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[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