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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Buster Keaton: One Week (1920)



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Decades before Jackie Chan, Buster Keaton was famous for his often perilous physical comedy and dangerous stunts. This short film is the one that contains the infamous wall-falling scene, where Buster is saved from certain doom by a well-placed window. There are no stunt doubles, camera tricks, or fancy prop gadgets -- the gag happened just as it appears, and had Keaton been standing a few inches the wrong way, the results might have been fatal. Now that's a dedicated comedian.

Though imperfect, One Week is one of Keaton's best shorts, its only flaw (a minor one, at that) the overlong storm scene. There's an abundance of truly classic American comedy here. Besides the famous stunt described above, watch for his hysterical creative solutions to his problems -- getting up on the roof, moving his house, etc. Not to be missed.