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The Great Buster: A Celebration

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The Great Buster: A Celebration (2018) - a documentary by Peter Bogdanovich
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The Great Buster: A Celebration (2018) – a documentary by Peter Bogdanovich

The Great Buster is a celebration the life and career of one of America’s most influential comedians, Buster Keaton. It’ an affectionate documentary by Peter Bogdanovich


In short, The Great Buster is an affectionate, eyes wide open documentary on the life of Buster Keaton. It covers both his professional and personal life, both with honesty. Also, it makes no effort to hide his alcoholism, or his cheating on his first wife. The Great Buster also covers his ‘slump’ years professionally.

Thankfully, it also covers his recovery, both personally and professionally. It’ sweet, kind, tender, and heartbreaking. It’s highly recommended. It leaves the audience with a greater appreciation of this great clown.

The end of the documentary deals primarily with Buster’s greatest silent films, and spends some time on each. It’s time well spent, for what it’s worth.

Some of the comedians and clowns talking about Buster include:

Editorial review of The Great Buster: A Celebration courtesy of

THE GREAT BUSTER celebrates the life and career of one of America’s most influential and celebrated filmmakers and comedians, Buster Keaton, whose singular style and fertile output during the silent era created his legacy as a true cinematic visionary. Filled with stunningly restored archival Keaton films from the Cohen Film Classics library, THE GREAT BUSTER is directed by Peter Bogdanovich, a filmmaker and cinema historian whose landmark writings and films on such renowned directors as John Ford and Orson Welles have become the standard by which all other studies are measured.

Keaton’s beginnings on the vaudeville circuit are chronicled in THE GREAT BUSTER, as is the development of his trademark physical comedy and deadpan expression that earned him the lifelong moniker of The Great Stone Face , all of which led to his career-high years as the director, writer, producer and star of his own short films and features. Interspersed throughout are interviews with nearly two-dozen collaborators, filmmakers, performers and friends, including Mel Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, Werner Herzog, Dick van Dyke and Johnny Knoxville, who discuss Keaton’s influence on modern comedy and, indeed, cinema itself.

The loss of artistic independence and career decline that marked his later years are also covered by Bogdanovich, before he casts a close eye on Keaton’s extraordinary output from 1923 to 1929, which yielded 10 remarkable feature films (including 1926’s The General and 1928’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.) that immortalized him as one of the greatest actor-filmmakers in the history of cinema.

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