Buster Keaton in 'The General' (1926)

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, February 05, 2011
Buster Keaton, along with Charlie Chaplin, is one of the most well-known pioneers of silent comedy from the early 20th Century. I've been recently looking at the work of these actors for influence and inspiration in my own animated short's character. Buster Keaton's silent movements and exaggerated action-comedy is perfect to study  in preparation for animating my suitcase.

Specifically, I watched Buster Keaton's film 'The General'. Released in 1926 it tells the story of a stolen locomotive train in the mid-west, where Keaton's character chases it alone, through the country desert across enemy lines. This film was very helpful in resolving my story, as it includes a lot of gags and uses for wild-west environments, a couple of which I am adapting into my own short. A lot of the film takes place on a steam train also, which gives great references.

One such scene which I am taking inspiration for is this one pictured below. Keaton's character catches up with the stolen train by riding on a handcar (or a pump trolley) Something which I am determined to make my character do in a more heroic moment. I still have a few more shorts of his to watch along with some other comedy, but I think I am closer to a resolved story.

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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