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Marie_LaCombe
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Hello, we are desperately looking for the title of a silent film. We saw this movie about 3 years ago and have been searching ever since. Here are the bits and pieces that we remember: 1) It was hilarious! 2) There was a dark haired- young man (sans mustache) who was in competition with a more masculine and wealthy man; They made many attempts to woo a woman. 3) In one scene, the dark haired man takes the girl on a date to the swimming pool, where there is a five minute skit of him in the changing room which was occupied by another man. He was struggling to put his bathing suit on in the tiny dressing room with the other man in it. 4) There is another scene where the woman gets on the bus and for some reason, the dark-haired man misses it, and has to run after it, grabbing on to the window and riding on the side of it. 5) There was another skit in the man's apartment with the telephone, in which he had to keep running up and down stairs to answer it. I know this is not a lot to go by, but if this sounds familiar at all, any suggestions would be helpful, even an actor's name. Thank you very much. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Marie_LaCombe,

 

Well, You seem to be describing Buster Keaton's famous 1928 MGM feature THE CAMERAMAN? But Buster rarely ever wore a mustache? He definitely doesn't in this movie. This film is fairly frequently aired on TCM, and is on DVD as part of the TCM Archives BUSTER KEATON COLLECTION two disc set from Warner Home Video.

 

The release also includes the hilarious follow-up, and Buster's final Silent film SPITE MARRIAGE (1929) with Dorothy Sebastian. As well as his very first Talkie FREE AND EASY (1930), with Anita Page. Plus the recent documentary SO FUNNY IT HURT: BUSTER KEATON AT MGM.

 

This collection came out in 2004 I believe? You should be able to find it at a very reasonable price? It is still in print, as far as I know?

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Hi Marie,

Yes, Buster Keaton was priviledged to work with silent screen legend Josephine the monkey in the THE CAMERAMAN and tomorrow night TCM is going to the dogs on 'Silent Sundays' with another Keaton film THE SCARECROW along with some Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Charley Chase, starting at midnight EST. Very good fun!

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plus the immortal title card that screams YOU KILLA DA MONK! after Buster falls on Josephine during the Tong War

 

THE CAMERAMAN is a sweet romantic film (with plenty of comedy), not quite like the Keaton silent classics but a total joy.

 

Marceline Day is the girl, Harold Goodwin is the rival, Sidney Bracey is the office manager, and Edward Brophy is the guy in the changing room at the public pool. Was it Henry Armetta playing the organ grinder?

 

and then there's Josephine....

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Josephine's feigned death scene in THE CAMERAMAN remains one of the unrivalled tour-de-force performances of any era. But then again her intuitive sense of timing and acrobatic stunt skills gave her a leading edge over many of the great talents of her day who of course lacked a prehensile tail.

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Ed, and Cathy,

 

THE SCARECROW (1920), is my favorite Keaton Two-reeler, and pretty close to my favorite among Buster's films overall. This is a belly laugh a minute short, full of non spot invention, or maybe I should say "inventions'? Those who have seen it know what I am talking about.

 

The delightful Monkey in the Sailor suit "Josephine" seen in THE CAMERAMAN has frequently been misidentified over the years as the very same one that Harold Lloyd had used in his 1927 production of THE KID BROTHER. However, it seems that this is not accurate? Lloyd's Monkey from THE KID BROTHER was actually known as "Chicago". If you take a good look at both of these simian's closely, it is fairly easy to tell that they are not the same animal.

 

One thing that you may not know, at least one sequence from THE CAMERAMAN has been lost. Buster filming a boat launching as it promptly sinks! The gag was later recreated in a 1930's Two-reeler. At the moment I have forgotten which one though? Does anyone else recall the title?

 

You might also notice that the TCM version of the film was compiled from a couple of different prints? The early sequences are not in nearly as good of a condition, as most of the rest of the film. The better footage, was not discovered until 1991! So a fairly recent find. Prior to that only one worn out print of this movie was known to exist in the MGM vaults. Legend tells that it had been used as a training film for up and coming screen comedians? Which sounds very odd indeed, but apparently true? By the late 1960's the film had been run so many times it was literally falling apart!

 

While often maligned by many Keaton fans SPITE MARRIAGE is actually one of my favorites among Buster's features. Maybe it is the presence of Dorothy Sebastian, though not the radiant beauty that Marceline Day was in THE CAMERAMAN, Keaton and Sebastian had great on screen chemistry together. Plus I love the vintage score too!

 

One Black Mark for me with SPITE MARRIAGE was it started the disturbing trend which had Buster's on screen name as "Elmer' at MGM, from that point forward! Ugh, Why "Elmer"???

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Jeffrey,

 

What you're saying here is very interesting and makes me wonder about the infamous unsolved mystery of who left a single, perfect banana and a few grapes at Josephine's crypt for years and years on the anniversary of her death. I'm thinking it might be this chap 'Chicago.' Quite romantic, whoever it was...

 

Oops, sorry... went too far with the monkey business again!

 

Message was edited by: MissGulch

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The lost sequence of THE CAMERAMAN is one in which he is trying to film the arrival of an Admiral ship. It was later recreated for a Red Skelton comedy (probably for the unofficial remake, WATCH THE BIRDIE).

 

In the previous version of this Keaton clasic (available at www.archive.org) there is a hint of these lost scenes. Keaton arrives to a spot and ask somebody what is going on and he receives the answer that an important Admiral ship was about to arrive to the port... then there is an abrupt cut and we are suddendly watching the strange film he made at the projection screen of the MGM newsreel company.

 

In the newer version, this brief introduction to the lost sequence was removed, probably in order to keep the continuity. Shortly before his death, James Card (of the George Eastman House archive, which preserved the negative) informed Keaton in an interview that those scenes were lost and asked him to describe them, which he did regretting the fate of his film.

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SUPER TRIVIA:

When Buster made THE CAMERMAN, it was partially to tell the world that MGM had their own newsreel("MGM NEWS"). In 1927 Both they and Paramount began producing one; however it turned out to be a bad idea for them, and it ended after a year, and the Hearst corporation supplied them with one they produced, from 1929 to the 1960's.

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