Unrated, 1 hr. 18 min.
Directed By: Edward M. Sedgwick
This is one of the last films from Buster Keaton’s classic period, before the coming of sound and interference from MGM spoiled his work and softened his popularity. The Great Stone Face portrays Luke Shannon, a “tintype” portrait photographer who develops a serious crush on Sally (Marceline Day), a beautiful woman who works as a secretary for MGM’s newsreel department. Luke’s primary rival for Sally’s affections is a cameraman for the company, so Luke decides to sign to the newsreel department in hopes of impressing her. However, his hand with a movie camera is not especially sure at first; he mistakenly double exposes a reel of film that results in battleships sailing down Broadway, while his attempts to get footage of a Tong battle seem more successful until an organ grinder’s monkey runs off with his film. Luke gets the axe before long, but he’s not about to give up, and he tries to find another way to impress his lady love. This was Keaton’s first film under a new contract with MGM, and director Edward Sedgwick for the most part allowed Keaton to stick to the creative formula of his best work. However, that would soon change, and many Keaton aficionados consider The Cameraman to be his last truly important work. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi