“Don’t be discouraged. No one would ever amount to anything if he didn’t try.”
A would-be news cameraman (Buster Keaton) tries to break into the business with the assistance of a pretty MGM secretary (Marceline Day) who gives him tips on which events to cover.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Buster Keaton Films
- Movie Directors
- Silent Films
Buster Keaton’s first film made for MGM Studios (before the imminent demise of his illustrious career) was this simple yet enjoyable tale of a photographer desperate to gain work as a newsreel director — in large part to impress a sweet girl he’s fallen head-over-heels in love with. Despite fairly severe creative constraints imposed by MGM, Keaton (directed by Edward Sedgwick) manages to make the most of this slight storyline: the largely-improvised dressing room scuffle is truly inspired, and the ending is surprisingly satisfactory. While Keaton made many masterful movies — and film fanatics shouldn’t feel obligated to see all of them — I do recommend this one as “must-see” simply given the intrinsic interest of its subject matter.
Note: MGM apparently referred to this film for years as a “perfect comedy”, and showed it to all its directors and producers to learn from.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A sweet would-be romance between Keaton and Day
- Fine slapstick by Keaton
- Interesting historical footage of early Chinatown
Yes, as one of Keaton’s most enjoyable (and cinematically relevant) outings. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book. Selected for the National Film Registry in 2005.