Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Convict 13 (1920)

Directors: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline

Writers: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline

Composer: Ben Model

Starring: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts, Edward F. Cline, Joe Keaton, Louise Keaton, Harry Keaton

More info: IMDb

Plot: A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

This is the craziest and most relaxed jail I've ever seen.  The warden's daughter is freely walking among the prisoners in the yard, the front gate is just feet away from a city street, etc.  But there are an extraordinary amount of guards, though.  Here's another two reeler (one reel of film equals about ten minutes) with the familiar theme of mistaken identity.  There are lots of gags, some of which are laugh out loud moments.  

The gag of spinning around a dummy never gets old in my book, much like a whoopee cushion.

Joe Roberts (as the crazed prisoner) is monstrous and plays a great bad guy foil for Buster to bring down.  There's a great scene where Buster is slinging a boxing bag at the end of a ten foot rope and as the prisoners walk into the yard.  The bag is slinging round and round Buster's head and at first he knocks their cap off and then it's bopping them upside the head.  Just the precision to knock the cap off first is remarkable.  Watch the whole thing on the video above.  This is some good shit.

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