Go West (1925, Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline)

Not full of great gags. Seems like a feature to show off Keaton’s comic improv genius – but where’s that genius? Give Keaton a lasso and… the rope gets tangled and his hat falls off. Give him a basket of eggs and… he puts the eggs down then mistakenly steps in them. Not groundbreaking stuff here.

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Mercifully short feature about Keaton taking Horace Greeley’s advice, moving west and falling for a cow. He hops trains, learns how to shoot, fails to learn how to milk a cow or do anything useful. When his host rancher’s herd is derailed by a rival, Buster drives the cattle through the city to the yards, saves the day, and gets to keep his own favorite cow as a reward (not the rancher’s cute daughter – the cow! ha!).

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The city scene is the big showpiece. Has its moments (Keaton in a costume shop dressing up as the devil to get the bulls to chase him), but most of the humor derives from how unreasonably afraid of cows the townsfolk are. My favorite visual bit was early on, the movie demonstrating the passage of time by the length of his package of food as he rides the trains. After that I’m afraid it wasn’t entertaining enough to keep me awake late at night.

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IMDB says a post-scandal Fatty Arbuckle had a cameo in the city. Guy who played the ranch foreman drowned filming one of his next movies.

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