Old Movies for Kids: Buster Keaton

At the time I first fell in love with Chaplin the rest of the world seemed more taken with Buster Keaton. Evidently he was more cerebral (as much as a slapstick comedian can be called that) and at my college there were often screenings of Keaton, never of Chaplin. Now I do like Keaton yet I have had little luck getting my students to connect to him. Once they have fallen for Chaplin, no one else, it seems, will do. (Is my own teen-crush to blame? Possibly.)

At any rate, this year I’m more hopeful because of a remarkable new picture book biography of Buster Keaton. When I read Betsy Bird’s enthusiastic review of Catherine Brighton’s Keep Your Eye On The Kid: The Early Years of Buster Keaton I was eager to see it for myself. Happily, the publisher sent me a copy and it is everything Betsy said and more. The illustrations are amazing with angles and perspectives that echo those of Keaton’s films. Within the illustrations are wonderful references to other illustrated stories such as Little Nemo in Slumberland and Struwwelpeter. It is a spectacular book and I can’t wait to read it to my students, show them One Week, Our Hospitality, The General, and more to get them hooked!

Here is the memorable scene with which Brighton ends her book:



Filed under Film, movie

3 responses to “Old Movies for Kids: Buster Keaton

  1. betty

    my family especially loves a short Keaton film called “The Blacksmith” among others – also love Chaplin and some Laurel and Hardy –

    hard to find silent films on dvd with a good soundtrack though.

    I love the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra – a bsuy small orchestra specializing in accompanying silent films. check out their cd: Cinema 2: Destiny: music for the silent film.


  2. Sarah

    Try Harold Lloyd, too – also on DVD now.


  3. Hard to find all these classics not sure they are for kids these days much more for older people to enjoy i think.


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