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My Wonderful World Of Slapstick (A Da Capo paperback) Paperback – August 22, 1982
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From the Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews
First of all, the book is not called Autobiography or My Life, but My Wonderful World of Slapstick. Oddly enough, that is its subject. So, if you are expecting to uncover deep and dark secrets, you got the wrong book. Buy a biography instead.
But you got the wrong person too. Mediocre people think that artists are guys who are lucky enough to have a sudden inspiration right at the moment when they have a pencil in their hands and a white sheet of paper in front of them, or some millions in a friend's bank account to make a movie. These people can't understand that the way Keaton made his pictures was the only way possible for him; badly put: the way he saw life. In this book we get exactly what we are promised: a world full of anecdotes, accidents, shows and practical jokes.
On page NUMBER 3 he warns those readers who like sniffing the rotten meat under the carpet: "I've had few dull moments and not too many sad and defeated ones. In saying this I am by no means overlooking the rough and rocky years I've lived through. But I was not brought up thinking life would be easy. I always expected to work hard for my money and to get nothing I did not earn. And the bad years, it seems to me, were so few that only a dyed-in-the-wool grouch who enjoys feeling sorry for himself would complain."
If after reading this your first thought is: he's lying, then probably you are the kind of person who delights in other people's misfortunes but, most important, one who sees misfortunes where they're not.Read more ›
His first hand telling of his fascinating life story may be a bit romanticized and a bit simplified, but then so were his films.
I came away with a clearer picture of what the world of silent film making was like, and how even a genius like Keaton could be dragged down by things beyond his grasp, including his own insecurities.
Keaton reveals himself to be a rather humble man. He makes clear that he never saw his work as anything more than the job of making people laugh. But he was a skilled acrobat and a great mime.
What is really missing from this book can only be found in the films themselves.
Buster Keaton was comedy's Renaissance man: a comic actor equally adept at writing, directing, and doing his own unforgettable stunts.
A man who literally threw himself into his work, Keaton was an instinctive artist who, thanks to his years onstage in vaudeville with his parents, brought to his movies a sense of timing and gag structure that was uniquely his.
It's criminal that silent comedy isn't seen more these days. Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean briefly revived it, but these days Atkinson is virtually retired, leaving the silent genre all but forgotten once again.
Maybe it's an unconscious sort of comedy prejudice people have; the idea being that anything as old as a Buster Keaton movie (Who? Buster Who?) must be hopelessly corny, stupid, and irrelevant.
Not at all. Buster Keaton's short films are as inventive and startling as the cleverest, "cutting-edge" TV sitcoms of today, and his feature films almost always beautifully photographed. He still takes my breath away. Start just about anywhere with the Keaton catalogue and I guarantee you'll find yourself thinking, "I have to see more of this guy!" and "HOW did he do THAT?Read more ›
The book has an added feature. Keaton writes very well (although some credit should be given to co-write Andy Samuels). None of the dialogue is too highbrow to read, but it is intelligent stuff. Our author has certainly given his life some thought.
He could have spent more time talking about his later life, but Keaton takes the route of Mickey Rooney and simply explains that the reason he made so many bad films later in life was because of his desperate need for money. Thankfully, he is optimistic, and leaves the reader uplifted instead of brought down. This book is highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are interested in Buster Keaton and his films this book is a must. The guy is just a good soul. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Thomas Stamper
The three greatest silent comedians were unarguably Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. For me, the best of all of them is Keaton. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Laura G. Carter
Keaton. By Keaton. For those who can appreciate early cinema and one of the kings of silent era comedy.Published 10 months ago by AsianCulture Fan
The book itself is great, and it's definitely essential reading for any Keaton fan. My problem, though, lies with the recent printings of this book by Da Capo Press. Read morePublished 13 months ago by BB
I'm so glad I bought this. I'd read it a few times, but owning it means I can use it as reference anytime. It's a valuable addition to my library.Published 13 months ago by Julia Walter
I was amazed at the honesty and absolute humility He showed as He told His life story. I had read" tempest in a flat hat" and enjoyed it immensely but I wanted to hear what... Read morePublished 24 months ago by john watson bruce
I started to get interested recently in Buster Keaton, have seen most of his films, but now I get to read details and then watch them again. Read morePublished on October 10, 2013 by Sergio Sacoto Arias
'My Wonderful World of Slapstick' does not disappoint. It is packed with information about Buster's life and experiences and feels a great deal like sitting down and talking with a... Read morePublished on January 1, 2013 by Bunnywoo