Buster Keaton’s Last Silent Film

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‘The Railrodder’ (1965) directed by Gerald Potterton and produced by the National Film Board of Canada, was Buster Keaton’s last silent movie. The comedian, writer, producer and stunt performer died at the age of 70 the following year.

As “the railrodder”, Keaton crosses Canada from east to west on a railway track speeder. True to Keaton’s genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia. Not a word is spoken throughout, and Keaton is as spry and ingenious at fetching laughs as he was in the old days of the silent slapsticks.

In the documentary ‘Buster Keaton Rides Again’ (above), Keaton – resting in the specially appointed railway coach where he and his wife Eleanor lived during filming – talks (yes, talks) about the movie.

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6 thoughts on “Buster Keaton’s Last Silent Film

  1. Gabby

    Delightful look across Canada. Thanks for posting it up. Buster and Charlie were the great cinematic gag artists.

    1. bertie blenkinsop

      Special mention for Harold Lloyd as well, used to love re-runs of his stuff when I was a kid.

      1. shayna

        Harold Lloyd always seemed to be dangling from a rope from an impossibly tall building. The house collapsing on him – he was standing in the window area and avoided injury. The scene was replicated on “Arrested Development”. Jeez, I must be as old as you Bertie?

        1. bertie blenkinsop

          I think the house collapse scene is Buster Keaton, Shayna, unless there’s two?

          Yes, it’s possible you’re as YOUNG as me Shayna :)

          1. shayna

            I defer to your greater knowledge of the silent era of film. Don’t get me started on Laurel and Hardy – the piano scene?

  2. lemmy

    When talkies happened many actors like him could not adapt and were history
    But thank god theta miming became an art

    Most of these actors could not tone down what was needed to ensure they over acted
    Only a few like Charlie Chaplin and laurel and hardy adapted
    Its great to see his epitaph captured before he died for posterity in the modern world that’s shows the genius of those who had to show by expression what speech could do

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