Buster Keaton

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from Keaton, Buster)
Jump to: navigation, search
Charlie Chaplin and I would have a friendly contest: Who could do the feature film with the least subtitles?

Joseph Frank Keaton VI (4 October 18951 February 1966) was American actor and filmmaker, often called The Great Stone Face, he was the first person ever called "Buster", acquiring the nickname from Harry Houdini who saw him take a fall down some stairs as an infant.

Quotes[edit]

We used to get arrested every other week — that is, the old man would get arrested.
  • We used to get arrested every other week — that is, the old man would get arrested.
    • On his underage working in stage shows, in The Detroit News (4 December 1914)
  • The funny thing about our act is that dad gets the worst of it, although I'm the one who apparently receives the bruises … the secret is in landing limp and breaking the fall with a foot or a hand. It's a knack. I started so young that landing right is second nature with me. Several times I'd have been killed if I hadn't been able to land like a cat. Imitators of our act don't last long, because they can't stand the treatment.
    • Interview in The Detroit News (4 December 1914)
  • If one more person tells me this is just like old times, I swear I'll jump out the window.
  • Charlie Chaplin and I would have a friendly contest: Who could do the feature film with the least subtitles?

Quotes about Keaton[edit]

There are people that never much cared for Keaton. Those who do cannot care mildly. ~ James Agee
His pictures are like a transcendent juggling act in which it seems that the whole universe is in exquisite flying motion and the one point of repose is the juggler’s effortless, uninterested face. ~ James Agee
No other comedian could do as much with the dead-pan. ~ James Agee
The older Keaton got, the more one could see eternity in his look. ~ Robert Benayoun
What a creative genius — what an inventor... A guy like that, you just sit back and say, okay, I'll never get there! ~ Jim Carrey
  • One who never smiled, carried a face as still and sad as a daguerreotype through some of the most preposterously ingenious and visually satisfying comedy ever invented. That was Buster Keaton.
    • James Agee in "Comedy's Greatest Era" in LIFE magazine (5 September 1949), p. 75
  • Perhaps because ‘dry’ comedy is so much more rare and odd than ‘dry’ wit, there are people that never much cared for Keaton. Those who do cannot care mildly.
    • James Agee in "Comedy's Greatest Era" in LIFE magazine (5 September 1949), p. 85
  • He was by his whole style and nature so much the most deeply "silent" of the silent comedians that even a smile was as deafeningly out of key as a yell. In a way his pictures are like a transcendent juggling act in which it seems that the whole universe is in exquisite flying motion and the one point of repose is the juggler’s effortless, uninterested face.
    • James Agee in "The last fade-out on the Great Stone Face : Buster Keaton" in LIFE magazine (11 February 1966), p. 63
  • No other comedian could do as much with the dead-pan. He used this great, sad, motionless face to suggest various related things; a one track mind near the track’s end of pure insanity; mulish imperturbability under the wildest of circumstances; how dead a human being can get and still be alive; an awe-inspiring sort of patience and power to endure, proper to granite but uncanny in flesh and blood.
    • James Agee in "The last fade-out on the Great Stone Face : Buster Keaton" in LIFE magazine (11 February 1966), p. 63
  • The older Keaton got, the more one could see eternity in his look.
  • The screen was just a white sheet. They had this flickering machine. That was the first time I saw this angel with a white face and these beautiful eyes. I knew this was something special. It was the first time I saw Keaton. He wore a flat pancake of a hat, and I just couldn't believe the man's grace.
    • Mel Brooks, as quoted in It's Good to Be the King : The Seriously Funny Life of Mel Brooks' (2008), by James Robert Parish, p. 26
  • Watch his beautiful, compact body as it pirouettes or pretzels in tortured permutations or, even more elegantly, stands in repose as everything goes crazy around it. Watch his mind as it contemplates a hostile universe whose violent whims Buster understands, withstands and, miraculously, tames. Watch his camera taking his picture (Keaton directed or supervised all his best films); it is as cool as the star it captured in its glass... The medium was still in its infancy; comics were pioneering the craft of making people laugh at moving images. Keaton, it turns out, knew it all — intuitively.
  • It's said that Chaplin wanted you to like him, but Keaton didn't care. I think he cared, but was too proud to ask. His films avoid the pathos and sentiment of the Chaplin pictures, and usually feature a jaunty young man who sees an objective and goes for it in the face of the most daunting obstacles. Buster survives tornados, waterfalls, avalanches of boulders, and falls from great heights, and never pauses to take a bow: He has his eye on his goal. And his movies, seen as a group, are like a sustained act of optimism in the face of adversity; surprising, how without asking, he earns our admiration and tenderness.
    Because he was funny, because he wore a porkpie had, Keaton's physical skills are often undervalued … no silent star did more dangerous stunts than Buster Keaton. Instead of using doubles, he himself doubled for his actors, doing their stunts as well as his own.
  • With his dark, sensitive looks, his face in repose evoking years of quiet contemplation, he resembled a mixture of Buddhist monk and fashion model. He offered the ideal face and acting style for motion pictures, proving less is more. He would become a master of knowing when to do nothing at all.
  • Maybe the trouble is that modern comics strive too hard to be sophisticated and knowing. What we've lost over the years is innocence and, as Keaton and company prove, innocence is an integral part of comedy.
  • Buster Keaton... will be around forever, because it's unlikely that human beings will ever go out-of-date the way special effects do. Keaton running and clambering onto a moving Civil War train in The General is infinitely more exciting than Christian Slater jumping from a helicopter onto a speeding locomotive in Broken Arrow because what Keaton does is real, and the camera captures and preserves his feats for posterity. In Broken Arrow we never see Slater (or the stuntman, for that matter) leaping from the helicopter to the train. Instead there are several cuts, and we must suspend our disbelief and assume that the feat has been accomplished. Which means that it's no feat at all.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: