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Go West / The Scarecrow / The Paleface

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Nov 20, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

A fascinating alternative to the manic stunt work and elaborate sight gags that distinguish the films of Buster Keaton. "Go West" (1925, 69 min.) offers a rare and satisfying glimpse of his talent for more expressive comedy: charming moments of intimate humor flavored with rich pathos. Setting traditional ideas of romance and masculinity on their ears, "Go West" is uniquely graceful and characteristically hilarious especially in the film's dynamic finale as hundreds of cows are unleashed upon downtown Los Angeles. Included on this DVD is one of Keaton's most mind-boggling mechanical comedies, "The Scarecrow" (1920, 19 min.), which follows two roommates vying for the affection of a young lady. Also added is "The Paleface" (1921, 20 min.), in which Buster helps a Native American tribe defend their land from greedy developers.

Special Features

  • Contains Buster Keaton's feature, Go West (1925, 69 min.), as well as two shorts: The Scarecrow (1920, 19 min.) & The Paleface (1921, 20 min.)

Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Howard Truesdale, Ray Thompson, Kathleen Myers
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000021Y7N
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,115 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Go West / The Scarecrow / The Paleface" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
GO WEST (1925): In Go West, Keaton cast an unusually thick role to his leading lady. She's actually the plot. She's a cow. The plot centers around Keaton becoming emotionally attached to her and desperately trying to save her from the slaughterhouse. The beginning of this movie was filmed on a ranch in Arizona, and later in Los Angeles, so we get to see some good authentic 1920s location shots. One of the things that's sort of missing from Go West is Keaton's avalanche of whirleygigs, spin-arounds, and flipflops that pepper his other films (especially the early one's with Arbuckle), but since he's centering the plot on sympathy this time, the slapstick is kept to a minimum. Don't worry, Keaton fans, the sympathy isn't as shmarmy as Chaplin's. This film is charming and it's understandable why it was a hit for MGM. One of the things I discovered about Go West was that, earlier in the day of the first time I viewed it, I happened to have been reading some of Keaton's autobiography. He mentioned that when he was a toddler, he got his index finger stuck in the wringer of a clothes washtub, which crushed it, and then had to be amputated at the first joint. After I read this, I wondered if there was evidence of the amputation seen in any of his films. Later that night, I watched Go West and along came a close-up scene of Keaton going through the contents of a lady's purse. The camera was right on top of his hands. Because of this scene, sadly I discovered the index finger of his right hand was substantially shorter than his middle finger.
THE SCARECROW (1920): The Scarecrow is one of Keaton's best early shorts.
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Dressed in a Satan costume with horns, tail, and all, Buster Keaton leads a herd of cattle through the streets of Los Angeles to save them from the slaughterhouse. Only in Hollywood.

Go West is one of my favorite Keaton silent movies. I like them all, but because this silent movie was digitally retouched to make the images crisper, it makes watching this silent era classic even funnier and more enjoyable. Movies like Go West is proof in the pudding on why many consider Keaton the greatest of all Hollywood actors. His closest rival is Charlie Chaplin, yet Chaplin was British, thus giving the honor of the greatest American silent movie actor to Keaton.

From the get go this hour plus movie tickles the funny bones. Keaton starts his long trek west from his home state of Indiana. There the department store owner comically dupes him to spend more money than he wants. Afterward, Keaton rides hobo style the trains out west. Out there in the mile high country he becomes a cowboy. There he encounters cows and bulls. And he ends up falling in love with a cow, Brown eyes, instead of the rancher's attractive daughter.

One thing leads to another, the rancher needs money, so he calls for a cattle drive, to get his live stock to the slaughterhouses to make money. Keaton, however, hijacks the plan, and steers the steer out west, where they end up on a Los Angeles boulevard. From the moment he appears on the screen in Indiana Keaton elicits laughs, chuckles, and guffaws. He's funny. Sure the absurd, comic situations he finds himself in, is funny, yet his body language on handling the absurd situations provokes laughter.

Go West is one of those classic silent era movies that clearly shows that Hollywood was doing quite well before the talkies started.
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Keaton is an amazing athlete with deep pathos. He is so good that I wonder if he created the concept in silent film. There is so much of that type that I can not say if he was first or just one of the group. If you have not watched the silent films then you are in for a real treat. Though the media is simple there is a lot of thought in every scene. Most of the humor is still fresh and cracks a smile even if you don't laugh. If I would say one thing that is critical, it is that the movie scenes are over-long. The gags stretch far past what a modern editor would allow. I took off one star for that.

As a bonus, you get a tour of old Los Angeles in the silent era. They visit the Union Stock yards that have been gone for 80 years. Imagine a stinking stock yard in the middle of downtown LA. The flies, smell, and sound would sicken most modern residents. They walk down commercial streets, not sets, and you wonder what street that is. The inside of the stores are eye openers about how people shopped in those days.

Additionally, you can not overlook the real star of this movie is brown eyes the cow. Ever see a smart, funny, well trained dairy cow? Well I had not until I saw Brown Eyes. She steals scenes from Keaton and that is no small feat. I wonder if this movie would have succeeded at all without her.
So, get some popcorn and enjoy the great team of Buster Keaton and Brown Eyes in old LA.
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Not being born long enough ago to really appreciate silent movies, I didn't really realize how much of a genius Buster Keaton was. His movies are brilliant and this one is no different. Even though the visual jokes are "old", I still laugh out loud and can see how everyone since Buster Keaton has mimicked him, in one way or another, since then. And the man does his own stunts!! He is really doing that crap. The face of the house that fell around him in "Steamboat Bill jr.", weighed 2 tons, and only missed him by inches. Awesome.
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