Sunday, February 24, 2019

One Week

One Week. Sybil Seely,  Buster Keaton. Photo: IMdB.

Viikko rakennusmiehenä / Asuntopulan aikana.
    US 1920. PC: Joseph M. Schenck Productions / Buster Keaton Productions. Original distributor: Metro Pictures. P: Joseph M. Schenck. D+SC: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton. Cin: Elgin Lessley.  Technical director: Fred Gabourie.  ED: Buster Keaton.
    C: Buster Keaton (the groom), Sybil Seely (the bride), Joe Roberts (piano mover).
    Loc: Los Angeles (Congregational Sunday School, Inglewood Train Station). 
    Premiere: 1 Sep 1920.
    2K DCP from Lobster films with a Timothy Brock score (2004), 23 min.
    Screened at Kino Regina, Helsinki (Buster Keaton), 24 Feb 2019.

A parody of a Ford Motor Company film called Home Made (1919). The wedding, the Model T car and the pages of a daily calendar are among the features copied. (Source of information: Wikipedia).

The first released independent Buster Keaton production. The High Sign was filmed earlier but released in the following year.

Buster Keaton loved parody: The Frozen North was a William S. Hart parody, and his first feature film Three Ages was a D. W. Griffith parody. One Week is a parody of a build-it-yourself home instruction movie, but it grows into something bigger.

One Week belongs to the silent cinema's beloved catastrophe comedy trend. When things start to go wrong there is no stopping until a final disaster is taking place. A plot number sign turned upside down, a jealous rival mislabeling boxes of the DIY home, and a rainstorm are key steps in this progress.

The exposition is full of warning signs for the newlyweds. "The wedding bells have a sweet sound but such a sour echo", teaches the first intertitle. "Another good man gone wrong" is written on the honeymoon car. "Good luck, you'll need it" is among the greetings.

A fundamental source of delight is the newlyweds blithely ignoring all warnings and escalating catastrophes because love conquers all. The theme can be summed up as "through thick and thin" and "for better or for worse".

Sybil Seely was one of Buster Keaton's most engaging heroines.

An ingenious Keatonian techno-comedy. The house is the machine in this one. Full of wonderful gags. There is also a meta-gag: in Sybil Seely's nude bubble bath scene a hand in front of the camera lens obscures the view.

Timothy Brock has composed a charming score full of fun and romance.

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