Our Hospitality, 1923
Buster was just 21 in his film debut, The Butcher Boy, but his acting abilities are apparent from his first entrance. Spending nearly his entire life to that point on the vaudeville stage gave him the skill and confidence he carried over to film. From a performance point of view, he knew what he was doing from the get-go. His time with Roscoe Arbuckle balanced his profession; it was priceless training in the technical side of film. Buster was quoted as saying he learned everything about movie making from Arbuckle.
Buster and Roscoe c.1920When Arbuckle moved on to feature films in 1920, Buster continued to churn out two-reelers with his own company. He made 19 shorts before he, too, graduated to features.
Buster with Sybil Seely, The Scarecrow 1920
Buster's silent films have his magic touch imprinted on every frame. For as outlandish as some gags might be classified, his films still have a natural quality. Perhaps his artistic eye kept everything tied to a cinematic reality. Scene after scene is beautifully shot.
The General 1926
I haven't mentioned the stunts, have I? Do I really need to?
Seven Chances 1925
Steamboat Bill Jr. 1928
And, oh yeah, the films are pretty darn funny. You have to tip your hat to someone who did something some 90 years ago and can make you forget about a lousy day even now.
Watching someone working at their zenith, manipulating something with skilled hands, exhibiting the confidence of a master, that is my definition of beauty.