Free and Easy (Easy Go) (1930)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Elmer J. Butts
as Elvira Plunkett
as Larry Mitchell
as The Stage Manager
as Master of Ceremonies
as Bit Part
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I liked this movie for most of it, but the ending is disappointing. It starts out very funny, but slowly looses steam and doesn't end well. I only recommend this to big fans of Keaton who, like me, just want to see all his movies.
My first buster Keaton talkie - before this, I was unaware of Keaton even having a voice and finally hearing it took away some of the comedy with the companioned dead pan face. Free and Easy is a major flop: No character is likable, the comedy is really forced and dated, and its ending is a real downer. I usually like my movies to end that way, but knowing that Keaton was then being limited by a studio, it angers. Although Keaton manages to inject some of his comedy every so often (Portions with visual sight gags which are funnier than 90 % of the jokes in the dialogue), the studio interference outweighs the positive. The setting is quite boring (Train then movie studios) though it carries a lot of metaphors for the relationship between MGM and Buster Keaton.
I saw Free and Easy along with the two other Keaton films featured in the Buster Keaton Collection pack, and an interesting documentary short was on Disc 2, entitled So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM. It explains how Keaton's classic films were ripped off later on, how he was manipulated and limited by MGM, how his early silent masterpieces went unnoticed until years later, and how personal struggles including alcoholism and divorce tragically changed his way of participating with his films.
The documentary short (Which I probably won't be able to add to Flixster's database since it premiered on TV) gets 7.5/10, Free and Easy gets 5.5/10
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