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Buster Keaton: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers) Paperback – May 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Conversations with Filmmakers
  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (May 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578069637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578069637
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This collection of interviews with one of the most iconic stars of Hollywood's silent and early sound eras

- Includes interviews with such luminaries as Studs Terkel, Rex Reed, Penelope Gilliat, and a long interview with film scholar Kevin Brownlow

- Includes interviews from 1921 to 1965, covering the breadth of Keaton's career

- Features a French interview that has never before appeared in English

- Expands the Conversations with Filmmakers Series --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Interviews with one of the most iconic stars of Hollywood's silent and early sound eras

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Borgen on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
After reading many books about Buster Keaton, it's great to finally have a book consisting of Keaton's own words on his life and work. This collection contains interviews with Keaton from throughout his life - and is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the history of films and Hollywood.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on September 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
This valuable book compiles the best existing Buster Keaton interviews from 1921 to 1965 - providing new insights on the Great Stone Face's work in film, television and stage. Excerpts from these interviews have appeared in various Keaton biographies. However, it is fascinating to read the complete transcripts of the comic filmmaker's discussions with Kevin Brownlow, Studs Terkel, Arthur B. Friedman, and Robert and Joan Franklin. Surprisingly generous, Keaton probably gave more interviews than Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd combined! Kudos to editor Kevin W. Sweeney for assembling this indispensable collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brent R. Swanson on August 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Buster Keaton's silent screen persona--distant, non-smiling, engimatic--as well as his fate immediately after the silent movie era ended, has invited a tangle of myths and structuralist theorization that have threatened to distance Buster even further from reality as well as audiences. Fortunately, Buster was a good interview subject, and once an interviewer broke through his reserve, Buster spoke matter-of-factly and in detail about his career and his methodology.

Editor Kevin Sweeney has collected sixteen interviews with Keaton, ranging from 1921 through October of 1965, just months before the comedian's death. They vary in quality, depending on who's doing the interviewing. The first three interviews, from the early '20s, are interesting time capsules, providing a fan magazine perception of Keaton during the prime of his career. The remainder of interviews are from the '50s and '60s, catching Keaton at home and abroad, between stage shows, movie and television gigs, and festivals. The weakest of them is from Penelope Gilliat, who strains to create an image of a pathetic, sickly old man living in reduced circumstances (a popular anti-Hollywood angle then, and one that Stan Laurel was frequently subjected to). But even in that interview, Buster emerges as a man with fewer regrets about his own career than the fate of film comedy in general. "They have too many people working on pictures now, you know," he complains to Gilliat, echoing previous Keaton complaints about "too many cooks" stealing the spontaneity from his comedies in the sound era.

Keaton regarded himself as a comedy craftsman. He was proud of the sequences that worked and openly (and perceptively) critical of gags and whole movies that didn't work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Walter C. Mckinney on March 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book offers some interesting insight into the comic genius that was Buster Keaton. The interviews contained in this collection show a man who loved his art and enjoyed discussing every aspect of filmmaking. My only complaint would be the redundancy throughout the book. Several topics are addressed repeatedly, such as how Keaton got started in the business, how he developed his deadpan expression, how he got the name Buster, etc. Still, this is a good resource for anyone interested in reading what Keaton himself had to say about his work.
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