Starting tonight, and every Sunday this month, TCM will be honoring the great Buster Keaton by showing many of his movies.
Tonight features his best-known film, The General, followed by many of his funniest silent shorts (under 30 minutes each). If you’ve never seen the genius of Keaton, a true master of physical comedy, please watch at least one. They’re amazing, in what he makes his body do. He’s my favorite comedian, and although his best work was 90 years ago, his premises are timeless.
For those of us who are lucky enough to own The Art of Buster Keaton set shown here, all of tonight’s films are included except for Speak Easily, a later talking picture with Jimmy Durante. That’s airing at 5:15 AM. (All times Eastern.)
Tomorrow night, horror fans are in for a treat. TCM has a new documentary, The Horrors of Stephen King, in which the famed writer tours through classic horror films. It’s airing twice, at 8 and 11:30 PM. The rest of the evening shows some of those famous frights, including Frankenstein (9 PM), Freaks (10:15), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (12:30 AM, the one with Fredric March), Mark of the Vampire (2:15 AM, with Bela Lugosi and Lionel Barrymore), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (3:30 AM), Nosferatu (4:45 AM), and the Lon Chaney silent Phantom of the Opera (6:15 AM). When I was a kid, fascinated by these long-ago works, I never would have dreamed so many of them would show up in one place and time. How lucky we are! The classic horror movies will also run every week this month, until Halloween.
Update: This nifty piece showing some amazing Keaton stunts, narrated by Richard Lewis, is online courtesy of TCM. It’s easy to overlook just how athletic and even beautiful Keaton could be, and how technically experimental.