Introduction and Table of Contents

The following roundtable took place between Jean-Pierre Coursodon, Dan Sallitt, and Brad Stevens, and was conducted via email over March and April of 2006. The participants were asked to discuss each of the films included in this box set, and were encouraged to spend as much time in conversation about a particular film as they deemed necessary. The result is a wide-ranging discourse that takes into account Keaton’s feature films, works of cinema and literature outside the Keaton Kanon, and a host of noteworthy biographical and critical texts — even as it scrupulously examines, in roughly chronological order, the thirty-two films presented here.

JEAN-PIERRE COURSODON was born in 1935 near Paris, France, and has lived in the United States (mostly New York City) since 1965. Has been writing for film magazines since 1958, and has been the American correspondent for the French film revue Positif since 1987. He is the editor and main contributor of the two-volume English-language work American Directors (two volumes, 1983). Among his major French-language works are Vingt ans de cinéma américain (co-authored with Yves Boisset, 1961); Keaton & Co.: Les Burlesques américains du muet (1965); Laurel and Hardy (1966); W. C. Fields (1968); La Warner Bros. (1972); Buster Keaton (1973); and Trente ans de cinéma américain (two volumes, 1970) and Cinquante ans de cinéma américain (two volumes, 1991; updated one-volume edition, 1995), both co-authored with Bertrand Tavernier.

DAN SALLITT is a filmmaker and film writer living in New York City. He was the film critic for the Los Angeles Reader, and his writings have appeared in the Chicago Reader, Slate, Wide Angle, Senses of Cinema, the Nashville Scene, the Minneapolis City Pages, and other venues. His films include Honeymoon (1998) and All the Ships at Sea (2004).

BRAD STEVENS is the author of Monte Hellman: His Life and Films (2003) and Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision (2004). He writes for several magazines, including Sight and Sound and Video Watchdog


Table of Contents

The Arbuckle-Keaton Collaboration: Earliest Period

Arbuckle and Keaton: Going West

The End of the Arbuckle-Keaton Period

Buster Goes Solo

Momentum: Convict 13 & The Scarecrow

Neighbors, The Haunted House, Keaton En Français

Hard Luck & The Goat

The Playhouse & Social Convention

The Bleakness of The Boat

The Paleface, Cops, My Wife’s Relations and Connubial Encumbrances

The Blacksmith, The Frozen North, & Daydreams

The Final Three Shorts: The Electric House, The Balloonatic, & The Love Nest

On Sound in Keaton’s Films

On Authorship

On “The Gag”

Origins