13 Jul Review – One Week

FlixFling contributor, Jordana Lipsitz reviews One Week

Many people argue that comedy is not a real art form and it does not take the mind of a great artist to write in a comedic sense. Buster Keaton’s work consistently proves that this is simply not true.  One Week (1920) specifically aids in showing the talent of artists like Buster Keaton. Both the creative storyline and the slapstick are beautiful aspects of this film.

In the film, we see Buster Keaton acting as the groom and his bride, (Sybil Seely) deal with their first problem of married life.  Upon their wedding day, they find out that an uncle has donated them a plot of land and a house. When they arrive at their “house” the couple discovers their new home is actually several boxes they are meant to assemble. The couple immediately sets to work.  We watch the hilarious consequences that result from constructing a house like an IKEA furniture piece.

Watching the fantastic stunts really showed the idea of comedy as an art form.  Keaton fell from great heights, broke items, and had ceilings fall on him. A particularly impressive jaunt occurred when the groom tries to move a piano into the about-to-fall-over house.  Needless to say it didn’t end well. And he didn’t die. I consider managing those stunts take athleticism, and thus in an artistic way are very impressive.  To orchestrate such stunts and then act on them is the way of the master.

Silent films are often seen as the basest of comedy. Slapstick is an easy life. However at that time, Buster Keaton’s stuff was new and fascinating. No one had done it before. Setting up such well-constructed sets and practicing those stunts took a lot of work people had never considered before. The movie industry was young and so was the knowledge of any such craft. Buster Keaton’s work in this film is great because he is such a novelty at the time. One Week shows his ability to start trends. It may not be as impressive to us these days where effects are created using technology, but this was natural and real and alive when it came out. It turned into very little acting and all playing. I hope to watch more of Buster Keaton’s work soon!

*Clip from the film