Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keaton Gets a Laugh in the Silents and the Talkies: Clips from "Spite Marriage" and "Speak Easily"

One of the notable things about Buster Keaton's career as an actor is that his deadpan expression and slapstic stunts translated successfully from silents to talkies, his acting career continuing well into the 1960s. Here are two clips showing how the same gag, "stone faced" Keaton and his drunk bride, is hilarious both in the silent 1929 version from Spite Marraige and in his later talking film Speak Easily (1932). Thanks to Sam Creely for turning me on to these amusing Buster Keaton clips, used to inform one of my favorite scenes in Barbarous Nights.

Buster Keaton and Dorothy Sebastian in Spite Marraige (1929):

Buster Keaton and Thelma Todd in Speak Easily (1932):

Fun fact for fellow Marx Brothers fans, I learned that many of Keaton's stunts in this film inspired gags he helped to develop for A Night at the Opera!

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