Review: Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow was a 3 part British TV Mini-Series about the life and career of the great physical comedian of the silent film era. Watching the documentary and I realize how much I appreciate contemporary documentaries and how they clearly indicate who it is that is being interviewed. It took me a while to understand that it was Eleanor Keaton, Keaton's third and last wife, speaking!
The show follows Keaton's life and career from the very beginning to the bitter end. It starts in those early days in Vaudeville, when he got the name Buster after falling down some stairs, an event witnessed by the great Harry Houdini who then proclaimed that that was quite a Buster! We see the rise, the very bad fall and then the subsequent slow rise again.
I learned many things about Keaton. He had impeccable timing, a fearlessness that made for incredible shots, a talent for subtlety and a genius for comedy. Keaton was really an actor destined for the silent screen and talkies did him very few favors. He took to alcohol which almost killed him and even with all his success he still had many money problems. However, he still had a wonderful career, fame and recognition that lasted a lot longer than he expected and a long and fruitful life. That's a lot more than many of us get. It was great to watch the documentary and to see how spectacular his stunts really were. Put into context of how dangerous and groundbreaking they were makes you really appreciate Keaton's work. Keaton never complained about injuries! He had a high threshold for pain. Seeing snippets of many of Keaton's films made me want to watch more. And it made a new Keaton fan out of Carlos too!
I created a playlist of all the 10 minute YouTube segments of the documentary. You can watch it here. I'd love to hear what you think. And many thanks to Matt Phelan for recommending this to me!