Buster Keaton Speaks

Or "It doesn't take much to make me happy."

I went shopping earlier in the week, ostensibly to get my hands on the first instalment, Emergence, of Sin Episodes. Being a casual PC gamer always sucks, because you’re usually stuck buying the games of several years ago. It’s even worse now that almost all modern PC games require hardware T and L, which tends not to be included on the kind of PCs that people like me use to surf the web and process words. In this respect I am doubly indebted to Valve for not only making the best game ever made, but for also making it accessible to computers without the latest nuclear-powered video cards.

I was interested in Sin Episodes, firstly because my degree results should be here within a week and I feel like playing a game with boobs, guns and monsters, and also because it’s been made with the Source engine behind Half Life 2, so it’s pretty much the only new-ish game I can play (except for Half Life 2: Episode 1, which I’m saving for after I find out I’ve failed everything). But while comparisons between Sin Episodes and Half Life 2 are inevitable, they are rather unfortunate. Emergence is in no way blowing my mind as Half Life 2 did, but it is incredibly fun. Special kudos for implementing gibs in Source. BOOM! Splat!

While perusing DVDs, though, something caught my eye. A collection of four of Charles Chaplin’s most famous films, with loads of extras, on sale, down from seventy quid to £9.99. What's going on? From the pile of boxes they had, I can only guess that no-one is buying these things. ARE YOU PEOPLE CRAZY?!

But added bonus of the year coming up. Gold Rush, Modern Times and The Great Dictator I had heard of (The Great Dictator I had even seen before), but the fourth film is something called Limelight. What’s that about? Read the back cover...

Charles Chaplin’s Limelight is a glimmering homage to what was, a proud look at a bygone entertainment era and a bittersweet tale of an artist passing the torch to a new generation. [blah blah blah] Among the film’s comedy highlights is a musical routine that’s anything but routine in the hands of legend Chaplin and stone-faced Buster Keaton.

If I have not yet made my love for the Great Stone Face clear in the course of this blog, let me do so now. And having only seen his silent films before, I have long been dying to hear his voice. How fantastic, then, to come across it by accident! Skipping through the scenes, I managed to find one with Keaton in it and then paused it for a minute while I jumped up and down in glee. And then pressed play and heard his voice.

It was the voice of a 57 year old Buster, of course. Not the 29 year old Buster, for example, who made Sherlock Jr (my personal favourite of his films), but still. Microscopic pits in a metal disc, transformed into magic, via laser.

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