Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline

Scen.: Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. F.: Elgin Lessley. Int.: Buster Keaton (giovane triste), Virginia Fox (giovane donna), Joe Roberts (capo dei banditi), Bull Montana (marito della giovane donna). Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck per Comique Film Corporation. DCP. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

It is well-known that Hard Luck has been missing for over half a century. Buster Keaton always had a weakness for it, as he revealed in the famous interview with Robert Franklin, in 1958. He never knew that the Cineteca Italiana in Milan owned an (incomplete) copy with the misleading title Nel paese degli armadilli (literally In Armadillo Country), nor that a decade after the first restoration carried out in 1987 by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill, new materials would emerge to finally reveal the impossible gag Keaton kept describing. After so long, the echo of laughter was still loud and clear in his memory: “the audience would be laughing getting into their cars, out in the parking lots… and if they stayed in there and watched the feature picture coming on, they’d still be laughing at the middle of the next reel of the feature.” His final dive – reminiscent and yet antithetical to his attempted suicide in The Electric House – is shown in a very Keatonian shot with no cuts. It is an impossible dive, a round trip to the other side of the world.

Cecilia Cenciarelli

Copy From


Restored in 2015 by Lobster Films in collaboration with Film Preservation Associates

Hard Luck was restored in 2K from a 35mm safety dupe negative and a 24mm ozaphane Cinelux print in the Lobster films collection. Other elements were used to integrate missing fragments, including a nitrate print preserved by Cineteca Italiana in Milan, a 35mm safety fine grain preserved by the Cinémathèque française and a 9.5mm print provided by a private collector. Intertitles were reconstructed, using a vintage font, from the original French cards. With the exception of the 24mm print – digitised at Éclair laboratories – all scanning and restoration work was carried out at Lobster Film laboratory.