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Buster Keaton Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AOIAL-ATOC-RG0018
This collection contains 18 negatives of film scenes from two films involving Buster Keaton: The General (1926) and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928). Each negative is 10" x 8" and many of them depict Keaton himself.

Dates

  • 1926-1928

Language of Materials

English

Extent

0.50 cubic feet

Administrative History:

Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, stunt performer, and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was comedy, with a consistently stoic expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".

Buster Keaton (his lifelong stage name) was recognized as the seventh-greatest director by Entertainment Weekly. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Keaton the 21st greatest male star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton's "extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, [when] he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies."

His career declined afterward with a dispiriting loss of his artistic independence when he was hired by MGM, which resulted in a crippling alcoholism that ruined his family life. However, he recovered in the 1940s, remarried and revived his career to a degree as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Academy Honorary Award.

Orson Wells stated that Keaton's The General is "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made." A 2002 worldwide poll by Sight & Sound ranked Keaton's The General as the best film of all time. Three other Keaton films received votes in the magazine's survey: Our Hospitality, Sherlock, Jr. and The Navigator.

A scene from Steamboat Bill Jr. required Keaton to run into the shot and stand still on a particular spot. Then, the facade of a two-story building toppled forward on top of Keaton. Keaton's character emerged unscathed, thanks to a single open window. The stunt required precision, because the prop house weighed two tons, and the window only offered a few inches of clearance around Keaton's body. The sequence furnished one of the most memorable images of his career.
Title
Guide to the Buster Keaton Collection

Repository Details

Part of the The American Organ Institute Archives and Library Repository

Contact:
2101 W. Tecumseh Rd
Suite C
Norman Oklahoma 73069 United States
405-325-7829