Friday, December 30, 2011

One Week

I wrote up three posts back in October when Buster Keaton was TCM Star of the Month, and didn't mention the fun short One Week. It's airing again tonight at 7:00 PM, and if this isn't enough warning for you, you should be able to find it on DVD.

The plot, as with most of Keaton's two-reelers, is simple. Keaton plays a new groom who, with his bride, finds he's been given a nice wedding present by his uncle: a pre-fabricated house, and a lot to put it on. Well, it's a 1920 version of a pre-fabricated house, meaning that it's a house-in-a-box (the boxes look decidedly too small, but that's beside the point) with a series of numbered boxes that show the order in which the house goes together. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Of course, this being a Buster Keaton comedy, you know that things aren't going to go the way they're supposed to. First of all, the house winds up looking not at all like it's supposed to. You wonder whether they had a level among the tools they used to build the house. That, and the house could have used a foundation, a problem that everybody notices the first time there's a stiff breeze. And to make matters worse, they find they've built on the wrong lot.

One Week is a quite entertaining little two-reeler. It's followed on the schedule by another two-reeler I'd never heard of, called The Flame Song (start time approximately 7:28 PM). This one is apparently a 1934 short remake of a 1930 operetta called Song of the Flame, the film elements of which have been lost. I'm not into operetta, and haven't particularly enjoyed the Jeanette MacDonald films that get shown on TCM from time to time, but for those of you who like this sort of film it's probably worth a watch. And I don't think it's on DVD either.

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