Feb 8, 2016

Buster Keaton, taking over my blog for a while.

Who would've thought that one day my blog, the Dusty Wyndow blog, would wear the cape of one of the world's top silent performers (yet not as famous as Charlie Chaplin)? Here's how, and why, it all happened.

It had come to a point a while ago where I grew really tired of playing youtube and soundcloud music, track after track, to keep myself and my tiny desert house entertained. Music just wasn't doing the job anymore. It was all until one day I found myself playing movies as early as the 1920s, surprised by the fact that we actually had movies back then. I had always made fun of the way our grandparents would be taken so damn serious by what's displayed on that big luminous screen: Actor falls down? they gasp and their faces turn white. Train wagon coming their way? Some would probably jump off their seats, wholeheartedly believing it is actually happening! Never had the slightest clue this phenomenon would reach my chores as well.

It was when I decided to play those silent movies back to back, not really caring much what or who I'm watching, since to me there had been only Charlie Chaplin, the one who triggered it all. I was watching, for the 100th time probably, Charlie's masterpieces, such as Modern Times, The Great Dictator or The Circus. Those films  really got a taste of their own: The cheesy piano music, the -mostly- expressionless faces and the simplicity, most importantly, that overcame the whole thing and managed to get a grab of our hearts all.

However, there was something telling me that, somewhere out there, there has been this trend where films were not made longer than 20min, and probably before the days Charlie had become a famous actor. A few clicks here and there were enough to meet Buster, a name I had never heard before but a face I had seen often times.

Who is Buster?

Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an American actor, director, producer, writer, and stunt performer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face"
Funny enough, he got the name "Buster" when he fell down a staircase at the age of 6 months and was then picked up by non else than Harry Houdini, who said "That kid could really take a buster".

My doubts were finally confirmed, the guy was a dead face throughout his performances! That sure has exponentially increased my infatuation gauge and got me hooked (will explain in a bit). Buster's 20-mins films were rolling back to back at that moment, and the couchsurfers that happened to be crashing at my place back then had their own share as well.

His Works

I got to admit, again, that I knew Buster only recently. Lucky are those who had spent more time digging through his works, and probably growing old in his era as well. I had started out with "The Goat" filmed and published in early 1920s, broke my heart later on to see him an aging man in "The Railroader" (1956) almost a generation later, the wrinkles eating his face out. The guy has over 80 titles in legacy, in which he not only acted, but also wrote and directed, before cancer ended his life in 1966.

Why Buster?

It's here where I ran out of words. Why him to take over my blog and not any other person? What did he have that had grabbed so many hearts and still is? Luckily though, I had stumbled on a page citing 10 Reasons to Love Buster Keaton, reciting the top five below:

5.  His Eyes.
4.  Buster was not educated.
3.  His stunning physicality.
2.  His tight artistic vision.
1.  He always makes me want to be a better person. 

So what's with his dead face?

"Poker face", "Great stoned face", "Silent face" were few of the endless adjectives attributed to Keaton's figurine. Despite of all the reasons why Joseph Keaton had decided that, it still is an unshakable proof that this person is a master actor, being able to suppress all sort of emotions leaving the viewer the freedom to shape it up the way they want. The New Yorker had written the below about Keaton:
“In a film world that exaggerated everything, and in which every emotion was dramatized and elaborated, he remained impassive and solemn, his poker-faced inscrutability suppressing all emotion.”

All in all

Had I ever thought of giving tribute to anybody on my blog and smudging them all over the website, at this moment I could not think of a better match. Buster is the type of people, and I say people, and not actor, that forced his way to my timeless list of impressive characters and sure had made unbreakable ties with millions out there, myself being one of them.

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