austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You say you want a revolution

Also watched on Turner Classic Movies: the 1921 Buster Keaton short Day Dreams. In this, Buster goes to the city to make his fortune, which turns out to be not quite so easy a job as he figured, but he sends his girlfriend letters couching his mediocrity in terms which sound like success. Something struck me about this besides the shared setup to Harold Lloyd's fantastic Safety Last (the one where he dangles from the clock face for reasons which make sense in context). The thing is, several scenes are missing, presumed lost.

Most of the lost scenes are those immediately following Keaton's letters, in which he suggests that he's the surgeon at a hospital with hundreds of cases under his care (it's actually a veterinary clinic) or that his cleaning up in the financial district is anything but the punch line you see coming. But the scenes being lost (replaced with an added intertitle explaining the content and showing stills where available) doesn't hurt the film. Actually, they probably improve the pacing. We know the impression Keaton's letters are supposed to make are of scenes of success in medicine, finance, and acting; scenes of his girlfriend's fantasies just drag out the punch line without building it.

Another curiosity is after losing his acting job, Keaton wanders the street in his costume, a vaguely centurion-ish garb. This attracts the usual brigade of Keystone-esque Cops and a funny chase through San Francisco, although I'm not sure what the charge was. Venturing outside hatless, I suppose. He might've got arrested for stealing clothes from a second-hand shop, except he found money in the pants pocket that covered the cost and more. I suppose ultimately he was chased because it was the last couple minutes of the picture and that's just the proper ending for a short back then.

Trivia: Christophe Plantin, Gerard Mercator's Antwerp printer, recorded at the end of 1564 selling 14 copies of his Europe map and six of the new British Isles map. Source: Mercator, Nicholas Crane.

Currently Reading: The Comet Kahoutek: Greatest Fiery Chariot Of All Time, Joseph F Goodavage. I admit to buying this fall 1973 book ironically.

PS: Pinball and Large Numbers, based on something I should have taken a picture of.


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