Review: Go West

I’ve been making the rounds of all the Buster Keaton films on Netflix. This week it was Go West (1925) which is basically Buster Keaton goes west. It was different from his other films I’ve seen. Usually, the end is  an impressive sequence of Keaton doing incredible feats of physical comedy. In this movie, it was spread out the film and others partook of the physical comedy, such as a man in a store on roller skates or a barber riding a bull.  It was enjoyable just a bit different.

In this film, Buster Keaton plays “Friendless” who is down and out. He has no friends nor job and ends up accidentally on a range as a cowboy. He befriends a cow named “Brown Eyes” who follows him around. There is a hint of romance with the owner’s daughter. The cow Brown Eyes was impressive. It must have been quite a feat to train her to follow him around as if she were like a dog. They actually make a fine pair.

There is the usual train sequence in the film which I’ve come to realize is a Keaton regular. He must have been fascinated by trains since they appear so many times in his movies. It can’t be an accident back in a time when special effects were really effects and done live.

Anyway, the scene that really does it for me is a scene where the cows end up in the streets of LA. It’s brilliant to see early 20th century LA where people are going about their business. And then the havoc when cows (mostly bulls) are wandering around. There is the required scene of a bull in a china shop which just makes me happy. The cows end up in department stores, barbershops and more. It’s early commentary  about how far city life has come from the rural roots where living with animals is a regular feature of life.

It’s a fun film. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite Buster Keaton film but they are all worth watching so far.


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