Buster Keaton further explored his fascination with the west in his feature Go West (1925). Keaton had previously parodied the westerns of William S. Hart in Frozen North (1922) and Go West is a further development of that exploration. Go West, however, is more influenced by Charlie Chaplin than by Hart; it has qualities which have to come to be termed as “Chaplinesque”, albeit filtered through “Keatonesque” sensibilities. It is said to have been Keaton’s personal favorite among his features, enough that he took solo directorial credit, which was rare for him. Go West is the romantic (and odd) story of a cowhand drifter and his cow, with a girl in the very … Continue reading GO WEST (1925) AND ONE WEEK (1920)
Wallace Worsley made five films with silent movie icon Lon Chaney. Lamentably, two of those, Voices of the City(1921) and The Blind Bargain (1922), are lost. The Ace of Hearts (1921) survives, but their most famous collaborations remain The Penalty (1920) and the epic Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). It is for these two films Worsley, an otherwise undistinguished commission director, will be remembered, if at all. The Penalty was Chaney’s first starring role, and the film justifiably made him a major star.
The plot of The Penalty is beautifully absurd, operatic, and addictive. An injured young boy has been unnecessarily mutilated by a young Dr. Ferris (Charles Clary). A seasoned colleague arrives and tells Dr. Ferris that amputating the boy’s legs was not at all necessary, but the veteran promises to remain silent about the malpractice. The bed-ridden boy hears the conversation and tells his parents what has transpired. However, the boy’s revelation is dismissed as delirium cause by a contusion.