COLLEGE (1927) B/W "silent" 65m dir: James W. Horne
w/Buster Keaton, Anne Cornwall, Flora Bramley, Harold Goodwin, Buddy Mason, Grant Withers, Snitz Edwards, Florence Turner
Keaton is a high school honors graduate who goes to college and tries to win the girl of his dreams by becoming a sports hero --- with hilarious results.
From Rudi Blesch's biographical study of the comedian, Keaton: "A well-earned relaxation from the exacting major effort of The General, College is a romp, its open-faced, unshadowed fun as old as college and as new as the freshman class. How, it may fairly be asked, does Keaton's triumph differ from [Harold] Lloyd's [in the similarly themed "silent" comedy THE FRESHMAN]? Briefly: Lloyd wins by the divine right of the American go-getter; Keaton, not inevitably at all but by a miracle --- love suddenly releasing his powers, freeing him from all his shackling inhibitions, timidities, and inferiorities. Behind the granite face is tenderness, and behind the tenderness is a philosophical and psychological attitude. Harold Lloyd, the comic, as Gilbert Seldes long ago observed, is 'a man of no tenderness, of no philosophy ... there is no poetry in him ... [no] overtone or image.' Seldes also remarked (in the course of a comparison of the three great silent clowns) that 'Chaplin never makes fun of himself.' Buster Keaton, on the contrary, can and does --- even in triumph. A strange mixture of a man, with both passivity and warmth, frozen noncommunication and tenderness, doddering and determination, cowardice and courage, idiocy and brains, good luck and foul --- like Everyman.
"The Buster Keaton world is Everyman's theatre, and in that context his pictures are basically morality plays. In Keaton's comedies, if anyone suffers it is Keaton. Keaton is He Who Gets Slapped. As an index to character it might glibly be written off as the projection of a persecution complex. This is too easy. His life does not support it. Keaton believes in himself, but only, it would appear, in that lifelong role of under underdog, odds-on loser, the winner only through fluke, fortune, or fate. It is the role that got him onstage before kindergarten age, kept him there, and brought him fame and satisfaction."