“If you let your mind wander back through History you will find that the only thing that has not changed since the World began is — LOVE.”
In three different historical eras (the Stone Age, Roman times, and 1920s New York), a young man (Buster Keaton) vies for the attentions of a beautiful girl (Margaret Leahy) against a bigger, stronger, and/or wealthier suitor (Wallace Beery).
Buster Keaton’s first feature film (originally conceived as three separate two-reelers, in case it bombed as a full-length movie) is an enjoyable satire on D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916), similarly presenting thematic links — here, on the challenges of romantic pursuit — between several historical eras. It’s amusing to witness Keaton’s hapless yet doggedly resilient persona facing such similar challenges in each of his iterations, and to see the immensely clever — if occasionally foolhardy — ways in which he attempts to foil his opponent. The film’s most surreal moment (just one among many): Keaton gives a lion a manicure. (!!)
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Plenty of humorous moments and classically Keatonian slapstick
No, though it’s certainly of historical interest, and a must for diehard Keaton fans.