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The Cameraman

Released Sep 10, 1928 1h 10m Comedy List
100% Tomatometer 20 Reviews 94% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
In this silent classic, photographer Buster (Buster Keaton) meets Sally (Marceline Day), who works as a secretary for the newsreel department at MGM, and falls hard. Trying to win her attention, Buster abandons photography in order to become a news cameraman. In spite of his early failures with a motion camera, Sally takes to him as well. However, veteran cameraman Stagg (Harold Goodwin) also fancies Sally, meaning Buster will need to learn how to film quickly before he loses his job. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (20) Critics Reviews
Eric Henderson Slant Magazine One of Keaton's most impressively self-reflective films and an ode to the unexpected and elusive lightening-in-a-bottle nature of filmmaking. Rated: 4/4 Dec 18, 2004 Full Review Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm ...registers as a strung-together package of exceedingly clever Keaton shorts. Rated: 3.5/4 Jun 6, 2022 Full Review Robert E. Sherwood LIFE The talkies are progressing rapidly, but it will be a long time before they can produce comedies that approach the old silent standard. Oct 4, 2021 Full Review Mattie Lucas From the Front Row An important missing piece in Keaton's oeuvre, but it represents a turning point in his career from which he would never recover. Rated: 3/4 Jul 17, 2020 Full Review Ed Travis Cinapse The Cameraman is a delightful romp that would easily appeal to folks like me who've experienced very little silent film, and probably appeals to hardcore silent film fans as well (as a lesser known work from one of the era's greatest talents). Jun 28, 2020 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy The beginning of the end for Buster Keaton. Rated: 3/4 Jun 28, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (133) audience reviews
Leaburn O This film was good 👍🏼 Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/13/23 Full Review William L The Cameraman is a bit slow to start and unfocused for the first 75% of its runtime, a loosely connected series of scenes that seem to be padding for time rather than comedic effect (which is odd considering that the MGM writing department apparently used the film to train new writers as a "perfectly constructed comedy" for decades). Perhaps it's just the age of the film showing, but this later-career Keaton seems a bit less timeless than some of his other projects that showcased his incredible talent for physical comedy, the storytelling feels less organic as well. That said, some of the later scenes (beginning with the Tong War) absolutely turn the tide of the film, bringing out the slapstick to full effect with 'show, don't tell' effects like the legs of the camera being shot out during an exchange of gunfire. Overall we might chalk up some of the limitations of The Cameraman to studio interference in Keaton's creative process, which we can see from his independent productions was formidable when given a solid budget and minimal oversight. (3/5) Rated 3 out of 5 stars 07/05/22 Full Review william d The story is just an excuse for the gags, but the gags are very good. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Jesse D Non stop action and humor. Absolutely incredible. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/19/21 Full Review Audience Member It's a sweet enough story - a penniless hawker tries to win the hand of a beautiful secretary at a newsreel office by buying a cheap broken film camera and almost accidentally capturing the turf war that breaks out in Chinatown. There are extended sequences at a swimming pool and a regatta. The problem simply is that - while it passes the time and is nicely performed - it's not very funny. Laurel and Hardy and W.C. Fields would have mined similar scenarios for bigger laughs and pathos. Keaton is always physically adept but too mechanical to elicit laughs. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Audience Member What sets Buster Keaton apart from other comedians from the silent era, is his big death-defying stunts. He has these dramatic moments with moving vehicles, and collapsing set pieces, that must have taken hours of preparation to get right. Amazingly, he makes it all appear so simple that he could put Tom Cruise to shame. Not to mention, it doesn’t appear he ever used any safety gear when doing these things. There are some of his signature big scenes in The Cameraman, and each time I was delighted with the result. However, the rest of the film, most of the gags were a bit one-note. Several times they returned to the idea of too many people in a small space that caused Keaton a problem as he was forced to squeeze in or was pushed around. The entire dating sequence fell a little flat for me because of the way they kept using this trope, and I welcomed the scene once they got in the swimming pool, as it was a change of pace. The story of The Cameraman is a charming one. I liked the idea of this simple man who buys a camera to try and impress a girl, but finds that filming the news is harder than it seems. There were a lot of entertaining ups-and-downs in his journey, and his interactions with the police officer were hilarious. I enjoyed how they added the monkey as a companion early on, and that he became a vital part of the story as the film progressed. I still think the romance is where the whole movie stalled out for me. I know it was important to have that relationship at the core of the story, because it provides more heart and emotional stakes. However, any time Keaton didn’t have his camera in tow, I was less interested in what was happening. As a whole, The Cameraman lined up right alongside the other Buster Keaton films I’ve seen. It was an entertaining watch, but isn’t something I can see myself returning to on a regular basis. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/20/20 Full Review Read all reviews
The Cameraman

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Movie Info

Synopsis In this silent classic, photographer Buster (Buster Keaton) meets Sally (Marceline Day), who works as a secretary for the newsreel department at MGM, and falls hard. Trying to win her attention, Buster abandons photography in order to become a news cameraman. In spite of his early failures with a motion camera, Sally takes to him as well. However, veteran cameraman Stagg (Harold Goodwin) also fancies Sally, meaning Buster will need to learn how to film quickly before he loses his job.
Director
Edward Sedgwick
Screenwriter
Clyde Bruckman, Lew Lipton
Distributor
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Production Co
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Genre
Comedy
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 10, 1928, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Jan 1, 2009
Runtime
1h 10m
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