The great stoneface ruined: from The Buster Keaton Story to Film

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Abstract

This essay explores after-images of Buster Keaton’s stardom: first in the Hollywood biopic The Buster Keaton Story (1957), and second in the avant-garde short Film (1965), based on a script by Samuel Beckett. The Buster Keaton Story’s factual deviations from the former star’s biography reflect Hollywood’s anxious self-mythologization in a time of media transition. Film offers an alternative account of film history and of the perceptual dynamics of fading stardom. Set in 1929, Film is a travel back in time, but it is a time in which Keaton’s face and body show all the age of a ruined statue, worn down by an existence defined entirely by perception. Symptomatic of the turn away from Hollywood’s official myths, Film activates alternative remembrances of stars’ pasts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLasting Screen Stars
Subtitle of host publicationImages that Fade and Personas that Endure
EditorsLucy Bolton, Julie Lobalzo Wright
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages127-139
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781137407337
ISBN (Print)9781137407320
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Film star
  • Movie star
  • Buster Keaton
  • Beckett
  • Film
  • Slapstick
  • Donald O'Connor

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