Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

With the Auckland Film Festival in town, I'd booked a seat at the Civic Centre on Queen Street to watch a double-bill of silent Buster Keaton movies...with a live orchestral score by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra! It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the films as they could have originally been presented.

The first short - One Week - was rather charming. Keaton gets married and is given a DIY house as a wedding gift. (where they had been planning on living until they received this is never explored)

The first half treats us to a good spread of Keaton's slapstick portfolio, but it's the second half when the creativity really kicks in. Events become increasingly surreal, as his jalopy of a house opens-up like a giant puzzle, becomes a merry-go-round in a storm, and even gets given a tow by his car.

In one scene when his wife's taking a bath, she drops the soap on the floor and has to stand-up to get it, at which point a stage-manager's hand covers the camera lens!

It's good fun all round, and was a great introduction to a cinematic icon, whose reputation I've heard of often, but never until today actually seen.

(second movie - Steamboat Bill Jr. - is here)


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