The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

They Were Collaborators #39

Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton


Rob said...

These two were my faves over Chaplin any day. This was silent comedy at its most sublime - every move and gesture was calculated to make me laugh, and by God, it worked! I was totally subsumed. I miss Roscoe and Buster - even their names make me crack a grin.


Tom Sutpen said...

The older I get the more I like just about everybody over Chaplin (though seeing a few minutes from a Mutual two-reeler like The Rink can renew my admiration for Chaplin all over again). Virtually nothing he did after 1940 impresses me anymore (except for isolated moments of brilliance which got fewer and fewer), while Keaton, Arbuckle, Lloyd, Chase, Langdon, L&H, Normand, all of them just rise and rise in stature to these eyes.

Keaton is God, of course.

Rob said...

Well, Keaton's 'A' God, for sure, but my pantheon is quite catholic, and many deities dwell therein.


Tom Sutpen said...

Okay . . . point well taken. I get carried away by Keaton to such an extent that I elevate him above all others perhaps more than I should.

But dammit, he warrants such elevation.

swac said...

I'd seen some Keaton and loved it, and seen some Arbuckle and loved it...but when I first saw the two of them, incredible stuff. It's like when you first hear Miles Davis and Coltrane together. Sure, they would do great work on their own, but there was something different that clicked in those brief moments where they were joined. That rediscovered short The Cook is beyond belief (as is The Garage, The Bell Boy and so on...).

As far as the pantheon's a big one in my mind (sort of like Valhalla, with Keaton as Odin...Chaplin can be Loki or something like that). I keep discovering people like Lupino Lane, Joe Rock, Lloyd Hamilton who all have their place, and should be better appreciated, or Larry Semon, who's name is known but whose films are generally not seen (but should be, if only for his outrageous gag construction, which usually sacrificed internal logic along the way).

And there's still so much I haven't seen...