December 8, 2015
Review #762: College.
Buster Keaton (Ronald), Anne Cornwall (Mary Haynes), Harold Goodwin (Jeff), Flora Bramley (Mary's friend), Snitz Edwards (Dean Edwards), Carl Harbaugh (Crew Coach), Sam Crawford (Baseball Coach), and Florence Turner (Ronald's mother) Directed by Buster Keaton (#757) and James W. Horne.
Oh the joys of reviewing a movie named College. It is only fitting that I review this movie two days before the second (and last) Final Class Exam that culminates the end of my first semester at my college. To be honest, my first thoughts were that this sounded a good deal like The Freshman (#667), with regards to the premise of a new college student trying to impress someone at a college despite being picked being on, with one of their ideas being to play sports. But I realized that this isn't exactly a tired trope because it still technically works today. The debate of focus of academia vs athletics evidently was even a hot topic in 1927 as it is now. But the movie isn't a discussion of that, it's Buster Keaton being involved in slapstick, with some fun title cards (such as Keaton's academic character talking about athletes such as "Ty Ruth" and "Babe Dempsey") and some highlights such as Keaton trying to play baseball (try being emphasized here) and track and field (My favorite part: Keaton not only misses jumping over a hurdle, he breaks it in half with his face) but also some drama as well. The actors certainly fit their parts well (with Snitz Edwards, who had been in Seven Chances fitting nicely as the beleaguered Dean), fitting the story just fine. One scene that doesn't really age well is the scene where he puts on black-face makeup in order to work at a diner. It doesn't last long (maybe about 3-4 minutes), but it's still strange that he even put it on in the first place. Racist? That's up to you to decide, along with noting the time this was made as well. Despite this, the movie holds up pretty well, and the heart of the movie makes for a relatively fine movie.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.