Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Old Stone Face

I've been slacking on writing lately and wil probably write about the Oscars soon but I had to get this off my chest, ha.

I try to write about people I worship on their birthdays or something a little more upbeat but i just finished a very long biography on Keaton and couldn't wait any longer.  He passed Feb. 1st in 1966 after a very long career and suprisingly difficult life.

The 3 Keatons

Keaton pretty much got kicked around his entire life.  His father was an alcoholic (by some accounts an abusive one) and his mother micro-managed the details of his life, which made growing up both unstable and controlled simultaneously.  It was instilled in him very early that it was just easier to agree and have everyone else worry about the details than to try and take charge on his own.  This attitude is reflected in his marriages, his MGM contract, the rights to his films, his salaries, even his death - he was diagnosed with lung cancer and never told, he thought he had bronchitis.

The things that make Keaton stand out to me isn't the fact he still makes us laugh (and cry, the changing room scene in the Cameraman has me on the floor every time),  but that behind his delicate sadness he was an innovator in special effects, camera technique, and physical prowess.  he did most of his own stunts clear into his 70s!  Im amazed every time I watch a Keaton film.

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