Editorial review of College, starring Buster Keaton, courtesy of Amazon.com
More than he had in any other feature, Keaton stretched the boundaries of solo physical comedy. In a series of unforgettable vignettes, stone-faced Ronald tries his hand as a baseball player, soda jerk, waiter, coxswain, and track star, performing each task with a steady determination but with consistently disastrous results. These scenes are especially amazing because in demonstrating Ronald’s athletic inadequacies, Keaton reveals a surprising degree of physical prowess and finesse, particularly during the film’s exhilarating climax.
BONUS FEATURES: Audio commentary by film historian Rob Farr, founder of Slapsticon, Visual essay on the film’s locations, ”The Scribe”, a 1966 industrial short that was Keaton’s final filmed performance, Kino Lorber trailers and more!
Trivia for College
- The boat for which Buster Keaton is coxswain is called Damfino, the same name as the eponymous boat in his short movie The Boat (1921).
- The pole vault near the end of the movie is one of the few stunts in his career that Buster Keaton did not perform himself.
- In an interview with author Kevin Brownlow, Buster Keaton said that he directed almost all of this film and that credited co-director James W. Horne did virtually none of it. Keaton said that his business manager talked him into using Horne, but that Horne proved “absolutely worthless to me… I don’t know why we had him.”
- Various sources associated with the production recalled in later interviews that there was also a filmed scene of Buster Keaton’s character trying to play football, but that this scene was later removed to avoid too close a comparison with Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (1925). While no film has surfaced to confirm this, production stills show Buster wearing a football uniform and playing football with some kids in a vacant lot. Moreover, two small parts of the released film lend credence to it: 1) When Keaton is unpacking in his dorm, one of the how-to-play-sports books he unpacks is about football, and 2) in the scene of Keaton running across the campus to rescue his girl, he dodges through a crowd of people like a running back trying to avoid tacklers in the open field.