Brittany Runs a Marathon
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Oof. This one will test the loyalty of even the most ardent Buster Keaton fan. It's simply awful, and almost as if everyone involved just phoned it in. Most of the gags are lame, and the direction is poor. There was one bright spot, Sally Eilers, who plays the cute girl Keaton's in love with. The scene where she dances in a short skirt, joyfully swishing it up even higher, is easily the highlight of the film. Keaton does have a few nice moments, one of which is shortly thereafter, when he's in drag and dances/wrestles with another guy. Another is on the ship over, when he and the boys improvise a song with a ukulele. It's also cute when he finds himself in the German bunker and runs into his old chauffeur, and as the Germans there are starving, promptly takes their requests for food as if he was a waiter. Unfortunately, between unfunny bits and scenes which feel bottled up or cut short before they can development into anything, there's not much else. It's surprising to me that Keaton felt this was the best of his much-maligned films with MGM, in this difficult period of his life; I thought 'Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath' from the following year was better.
not one of keaton's best
It is a terrible shame that this movie was made. Buster Keaton's facial movements, bodily gestures, and other characteristics of his work in silent films shine through far too much. They seem out of place in each scene, and often result in scenes with awkward long pauses, out of place movements (face and body) and some scenes where it just doesn't even make sense what he is doing! The whole film was incredibly long drawn out and laughs were few and far between. Poor Buster Keaton is just lost in this movie.