I am finally back to reviewing Western movies, which I will share now and then along with my other thoughts on films. For more of my movie reviews, click here to follow me on Letterboxd.
This week focuses on a two Fatty Arbuckle / Buster Keaton silent “Westerns”.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
This is a pretty perfect silent short, not quite a full-on Western comedy but close with its desert setting and outlaw characters. Fatty and Buster are both terrific but what really makes the film are the self-reflexive film moments, winking at the camera about casting, etc. The best by far is the gag about the girl falling in love with Fatty right after he abuses her, using the excuse of screen time to speed up the romance.
I don’t know enough about silent cinema to say that this is ahead of its time but it sure feels like it.
Watched on Criterion Channel.
OUT WEST (1918)
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Though not as brilliant as MOONSHINE, this Fatty/Buster team up is non-stop entertainment.
The action in this comedic Western is more impressive than most of what we see in today’s genre films. It’s no surprise that Buster does some amazing stunts but even Fatty (or his doubles) do astounding work here. The film is fast and light on its feet, constantly moving and over before you know it.
I am ashamed to admit I didn’t realize how good and important these Fatty-directed shorts with Buster were. Now I know.
Watched on Criterion Channel