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A fascinating alternative to the manic stunt work and elaborate sight gags that distinguish the films of Buster Keaton, Go West offers a rare and satisfying glimpse of his talent for more expressive comedy: charming moments of intimate humor flavored with rich pathos. Heeding the expansionist call of Horace Greeley, a hapless young man (aptly named "Friendless") idealistically hops a freight train westward to meet his destiny, first in a teeming metropolis (where he is roundly trampled by rush-hour foot traffic) then into the ranchlands of Arizona. In the side-splitting course of his attempts at bronco-busting, cattle wrangling, and even dairy farming, Friendless finds himself enamored with Brown Eyes, a particularly affectionate bovine beauty from whose hoof he removed a painful pebble. Setting traditional ideas of romance and masculinity on their ears, Go West is uniquely graceful and characteristically hilarious -- especially in the film's dynamic finale. In an epic sequence that is pure Keaton, sentimental comedy is put aside as hundreds of cattle are unleashed upon downtown Los Angeles, wreaking uproarious havoc upon all in their path, with only one lonesome cowboy to round 'em up!

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Extras Two Keaton short films. The Scarecrow (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1920. 19 mins. B&W. Music arranged and directed by Robert Israel.), one of Keaton's most mind-boggling mechanical comedies, follows two roomates vying for the attention of a young lady. In The Paleface (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1921. 20 mins. B&W. Music: orchestral score.), Buster helps a Native American tribe defend their land from greedy developers.

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KI132 Go West DVD (1920-25/Buster Keaton) $24.95 $22.45