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16th May 2013

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8th January 2012

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Buster Keaton’s use of space

[Buster] Keaton is never so great as when he manages to organise (to seize simply) the countryside into his overall design, giving, in a flashing surge of beauty, his personal vibration to the secret modulation of its lines, to its concrete harmony…

Jean-Patrick Lebel, Buster Keaton, English edition 1967

Keaton is probably the only comic who, apart from the classic race-chase, really knows how to use space, to give wind to the gag, to burst the bonds of the ‘inside gag’ by blowing a great wind into it, filling it with countryside and endless vistas, finally organising the universe into an immense gag in itself.

Philippe Demun, “Espace Vital”, in Contre-Champ, no. 3, May 1962, review of Steamboat Bill Jr. and Battling Butler

Tagged: Buster Keatoncomedyfilmsmoviesspacesilent film