Buster Keaton: Tempest In A Flat Hat

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9781557046642: Buster Keaton: Tempest In A Flat Hat
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This “appreciative biography that rolls as smoothly as a film reel” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) celebrates one of cinema’s greatest clowns, painting a detailed portrait of the man behind the mayhem and offering a fresh look at the classic comedies that defined the Golden Age of Silent Film.

Writer—and avowed fan—Edward McPherson takes the reader on a fascinating journey through Buster Keaton’s life and times, from the vaudeville stage to the glittering screens of early Hollywood, where he rivaled even Charlie Chaplin as the master of silent comedy.

Based on extensive research, this biography reveals Keaton in his prime as an antic genius—equal parts auteur, innovator, prankster, and daredevil—focusing on his glorious 1920s films, which “McPherson evokes with insight and enthusiasm” (Washington Post Book World).

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About the Author:

Edward McPherson has contributed to such publications as the New York Times Magazine, New York Observer, I.D., Esopus, Absolute, and Talk. Originally from Texas, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

McPherson pays homage to Keaton's two-reelers and full-length movies by detailing the iconic filmmaker's plot lines and notable sight gags. Between 1920 and 1929, Keaton rivaled Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin as one of Hollywood's silent masters. Grabbing his title from Keaton's signature porkpie hat, McPherson, who's written for I.D. magazine and the New York Observer, has culled the narrative of the star's personal and professional life from earlier biographical works. His contribution is to adroitly describe the extraordinary visual lunacy Keaton produced on screen to achieve cinema art. Responsible for writing, acting, editing and directing, Keaton took what he knew—"the ingenuity, athleticism, and wit of vaudeville—and applied it to a burgeoning medium." On-screen physical catastrophes were his trademark, though many of his most treasured films, such as The General, were not initially well received. McPherson also remarks on Keaton's disastrous marriage to Natalie Talmadge (her sister, Norma, was a major star), his adjustment to talkies and his descent into alcoholism, a demon he battled for decades. In his prime, Keaton lived a life of luxury, but he paid for his excesses. When his films lost favor, he was reduced to taking studio day jobs. Yet he saw his silent classics reissued and achieved happiness with his third wife, a sunny ending for this loving tribute. 40 b&w photos. (May)
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