of many contemporary fashions is admirably sharp. Widely underrated, the film may lack the sheer brilliance of, say Our Hospitality and The General, but its sense of detail and pace, its originality and invention remain undimmed.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline|
|Screenwriter:||Clyde Bruckman, Jean Havez, Joseph Mitchell|