Frozen Fire: The Complete Works of Buster Keaton - Part 1

Fri, May 31st, 2019 to Thu, Jun 6th, 2019

The Music Box invites you to join us for Part 1 of a complete retrospective celebrating the utter brilliance of surely one of the world's greatest comedians, filmmakers and artists, Buster Keaton.

**New Restorations**

Raised in the world of Vaudeville and gifted his name by none other than Harry Houdini, the inimitable Buster Keaton took the world by storm, quickly emerging as one of the greatest actors and filmmakers of his time. According to Roger Ebert, his unmatched period of non-stop output from 1920-1929 made him the best filmmaker in history. Though often oversimplified and branded as "The Great Stone Face" or "Frigo" in France, J.P. Lebel rights the wrongs of writers past saying "This stupid name, capable at best of calling to mind a brand of refrigerator, reduces Keaton's face to a slab of refrigerated meat, and is utterly incapable of suggesting the ardent impenetrability, the frozen fire, the mute and diamond fervour of this face so calm and supreme with, behind the burnt sockets, its two bright flaming eyes."

PRICING

Series Pass - $35 GA / $30 Music Box Members

Single Features - $11 GA / $7 Music Box Members


Three screenings featuring live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

Friday, 5/31 - THE GENERAL at 7pm

Saturday, 6/1 - SHERLOCK JR. at 7pm

Sunday, 6/2 - THE NAVIGATOR at 2:30pm

Battling Butler

A FILM BY: Buster Keaton
WRITTEN BY: Paul Girard Smith, Al Boasberg
STARRING: Buster Keaton, Snitz Edwards, Sally O'Neil

***Preceded by NEIGHBORS (1920, 20 min)  - New 4K restoration with Jon Mirsalis score***

Keaton stars as Alfred Butler, a fragile young man whose father sends him into the country where he hopes masculinity will blossom. Ironically, he is there mistaken for ''Battling'' Butler, a renowned prizefighter of firey temperament. To impress a young lady (Sally O'Neil), Alfred carries on the ruse by engaging in a laughingly inept training regimen, but his harmless charade is soon complicated by the untimely arrival of the true contender (Francis McDonald). When the long-awaited opportunity to prove himself a man finally comes, it is before the gloved fists of the boxer, who initiates a locker-room brawl. There, in a sequence of agonizing tension and delightful surprises, BATTLING BUTLER reaches its unforgettable climax.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1926
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 77 mins
Format: DCP

The General

A FILM BY: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
WRITTEN BY: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
STARRING: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender

***New 4k restoration with Carl Davis Orchestral score | Preceded by THE GOAT (1921, 24 min) - New 2K restoration with Robert Israel score***

Many critics consider THE GENERAL to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the greatest films of all time on international critics' polls.

Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is also an authentic-looking period piece that brings the scope and realism of Matthew Brady-like images to brilliant life. Keaton portrays engineer Johnnie Gray, rejected by the Confederate Army and thought a coward by his girlfriend (Marion Mack). When a band of Union soldiers penetrate Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, Johnnie Gray sets off in pursuit. Seven of the film's eight reels are devoted to the chase, featuring hilarious comedy and amazing stunts performed by Keaton himself.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1926
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 79 mins
Format: DCP

The Navigator

A FILM BY: Buster Keaton, Donald Crisp
WRITTEN BY: Clyde Bruckman, Joseph Mitchell
STARRING: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom

***Preceded by THE PALEFACE (1922, 25 min) - 4K restoration with Jon Mirsalis score***

Brilliantly exemplifying Buster Keaton's ability to mine rich humor from the inanimate, THE NAVIGATOR is a classic of the Golden Age of Comedy, centered on and about a single extraordinary Rube Goldberg-esque prop: an immense five hundred-foot yacht. In a return to the "pampered youth" role he had played in The Saphead and Battling Butler, Keaton stars as Rollo Treadway, an inexperienced lad of extraordinary wealth -- and surprisingly little common sense -- who finds himself adrift on The Navigator with no one else on board excerpt an equally naive girl. After discovering each other's presence in an ingenious ballet of unintentional hide-and-seek, the couple resourcefully fashion a home for themselves aboard the derelict boat, in spite of their unfamiliarity with the tools of domesticity. They then embark on a series of misadventures on the ocean floor and upon the high seas, surrounded by a fleet of menacing cannibals, where the film reaches its explosively funny climax, with the aid of a crate of rocket flares.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1924
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 66 mins
Format: DCP

Seven Chances

A FILM BY: Buster Keaton
WRITTEN BY: Roi Cooper Megrue, Clyde Bruckman
STARRING: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes

***Preceded by COPS (1922, 20 min) - 2K restoration with Ben Model piano score***

Love has never been funnier or more difficult to manage than in this immortal Keaton comedy. SEVEN CHANCES is a film often imitated but never rivaled for hilarity and visual virtuosity. Keaton stars as Jimmie Shannon, a romantically jinxed young man who must marry by 7:00 PM on his 27th birthday, to inherit seven million dollars. While fate seems to thwart his efforts to woo the object of his true affection (Ruth Dwyer), public announcement of his strange predicament provides him with a throng of would-be brides who are aggressive in their pursuit of a husband, to say the least. In one of the most rousing, brilliantly choreographed sequences in Keaton's career, Shannon flees the horde of women while dodging the hostile forces of nature that seem to be conspiring against him (in the form of a colossal rockslide) during his manic dash to the altar.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1925
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 57 mins
Format: DCP

Sherlock Jr.

A FILM BY: Buster Keaton
WRITTEN BY: Jean Havez, Joe Mitchell
STARRING: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton

***Preceded by THE PLAY HOUSE (1921, 23 min) - New 4K restoration with Carl Davis Orchestral score + THE FROZEN NORTH (1922, 18 min) - New 2K restoration with Alexander Ranni score***

A film projectionist (and amateur detective) offers to solve the case of a missing watch, but is instead framed for the crime himself. Desperate to clear his name, the projectionist dreams of being the great SHERLOCK JR., and in one of cinemas most iconic sequences, literally steps into the screen to bring his fantasies to life.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1924
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 45 mins
Format: DCP

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

A FILM BY: Buster Keaton, Chas. F. Reisner
WRITTEN BY: Carl Harbaugh
STARRING: Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence

***Preceded by THE HIGH SIGN (1921, 20 min) - New 4K restoration with Carl Davis Orchestral score***

A steamboat captain receives a telegram informing him that his son who he has not seen for many years will be coming to visit. Eagerly expecting a strapping young lad who will help him compete with his arch-rival, he is disappointed with the effete progeny that instead shows up. Best remembered for its climactic cyclone sequence in which Keaton performs a number of death-defying stunts whilst an entire town is destroyed around him, STEAMBOAT BILL JR. was Buster Keaton's last independent silent comedy and also one of his finest.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1928
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 71 mins
Format: DCP

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