Buster Keaton


Since childhood I have thought Buster Keaton's the most beautiful face of any man I have ever seen, and finally in 1962 I got an opportunity to tell him so. We were in his Sheraton Hotel suite in Rochester during the time he was making a commercial film for Kodak. I was speaking of a shot of him hiding under a table in The General: "You were so terribly beautiful in its tragic lighting, Buster, so out of key with your comic character -I can't understand why you didn't cut that shot out of the picture"

          Although the tragic prophecy of that close-up was now visibly chiselled upon the purity of his face, he had evidently never considered people's reactions to its beauty. For an instant his expression was mystifyingly shaken up like a snowstorm in a crystal paperweight and then, dismissing the whole damned thing, with his little-boy walk he trudged into the kitchenette to get himself a cold beer.

          For it was as a little boy that he established his comic character, and he remained this same little boy until those destructive experiences known as "reality" smashed his lovely world to smithereens. Part of this world in 1928 was Buster's Beverly Hills estate, a magnificent playpen full of hilarious activity. Keaton at home was no different from Keaton in films. He went about each project with the same adorable conviction of a good little boy doing a good thing in the best possible way. After the most idiotically inspired dives off the springboard into the pool, he would go to the patio to barbecue the most perfect steaks. Indoors in the living room above a high balcony‚ it had pleased him to rig a red velvet curtain on which he could swing down across the room to the top of a grand piano. When, with Louis Wolheim, he played thousand dollar bridge games against such combustible opponents as Sam Goldwyn, he was still having a grave good time, confident that he would win. And he always did.

          One midnight he took a fancy to drive Buster Collier and me in his roadster to Culver City, through the gates of the MGM studio and out to his bungalow on the back lot. Against three walls of the sitting room were tall built-in bookcases. Buster opened the front door, flipped on the light, picked up a baseball bat and, strolling neatly around the room, smashed the glass in each and ever bookcase. Who then could understand how much more terribly prophetic was this act than the close up in The general? But who then could foresee that within so short a time his job, his family and his home - all would be lost to him? Thank goodness, he never lost his skill with a baseball bat.

Louise Brooks, Buster Keaton, in Roddy McDowall, Double exposure, Delacorte Press, 1966

Index ] Pagina superiore ] Louise Brooks, Actors and the Pabst spirit ] Louise Brooks, Stardom and Evelyn Brent ] Louise Brooks, Funny screen experiences - No no Nanette ] Louise Brooks, Ein wenig Louise Brooks ] Louise Brooks,Marlene ] Louise Brooks, Letter to Andrew Sarris - Checklist nr. 27 ] Louise Brooks, ZaSu Pitts ] Louise Brooks, The white hell of Pitz Palu ] Louise Brooks, Mr. Pabst ] Louise Brooks, Why I will never write my memoirs ] [ Louise Brooks, Buster Keaton ] scrittifundamentals.pdf ] Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford ] Louise Brooks, Charlie Chaplin remembered ]