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Notes Introduction 1. Bordwell and Thompson, Film Art, 173-79; Giannetti, Understanding Movies, 314-17. See also Cook, History of Narrative Film, 217-24. 2. Buñuel, "Keaton's College," 64. 3. Henry Jenkins recognizes this when he observes that Sherlock Jr. has replaced The General as "the canonical Keaton film for the 1980s and 1990s" because of changes in critical perspectives and taste within film studies. "Interrupted Performance ," 31. 4. Jakobson, "The Dominant," 82. See also Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 12. 5. Patterson, Cinema Craftsmanship, 5. 6. Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 17. 7. Karnick and Jenkins, "Golden Eras and Blind Spots," in Classical Hollywood Comedy, 3. 8. See also Sweeney, "Dream of Disruption," 104-20. Sweeney argues that the structure of Sherlock Jr. is an extension of the three-part gag structure that Keaton derived from vaudeville. Yet Sweeney still perceives this structure as ultimately serving the narrative and suggests that even this departure from classical Hollywood c i n e m a is a n exception in Keaton's w o r k s . A c c o r d i n g to Sweeney, "Except for parts of Seven Chances (1925) and Go West (1925), Keaton in the later features comes to accept romantic narrative as the contextual basis for his comedy" (118). Thus, Sweeney falls short of suggesting that Keaton's films can be viewed through the lens of vaudeville, instead arguing for the unique structural qualities of Sherlock Jr. 9. McCaffrey, Four Great Comedians, 91. 10. Moews, Keaton: Silent Feature Close Up, 246. 11. Ibid. 12. See ibid., 1. Moews claims that Keaton's films all follow the same structure: "He made one good movie and released it under nine different titles." Not only is this argument reductive, but, if true, it would obviate the need for the repeated analysis of Keaton's narratives in which Moews engages. 13. Ibid., 44. 14. Mast, Comic Mind, 135-39. For an opposing view, see Rapf, "Moral and Amoral Visions," 335-45. 158 N O T E S T O P A G E S 6-11 15. Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 43. 16. Throughout the book, I use "Keaton" to denote him as director and "Buster" to signify his film character. 17. Brownlow, Parades Gone By, 487. 18. Matthews, Surrealism and Film, 6. 19. Moews, Keaton: Silent Features Close Up, 3-4. 20. Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 50-51. 21. Ibid., 51. 22. Robinson, Buster Keaton, 90. See also Dardis, Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down, 138-45. Dardis judges The General to be Keaton's masterpiece on the basis of its logic, structure, symmetry, and the blend of gags and story. When Dardis discovers that The General was a box-office and critical failure at the time of its release, all he can muster in its defense is that "it was just too good." 23. Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 54. 24. Ibid., 63. 25. Keaton created at least one entire film around a prop. When offered the op­ portunity to rent the S.S. Buford, an ocean liner scheduled to be junked, Keaton immediately accepted and built an entire movie around the enormous ship. 26. Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 59. 27. See Jenkins, "Interrupted Performance," 46-47, on the difference between tricks Keaton performs "for the camera" and "with the camera" in Sherlock ]r. In the former, "Keaton wants us to watch his performance unfold in continuous space and time so that there can be no escaping our awareness of his mastery" (46). 28. Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema, 62. 29. Ibid., 60. Bordwell further observes that whereas Douglas Fairbanks's and Harold Lloyd's films use a larger than average number of short shots, Keaton rou­ tinely used a larger than average number of long takes (62). 30. Perhaps this assumption is premised on the poor quality of Keaton's M G M sound films. At M G M , Keaton had very little control over the stories chosen for his films. Keaton's lack of artistic control was not limited to stories, however, and there­ fore it seems premature to attribute the flaws of the M G M films solely to narrative construction. 31. See Rheuban, Harry Langdon, for a similar thesis applied to Langdon. 32. Sarris, American Cinema, 62. 33. See Crafton, "Pie and Chase," 106-19; Gunning, "Response to 'Pie and Chase'," 120...


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