The Scarecrow (1920)

Release Date - Dec 22, 1920 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 17 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Buster Keaton's two-reel work in the early '20s was incredibly rich -- nearly every picture is funny and even the shorts that fall short of classic contain moments of comic brilliance. Because Keaton has so much excellent work from this time in his career, some films get overlooked unfairly, and The Scarecrow is one of them. It's classic Keaton all the way, from the beginning when he and his roommate (big Joe Roberts) prepare a meal with the use of all sorts of convoluted Rube Goldberg contraptions and odd conveniences: a victrola becomes a stove, condiments hang from the ceiling, and the tabletop -- plates and all -- becomes a homey plaque on the wall. The two men are both in love with the farmer's daughter (Sybil Seely), but the farmer (Joe Keaton, Buster's father in real life) isn't too thrilled with either of them. After being pursued by a supposedly mad dog and disguising himself as a scarecrow, Buster wins the girl in spite of himself and they have to elude the roommate and her father. The final chase is pure manic poetry, ending in a marriage ceremony performed on a motorcycle and a sidecar, which flies into a lake with the bride, groom, and parson all on board.