Buster Keaton, Mal St. Clair

Scen.: Buster Keaton, Mal St. Clair. F.: Elgin Lessley. Int.: Buster Keaton (il capro espiatorio), Virginia Fox (figlia del capo della polizia), Joe Roberts (il capo della polizia), Mal St. Clair (Dead Shot Dan), Kitty Bradbury, Eddie Cline, Jean Havez. Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck per Comique Film Corporation. DCP. D.: 21’. 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

I first heard about Buster Keaton from my grandmother, who was also of the opinion that he was the funniest of the silent-movie comedians. This didn’t make much sense to me at the time since she described him as a man who never smiled, who always stayed dead serious while she and the rest of the audience screamed with delight. I remember trying to imagine his looks from what she told me, going so far as to stand in front of a mirror with a deadpan expression until I could bear it no longer and would burst out laughing. In the early post-World War II days in Belgrade, there was still a movie theater showing silent films. My grandmother took me to see Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, the cross-eyed Ben Turpin, but for some reason we never saw Keaton.
Is that him? I would occasionally nudge her and whisper when some unfamiliar, somber face appeared on the screen. […] My grandmother never found Keaton. It took me another seven years to actually see a film of his. […]
Most probably, I was playing hooky that afternoon, sneaking into a cinema when I should’ve been in class, but there was Buster Keaton finally on the screen, wearing a porkpie hat and standing on the sidewalk at the end of a long breadline. The line keeps moving, but for some reason the two fellows standing in front of him do not budge. They are clothing-store dummies, but Buster does not realize that. He takes a pin out of his lapel and pricks one of the slowpokes, but there is no reaction; meanwhile the line up ahead grows smaller and smaller as each man is handed a loaf of bread. Then Buster has an idea. He pricks himself to see if the pin works. At that moment the store owner comes out, sticks his hand out to check for rain, and takes the two fully dressed dummies under his arms and carries them inside.
A few other gags have remained vivid in my memory from that first viewing of Keaton’s shorts.
Charles Simic, Writers at the Movies, Harper Perennial, New York 2000

For the restoration of The Goat twelve elements were inspected and analyzed: five of those – from the Cohen Film Collection and the Cinémathèque de Toulouse – were digitized and compared. Reconstruction used two duplicate negatives, both second generation, preserved by the Cohen Film Collection, both scanned at 4K resolution. The element with a higher photographic quality was used as consistently as possible; missing portions were integrated with the second dupe negative, despite the latter presented a lower definition of the image due to printing defects.

Copy From

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