Product DetailsThe Railrodder and Buster Keaton Rides Again (1965) are enjoyable remnants of the Keaton revival that occurred in the late '50s and early '60s, just before Keaton's death in 1966. The National Film Board of Canada paid tribute to Keaton by having him do a short subject in his old silent style.
The Railrodder depicts an older version of Buster's famous persona, porkpie hat and all, reading a newspaper article about increased Canadian travel and deciding he wants to join the crowd. He does this by accidentally starting up an electric railroad car that takes him across the country whether he wants to go or not. Buster, as always, resigns himself to greater forces and decides to enjoy the scenery. This short is amusing enough, but by Keaton's standards, the gags aren't very elaborate (probably owing to having to taking it easy on the advanced-aged Keaton). It's best seen as a novelty in which Keaton is allowed to perform an entire sound short in his old silent style.
Of far greater interest is Buster Keaton Rides Again, a black-and-white documentary about the making of The Railrodder. The documentary shows Keaton the creative filmmaker who, even in his late seventies, is willing to tussle with his director in order to milk every possible laugh out of a gag. Of special note is a scene of Keaton arguing with Railrodder director John Spotton about a shot of Keaton and his car rolling over an extremely tall bridge which, if Keaton wasn't careful, would cause him to plunge to his death. Keaton's arguing with his wife Eleanor and with Spotton about this dangerous gag, which occupies but a few seconds of screen time, shows just how seriously Keaton took his filmmaking, even when his once-agile body was rapidly failing.
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