Marceline Day and Buster Keaton


Directed by                Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton
Produced by              Buster Keaton, Lawrence Weingarten
Written by                 Story: Clyde Bruckman, Lew Lipton
                                    Titles: Joseph Farnham
Starring                      Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harold Goodwin, Harry Gribbon, Sidney Bracey
Cinematography        Reggie Lanning, Elgin Lessley
Editing by                   Hugh Wynn
Distributed by            Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date               September 22, 1928
Running time             75 minutes
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles

We have included this film in our program to illustrate the work and contributions of our star Marceline Day.

"The Cameraman" is the quintessence of a romantic comedy.  It was the first film of Buster Keaton after he signed a contract with MGM, and before the studio was able to stifle his unique creativity and effectively grind his career to a halt.  In this film Buster Keaton is still at the top of his form and he creates a string of breathtaking gags, which are masterfully connected with a nice story and a beautiful romance with the outstanding silent movie star Marceline Day.

All reviews make a note of the many memorable comic scenes in "The Cameraman", such as:
a/ the amazing “double shots” and backward running scenes of Buster Keaton’s camera
b/ the famous scene in the dressing room
c/ the adventures at the public pool
d/ the golf pantomime at the stadium
e/ the fire truck parking in the fire station
f/ the scene with the dime bank
g/ the unbelievable escapades during the Tong war
h/ the numerous window breaking accidents

Many other scenes also deserve to be mentioned as a comic achievement:
i/ Marceline Day’s precious comic reaction to seeing Buster Keaton bring his second hand camera
j/ Marceline Day’s precious comic reaction to seeing Buster Keaton pull out a handful of dimes
k/ the scene where Buster Keaton in his hurry stumbles upon the housekeeper and then pulls out the telephone cord from the wall
l/ the scene when Marceline Day asks Buster Keaton for his phone number, but he gives her the pencil – this scene lasts maybe just five seconds, but is unsurpassed in perfect timing
m/ the needle accident
n/ the slip on the banana peel

"The Cameraman" has it all: comedy, drama, romance, a roller-coaster of viewer emotions, heartbreak and triumph.  Marceline Day shines brightly and sweetly in the role of Sally; she is unbelievably touching in constantly encouraging and rooting for this awkward fellow, just out of a good heart, even before the romance takes shape.  In the whole film there is only one little kiss from Marceline Day’s lips to Buster Keaton’s cheek, but this is plenty to melt all romantic hearts.  These two masters of pantomime could say it all with their eyes, and say it in a way that world audiences could perfectly understand and appreciate 85 years ago, as they do today. 

"The Cameraman" was the peak of both Buster Keaton’s and Marceline Day’s careers.  It is, arguably, their biggest achievement.  Marceline Day's wonderful interpretation of her role is one of the reasons why this film is so universally acclaimed both by the critics and by the public. One blogger is of the opinion here that for her performance in "The Cameraman" Marceline Day should have been selected as the winner of an Oscar in 1928-1929 for Supporting Actress (Comedy/Musical).

"The Cameraman" has an outstanding ranking 8.3 in IMDB. 

The Cameraman (1928) on IMDb  

Ironically, after destroying Buster Keaton’s career and almost destroying his life, MGM used the film to teach comedians for generations. 

The film is ranked number 37 in the list of The Top 100 Silent Era Films of the influential website Silent Era.  "The Cameraman" was added to the National Film Registry in 2005 as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".  This is one film for the ages.

Buster Keaton’s name and legacy were revived in the 60ies and he has received full public recognition for his silent masterpieces.  Marceline Day, on the contrary, has not been given any award from the film industry establishment and her legacy as an illustrious silent movie star has been largely ignored, until now.  It is the responsibility of all silent film lovers to fight and bring her name and outstanding contributions back from oblivion.


Below is a short clip of the film.



Click to enlarge:



    Marceline Day and Buster Keaton