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The Silent Partner1955

  • 3.4
Comedic genius Buster Keaton plays a former silent-film star named Kelsey Dutton. Dutton watches the Academy Awards® on television in a bar; in flashbacks, Keaton re-enacts Dutton's silent comedies. The silent-film parody is close enough to Keaton's old work to be poignant and funny yet different enough to be part of Dutton's character. This interesting and rare show from the "Screen Directors Playhouse" (originally broadcast on December 21, 1955) features Zasu Pitts, Joe E. Brown, Jack Elam and Bob Hope.

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This is a curious little footnote in Buster Keaton's career...perhaps it's more of a speed bump. However, it's always great to see the master of physical comedy at work, even late in his career. Keaton never lost his flawless sense of timing. Furthermore it's interesting to see this example of a forgotten genre from the early days of television, the dramatic anthology. This thing is loaded with familiar faces. Dig Jack Elam as the hammy actor!

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Buster Keaton is my favorite silent film star. He was brilliant and innovative and pulled off incredibly dangerous stunts without any assistance. Because he underplayed his character, his work holds up well today and is still relevant.

It was exciting to see this bit of later work (from television) where he is given the chance to speak. His comedic timing and physical acrobatics are very impressive.

Numerous silent comedy veterans can be seen here along with Joe E. Brown, Jack Elam and Bob Hope. A delightful salute to a comedic genius.

It's an interesting, but not classic, half-hour TV program. Buster Keaton is outstanding, as usual. There are also good performances from Zasu Pitts, Joe E. Brown, and Evelyn Ankers, who gets a rare opportunity to display her comedy chops. Some other silent comedy veterans can be spotted in small roles: Snub Pollard, Hank Mann, and Heinie Conklin among them. Surprisingly for a program shot at the Hal Roach Studios, the silent comedy scenes have little period flavor or style. But Buster's performance and sharp comic timing still makes this worth watching.