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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Buster Keaton: Hard Luck (1921)



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Suicide is taken too seriously in modern times to be the subject of a comedy, but in the 1920s, it was hilarious. Buster Keaton's short feature, Hard Luck, begins with Keaton attempting suicide in various ways, failing in each. Eventually, he journeys out in the wilderness in search of an armadillo and runs amuck with villains.

Hard Luck was Keaton's personal favorite of all his short comedies and was believed lost for sixty years. It's recently been recovered and restored, but three crucial minutes from the end remain missing -- and, alas, within those minutes is a gag Keaton said got him more laughs than any other he ever did. Keaton leaps off a high diving board, missing the pool, and crashes into the ground with such force it sends him all the way to China. Ah, well, we should be thankful to be able to see this fine short film at all.