College (September 10, 1927)

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Buster Keaton in College
 

Released on September 10, 1927: Buster Keaton works his way through college and tries to be an athletic jock to impress his girlfriend, with hilarious results.

Produced by Joseph M. Schenck

Directed by James W. Horne and Buster Keaton

The Actors: Buster Keaton (Ronald, a son), Anne Cornwall (the girl, Mary Haynes), Flora Bramley (her friend), Harold Goodwin (a rival, athlete Jeff Brown), Snitz Edwards (the Dean), Carl Harbaugh (crew coach), Sam Crawford (baseball coach), Florence Turner (Ronald's mother), Lee Barnes (University of Southern California athlete), Robert Boling (University of Southern California athlete), Charles Borah (University of Southern California athlete), Leighton Dye (University of Southern California athlete), Paul Goldsmith (University of Southern California athlete), Kenneth Grumbles (University of Southern California athlete), Charlie Hall (University of Southern California Coxswain), Bud Houser (University of Southern California athlete), Morton Kaer (University of Southern California athlete), Eric Mack (University of Southern California athlete), James T. Mack (high school principal), Buddy Mason (Jerf's friend), Madame Sul-Te-Wan (cook), Grant Withers (Jeff's friend), Shorty Worden (University of Southern California athlete)

 

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Physical Comedy Extraordinaire

When I was a young lad the master of physical comedy that I remember well was John Ritter, son of cowboy movie star Tex Ritter, when he was on the 'Three's Company' television sit-com. Even though I understand that physical comedy requires as much or more athletic skill as any sport you might name . . . and I know that Buster Keaton, who got the name 'Buster' when he tumbled down the staircase as a lad and stood up smiling . . . but until the final college scene in this comedy I was fully invested in the idea that Buster Keaton, as scholar and wimp Ronald, was truly a brain with no motor skills. While watching him stumble badly trying to excel at any sport in college I forgot that sometimes it is more difficult physically to perform awkwardly than it is to perform correctly . . . I forgot that all of the pratfalls must have been carefully choreographed as Buster made his lack of physical abilities look 'normal.' Even when he finally got to be the coxswain of the rowing team and heroically became the rudder of the boat by tying the broken rudder to his butt I wasn't thinking of him in any great athletic way . . . but then . . . when he got the phone call from his girlfriend who was being held captive in her dorm room by the college hunk . . . then . . . When Buster Keaton took off like a bolt of lightning across campus and systematically performed physical feats that he had previously mis-performed . . . then I remembered how athletic the physical comedians always have been and still are. My mouth literally hung open in awe as he saved his girlfriend without any camera tricks or stunt doubles. I am sure you have heard the comment, and it surely applies here, that the best actors make you believe that they are not acting . . . and in this amazingly physical comedy Buster Keaton convinces us for almost all of the movie that he is a physical wimp. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Anne Cornwall
Anne Cornwall
Anne Cornwall and Buster Keaton
Anne Cornwall and Buster Keaton
Anne Cornwall and Harold Goodwin
Anne Cornwall and Harold Goodwin
Buster Keaton and Charlie Hall
Buster Keaton and Charlie Hall
Buster Keaton meets Snitz Edwards
Buster Keaton meets Snitz Edwards
Buster Keaton tries to be a soda jerk
Buster Keaton tries to be a soda jerk
Carl Harbaugh
Carl Harbaugh
Florence Turner
Florence Turner
Harold Goodwin
Harold Goodwin
Harold Goodwin and Anne Cornwall
Harold Goodwin and Anne Cornwall
James T. Mack
James T. Mack
James T. Mack and Buster Keaton
James T. Mack and Buster Keaton
James T. Mackc and Harold Goodwin
James T. Mackc and Harold Goodwin
Madam Sul-Te-Wan and Buster Keaton
Madam Sul-Te-Wan and Buster Keaton
Snitz Eddwards and Buster Keaton
Snitz Eddwards and Buster Keaton
Snitz Edwards
Snitz Edwards