Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline

F.: Elgin Lessley. Int.: Buster Keaton (il ragazzo), Virginia Fox (la ragazza), Joe Keaton (il padre del ragazzo), Joe Roberts (il padre della ragazza), Eddie Cline (il poliziotto), James Duffy (il giudice), The Flying Escalantes. Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck per Comique Film Corporation. DCP. D.: 18’. 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

Keaton understood how the eye works; ideas came to him as pictures. No other comedian – and few filmmakers – ever did so much with mise-en-scène, placement in space. In Neighbors, a fence and a clothesline are all he needs to create an extended comic ballet: the two lines bisecting the screen are like the melody on which a jazz musician improvises. They divide and connect two warring households, and he moves back and forth, over and under and through, experimenting with every form of motion the set-up allows. When Buster looked at the world, he must have seen a mechanical diagram – arrows, trajectories, the gears inside things turning – all instantaneously, as if he had X-ray vision for the laws of physics. In his world objects overlap, slide past each other, converge and separate as if they moved on rails. His own movements and mannerisms have the same uncanny accuracy, what Walter Kerr called his “rectitude – mathematical, spiritual”. Spirituality aside, it comes from his meticulous control of his body and the precision of his timing.
Imogen Sara Smith, Buster Keaton: The Persistence of Comedy, Gambit Publishing, Chicago 2008

For the restoration of Neighbors nine elements were inspected and analyzed: seven of those – from the Cohen Film Collection, The Library of Congress, the Cinémathèque de Toulouse and the Filmoteca de Catalunya – were digitized and compared. Two elements were finally selected for reconstruction: the original nitrate negative and a second generation nitrate duplicate negative both held at the Library of Congress and scanned at 4K resolution. The duplicate negative was used for reel 1 – missing completely from the negative – and to replace portions of the negative so severely affected by chemical decay as to compromise the intelligibility of the image. Through digital restoration, we tried to homogenize, as much as possible, the two elements in terms of grading and grain level.

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Restored in 2017 by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Cohen Film Collection at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory.