Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Cameraman (1928)

The Cameraman is a 1928 American silent comedy directed by Edward Sedgwick and an uncredited Buster Keaton. The picture stars Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harold Goodwin, and others. Theeraman was Keaton's first film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is considered by fans and critics to be Keaton still in top form, and it was added to the National Film Registry in 2005 as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Within a little over a year, however, M-G-M would remove creative control over his pictures from Keaton, thereby causing drastic and long-lasting harm to his career. Keaton was later to call the move to MGM "the worst mistake of my career.

The story tells of Buster (Buster Keaton), a tintype portrait photographer who develops a crush on Sally (Marceline Day), a secretary who works for the MGM's newsreel department. Hoping to impress her, he purchases an out-of-date movie camera and attempts to get a job in the newsreel department as a cameraman. He is thwarted in his endeavor by Harold (Harold Goodwin), a current cameraman who recognizes Buster's inexperience and also has designs on Sally.
Sally suggests that Buster film anything and everything, but Harold's suspicions prove true; Buster's footage is useless. He has double exposed or over exposed much of the film and the rest is simply no good. Despite this Sally accepts Buster's request for a date, and they meet next day. They go to the city plunge where Buster gets involved into numerous incidents.The day, Buster's luck at MGM is no different than the day before, but Sally gives him a tip that something big is going to happen in Chinatown and he should film it. On his way, he accidentally runs into an organ grinder and apparently kills his monkey. A nearby cop (Harry Gribbon) makes Buster pay for the monkey and take its body with himself. The monkey turns out only to be dazed and joins Buster on his venture.
Once in Chinatown, Buster witnesses a Tong War and narrowly escapes death on several occasions while constantly filming the events. At the conclusion of the hostilities, he is arrested, but makes his escape with his camera intact.
Returning to MGM, Buster and the boss are dismayed to find that he apparently had no film in his camera in Chinatown. Buster is thrown out once and for all, and Sally finds herself in hot water for giving Buster the tip.
Despite losing Sally, Buster continues with his filming activities, planning to film an afternoon on the river. He discovers that his Tong footage is intact after all, as the monkey has switched the reels. At the same time, Sally and Harold are having a date in a boat on the river. An accident causes their boat to spiral out of control. Harold saves himself, but Sally is saved by Buster. When Buster rushes to a drug store to get medical supplies, Harold returns and takes credit for the rescue. The two go off, and the broken-hearted Buster is left at a river bank. Unbenownst to him, his monkey has captured the whole thing on film.
Buster decides to send his Tong footage to MGM free of charge, and the Boss is thrilled by what he sees, claming that it is the best camerawork he had seen in years. At the end of the reel is the footage of Buster's rescue of Sally, exposing Harold as a fraud. The boss wants to hire Buster and asks Sally to bring him there. The two happily reunite and stroll off hand in hand.


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