“I am sorry that… the museum, or some dime theater, isn’t showing every short film Keaton ever made, night and day, over and over. Barring only the best of Chaplin, they seem to me the most wonderful comedies ever made.”
~ James Agee (1946 review of a Museum of Modern Art anthology screening of silent movies)
One Week, Buster Keaton’s first release as an independent film-maker following his three-year apprenticeship with Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, is one of my favourite movies. It’s a delightful twenty-minute depiction of a newlywed couple’s attempt at making their first home from a kit, a perfect showcase for Keaton’s brilliance and whimsy with the mechanical gags and his own stunt work that would characterize all of his independent movies.
Anyone who’s curious might enjoy watching it (link here). I agree with James Agee; it’s one of the most wonderful comedies ever made.
Wrote Walter Kerr in his 1980 volume The Silent Clowns:
“The very first film Keaton released was, breath-takingly, an explosion of style. To sit through dozens and dozens of short comedies of the period and then to come upon One Week is to see the one thing no man ever sees: a garden at the moment of blooming.”
(Photo source: the Margaret Herrick Library digital collections)