The Cameraman

The Cameraman ★★★★

1928’s The Cameraman is a fantastic offering from one of my favorite comedians and filmmakers, Buster Keaton. His first film made at MGM, (a move he would later refer to as “the worst mistake of my career” as more and more creative control was taken from him with each subsequent project), this one has plenty of his signature deadpan expressions which earned him the nickname “The Great Stone Face,” as well as his trademark physical comedy and impressive stunt work. Falling hopelessly in love with a woman (Marceline Day) he spots in a crowd, Keaton’s clumsy hero attempts to become a newsreel cameraman to get close to her. The gags are aplenty in a film which runs only 76 minutes, and while not every element has aged well, (notably a segment set in Chinatown containing unfortunate clichés), it’s a bit unreasonable to expect a film from 1928 to have the sensibilities of 2022. The changing room sequence at the neighborhood pool is a hilariously violent bit of inspired choreography, and while this isn’t his best film (that would be The General) or even his most technically polished (that would be Sherlock Jr.), this is still a fine vintage from a master at play. 

Seen at: David Geffen Theater, 35mm
(Re)Watched in 2022: #4
Films in 2022: #26