THE RAILRODDER (1965) – Buster Keaton on the loose again, at last

A year before Buster Keaton’s death in 1966, The National Film Board of Canada paid tribute to Keaton by having him do a short subject in his old silent style.

The Railrodder depicts an older version of Buster’s famous persona, porkpie hat and all, reading a newspaper article about increased Canadian travel and deciding he wants to join the crowd. He does this by accidentally starting up an electric railroad car that takes him across the country whether he wants to go or not. Buster, as always, resigns himself to greater forces and decides to enjoy the scenery. By Keaton’s standards, the gags aren’t very elaborate (probably owing to having to taking it easy on the advanced-aged Keaton), but the movie gets better every time you watch it.

After so many years of having to watch Keaton cowtow to The Studio System, it’s a joy to see him perform an entire sound short in his old silent style.

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