This week presents a rare opportunity to see two Buster Keaton features and two shorts at Time and Space Limited in Hudson and the Rosendale Theater. The big screen makes a difference: watching silent films on your TV, no matter how big, is a letdown. Keaton, film's premier physical comedian, can't be truly appreciated on a 52-inch screen. The precision and ingenuity of his gags and stunts—performed by him, often at great personal risk; the house-facade collapse scene from Steamboat Bill, Jr. is one of the most iconic images of cinematic history—have never been equaled.
Almost a hundred years on, Keaton's films still hold strange magic. Forget 3-D, forget flash-cutting, forget ultra-violence: The best of Keaton's works are more entertaining than Avatar in 3-D can ever hope to be.
On Thursday, January 31, Time and Space Limited in Hudson kicks off two days of Keaton films with the shorts The Goat and Sherlock Jr. at 6pm and The General at 8pm (No less a cinematic personage than Orson Welles said that The General is "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.") On Friday, the schedule flips, with The General screening at 5:30 and the shorts at 8pm.
On February 3, the Rosendale Theater shows The Cameraman, the first great romantic film comedy, as part of its Sunday silents series, with live musical accompaniment by Marta Waterman.