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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Buster Keaton: Daydreams (1922)



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Buster Keaton asks the father of the woman he loves for her hand in marriage, but the father wants to see Keaton make something of himself first. "I'll leave for the city to make good. If I'm not a success, I'll come back and shoot myself," Buster declares, which is a perfectly acceptable arrangement as far as the father is concerned. So Keaton heads off for the big city and tries his hand at a number of different jobs. But his letters to his girl suggest more noble and enterprising careers than those he's actually attempting. Her imaginings provide the basis for the title, while his actual efforts provide the humor.

As promising as the premise is, however, this comic short is far from Keaton's usual standard. Part of this may simply be due to the fact that the film no longer exists in its entirety. A restoration effort in 1995 recovered most of the footage, substituting stills and titles to fill the viewer in on the missing scenes. Nevertheless, what survives is only sporadically funny; many of the gags were put to better use in some of Keaton's other work. Good stuff, just not his usual.