Francis McDonald


Battling Butler / Go West (Blu-ray)

by Kino On Video (Comedy & Satire Movies)

Battling Butler": The greatest box-office success of all his independent comedies, "Battling Butler" is a rarely-seen gem that mingles Keaton's deadpan demeanor and awesome physical agility with a particularly dramatic storyline. Keaton stars as Alfred Butler, a fragile young man whose father sends him into the country where he hopes masculinity will blossom. Ironically, he is there mistaken for "Battling" Butler, a renowned prizefighter of firey temperament. To impress a young lady (Sally O'Neil), Alfred carries on the ruse by engaging in a laughingly inept training regimen, but his harmless charade is soon complicated by the untimely arrival of the true contender (Francis McDonald). When the long-awaited opportunity to prove himself a man finally comes, it is before the gloved fists of the boxer, who initiates a locker-room brawl. There, in a sequence of agonizing tension and delightful surprises, "Battling Butler" reaches its unforgettable climax. "Go West": A fascinating alternative to the manic stunt work and elaborate sight gags that distinguish the films of Buster Keaton, Go West offers a rare and satisfying glimpse of his talent for more expressive comedy: charming moments of intimate humor flavored with rich pathos. Heeding the expansionist call of Horace Greeley, a hapless young man (aptly named "Friendless") idealistically hops a freight train westward to meet his destiny, first in a teeming metropolis (where he is roundly trampled by rush-hour foot traffic) then into the ranchlands of Arizona. In the side-splitting course of his attempts at bronco-busting, cattle wrangling, and even dairy farming, Friendless finds himself enamored with Brown Eyes, a particularly affectionate bovine beauty from whose hoof he removed a painful pebble. Setting traditional ideas of romance and masculinity on their ears, "Go West" is uniquely graceful and characteristically hilarious - especially in the film's dynamic finale. In an epic sequence that is pure Keaton, sentimen
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