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  • Buster Keaton

  • A Filmmaker's Life
  • By: James Curtis
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 31 hrs and 10 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Buster Keaton

By: James Curtis
Narrated by: David Pittu
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Publisher's Summary

**One of Literary Hub’s Five “Most Critically Acclaimed” Biographies of 2022**

From acclaimed cultural and film historian James Curtis—a major biography, the first in more than two decades, of the legendary comedian and filmmaker who elevated physical comedy to the highest of arts and whose ingenious films remain as startling, innovative, modern—and irresistible—today as they were when they beguiled audiences almost a century ago.


"It is brilliant—I was totally absorbed, couldn't stop reading it and was very sorry when it ended."—Kevin Brownlow

It was James Agee who christened Buster Keaton “The Great Stone Face.” Keaton’s face, Agee wrote, "ranked almost with Lincoln’s as an early American archetype; it was haunting, handsome, almost beautiful, yet it was also irreducibly funny. Keaton was the only major comedian who kept sentiment almost entirely out of his work and . . . he brought pure physical comedy to its greatest heights.”

Mel Brooks: “A lot of my daring came from Keaton.”

Martin Scorsese, influenced by Keaton’s pictures in the making of Raging Bull: “The only person who had the right attitude about boxing in the movies for me,” Scorsese said, “was Buster Keaton.”

Keaton’s deadpan stare in a porkpie hat was as recognizable as Charlie Chaplin’s tramp and Harold Lloyd’s straw boater and spectacles, and, with W. C. Fields, the four were each considered a comedy king--but Keaton was, and still is, considered to be the greatest of them all.

His iconic look and acrobatic brilliance obscured the fact that behind the camera Keaton was one of our most gifted filmmakers. Through nineteen short comedies and twelve magnificent features, he distinguished himself with such seminal works as Sherlock Jr., The Navigator, Steamboat Bill, Jr., The Cameraman, and his masterpiece, The General.

Now James Curtis, admired biographer of Preston Sturges (“definitive”—Variety), W. C. Fields (“by far the fullest, fairest and most touching account we have yet had. Or are likely to have”—Richard Schickel, front page of The New York Times Book Review), and Spencer Tracy (“monumental; definitive”—Kirkus Reviews), gives us the richest, most comprehensive life to date of the legendary actor, stunt artist, screenwriter, director—master.

©2022 James Curtis (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

A New Yorker Best Book of the Year

"Others can, and will, continue to write about Buster Keaton and offer their own interpretations... but I can't imagine anyone else tackling his life. This volume can lay claim to being definitive."—Leonard Maltin 

"Comprehensive ... Curtis, who has also written mighty biographies of Preston Sturges, James Whale, W.C. Fields, and Spencer Tracy, does a delightful job of capturing the old, weird America in which the Keatons plied their trade ... Keaton was as much a technical innovator as he was a comic, and Curtis's book goes into painstaking detail about how these effects were achieved ... As definitive an account of the sad-faced comedian as one could hope for."—David Kamp, The New York Times Book Review

"A landmark biography ... Keaton's career in the limelight (he started performing at age 3) and his innovations in motion pictures should keep readers riveted."—Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

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A perfect telling

The first book to really do Buster justice. Beautifully and vibrantly read. I didn’t want it to end, just like I never want his films to end.

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Wow!

The greatest biography of an actor since John Lahr’s NOTES ON A COWARDLY LIION and superbly read.

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