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Born into a family of vaudevillians, Buster Keaton made his first film appearance in 1917 at the age of 21. By the early 1920s, he had established himself as one of the geniuses of silent cinema with such films as Sherlock, Jr. and The Navigator and his 1925 work, The General, placed at number 18 in the American Film Institute's poll of the 100 greatest features, the highest ranked silent film on the survey. But with the advent of sound in the late 1920s, silent stars like Keaton began to fall out of favor and the great comedian's career began to decline. In The Fall of Buster Keaton, James Neibaur assesses Keaton's work during the talking picture era, especially those made at MGM, Educational, and Columbia studios. While giving some attention to the early part of Keaton's career, Neibaur focuses on Keaton's contract work with the three studios, as well as his subsequent work as a gagman, supporting player, and television pitchman. The book also recounts the resurgence of interest in Keaton's silent work, which resulted in a lifetime achievement Oscar and worldwide recognition before his death in 1966. This fascinating account of an artist's struggle and triumph during the more challenging period of his career will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn about one of film's most influential performers.
Lasting Stars examines the issue of stardom and longevity and investigates the many reasons for the persistence or disappearance of different star personas. Through a selection of chapters that look at issues such as inappropriate ageing, national identity and physical characteristics, this book will be the first volume to consider in depth and breadth the factors that affect the longevity of film stardom. The range of stars includes popular stars who are approached from fresh angles (Brando, Loren), less popular stars whose lower-profiles than their peers may be surprising (Taylor, Shearer) and stars whose national identity is integral to their perception as they age (Riva, Bachchan, Pavor). There are stars from the beginning of Hollywood (Valentino, Reid) to the present day (Jolie), and those who made uneasy transitions between countries (Mason), ages (Ringwald) and industrial eras (Keaton). The book examines the range of factors that affect how star images endure, including appropriate and inappropriate ageing (Griffith), race (Ice Cube) and digital technologies (Lee).
Beginning with Charlie Chaplin’s Shoulder Arms, released in America near the end of World War I, the military comedy film has been one of Hollywood’s most durable genres. This generously illustrated history examines over 225 Army, Navy and Marine–related comedies produced between 1918 and 2009, including the abundance of laughspinners released during World War II in the wake of Abbott and Costello’s phenomenally successful Buck Privates (1941), and the many lighthearted service films of the immediate postwar era, among them Mister Roberts (1955) and No Time for Sergeants (1958). Also included are discussions of such subgenres as silent films (The General), military-academy farces (Brother Rat), women in uniform (Private Benjamin), misfits making good (Stripes), anti-war comedies (MASH), and fact-based films (The Men Who Stare at Goats). A closing filmography is included in this richly detailed volume.
In Buster Keaton s Silent Shorts: 1920-1923, James L. Neibaur and Terri Niemi provide a film-by-film assessment of Buster Keaton s short films produced in the early 1920s. The authors discuss the significance of each short to the Keaton filmography, as well as each film s importance to cinema. Offering a clear and in-depth perspective on 19 films, the authors explain what makes these shorts effective and why they re funny."
An appreciative retrospective survey of the great American film comedians combines history, nostalgia, and criticism with nearly two hundred stills

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