Film #253: Cops (1922)

copsdirectors: Eddie Cline & Buster Keaton
language: silent
length: 18 minutes
watched on: 26 December 2016 (plane 4/6)

Pursuant to the discovery of the short film collection on Air France in which I found the last movie, I found a collection of remastered Buster Keaton movies in there. I’ve watched very few movies from Keaton’s period – indeed, this movie is me popping my Buster Keaton cherry.

It’s about twenty minutes long, obviously much shorter than I’m used to with modern movies, but it tells an entertaining story, if a bit fast-paced (part of that is the old-style camera work that makes everyone move really quickly). Through a series of increasingly unlikely coincidences, Buster finds himself being chased by a whole town’s worth of cops, having unwittingly stolen a family’s possessions and then ended up riding through the middle of a policemen’s parade. Meanwhile a bad guy throws a bomb into his lap and he’s blamed for it.

The climax is when Buster ends up on a ladder being used like a seesaw by policemen trying to catch him from either side, which is entertaining. He knows how to do physical comedy. I feel like it’s a lost art these days – it’s still around, but very few can do it properly. In contrast, it was positively necessary in the silent era.

Timeless (except for inflation – a horse in those days cost $5, apparently) and funny. I liked it so much I went straight to watch another.


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