Frye at the Movies: Buster Keaton


Buster Keaton in Cops, from 1922 (complete movie)

Frye in “Canada and Culture”:

I remember seeing a movie, colored and talking, which was a comedy, and being bored by it: but at the beginning there was a reference to the early knockabout silent comedies of the pie-throwing kind, with a brief illustration, and I laughed until I nearly fell out of my seat. (CW 25, 197)

The movie he refers to may be 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain, a musical set at the dawn of the age of the talkies that opens with a spoof of the silent movies being replaced by the new technology.

Frye makes passing reference to Buster Keaton — as well as to Larry Semon, Harold Lloyd and Mack Sennett — whose movies he would have seen as a child.  The Keaton two-reeler above was very likely one of them.

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