|Keaton And Chaplin
||[Aug. 21st, 2005|11:01 am]
Keaton is Pierrot to Chaplin's Harlequin.|
Keaton is beautiful. Keaton is one of the most beautiful men who ever lived.
Both these guys started out as tumblers and discovered somewhere along the line that they were artists.
Keaton's camerawork is lovely. Chaplin could never be bothered with that sort of thing.
Chaplin lived in a larger world. His films are braver. Keaton never went beyond pushing the fat capitalist in the river (then fishing him out again.) There's nothing in the Keaton oeuvre as transgressive as The Great Dictator or M. Verdoux.
Keaton did a deal with the suits (perhaps he had to) and they screwed him; Chaplin never did and they tried to screw him and failed.
Keaton is a huge talent. Chaplin is a genius.
Sam Beckett made an insufferably pretentious film with Keaton. Its insufferably pretentious title is "Film". All the way through he insists on photographing Keaton from the back. One of the greatest faces in film history and you make a point of not showing it- words fail me!
Keaton eclipses Chaplin in their scene together in Limelight and Chaplin allows it to happen. I love it.
I have to confess that when I started reading your post I thought you were talking about Michael Keaton ... and I thought I was going to have to smack you. :)
I feel better now, although clearly I need more coffee this morning.
2005-08-21 05:45 am (UTC)
Re: My favorite Keaton photo.
That one's new to me.
Have you seen Johnny Depp's splendid homage to them both in Benny & Joon? It's a piece of fluff with an untenable premise redeemed by Depp (as many of his films are...).
The same person who worked with Robert Downey, Jr on Chaplin, worked with Johnny Depp on Benny and Joon.
I liked Downey's work in Chaplin- it's just a pity the film itself is so unadventurous
I haven't seen it, but I'd like to. I think J.D. is wonderful.
Chaplin has got more range and more heart, but I think Keaton may well be funnier.
That was a really great post and I just read it right now after I woke up and saw my brother seeing one of my favorite Keaton films Our Hospitality. I love Keaton just a bit more than Chaplin, and in the career of Buster, the only thing I didn't like was his work with "Fatty" Arbuckle, I always found Arbuckle to be trying to hard to get a laugh. I have yet to see Limelight, I'll try finding a copy for it soon.
I'm glad you liked it.
Our Hospitality is a really funny movie.
I haven't seen Arbuckle since I was a kid, but I remember him as kinda over the top. Keaton was in another class.
Enjoy Limelight :)
i've never seen anything by either! ashamed, i am. but there's a festival running, starting tomorrow, actually: silent movie mondays: buster keaton festival. and i'm really thinking of going...looks like it's once a week for six weeks. i won't be able to make it to them all, but i'd like to catch at least one or two...
great post, and it reminded me that this was coming up, thanks!
That looks good. There are a number of movies in that line-up that I haven't seen....
I had to go look, and Keaton does have a beautiful and sensitive face.
And he uses it miraculously. When other comics were gurning and flinging themselves all over the place, Keaton knew that less is more and kept his expression dead pan.
Of all the great silent comedians he's the one who feels most "modern".
I see Keaton and Chaplin as quite different artists. Keaton is all about form, which is why some of his scenes can astonish even today's special-effects jaded kids. That waterfall scene in Our Hospitality, for example.
Chaplin is all about heart, which is why he can seem cloying in comparison to Keaton. For Chaplin, the comedy is a means to an end--getting the girl or beating the bad guy. For Keaton, the comedy is the end. The people provide the impetus, but you rarely think much of any Keaton character after the film is over.
That's a shrewd observation.
Keaton is amazing, but he doesn't engage our emotions- that's exactly right. And that's why I think Chaplin is the greater artist
But I wouldn't want to without either of them.