Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Three Ages (1923)

Buster Keaton's first feature is also his worst. It's structured as a parody of Griffith's Intolerance, and that's the problem -- working within an established strucure saps away much of the spry insanity that makes Keaton's films so overwhelmingly awesome. For maybe the only time in his silent career, Keaton becomes trapped within the narrative rather than transcending it. There's some scattered laughs (the chase scene that brings the Roman segment to a climax is on par with Keaton's best shorts), and Buster's entrance on a stop-motion dinosaur is memorable. This still isn't worthy. Watch Sherlock Jr. or Seven Chances again instead.

Grade: C+


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