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The Cameraman

(silent 1928 b 70')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A cameraman meets a pretty girl who works in a newsreel office, and he tries to get a job there and dates her.

Photographer Buster (Buster Keaton) tries to sell Tintypes, but a crowd gets in the way. Sally (Marceline Day) poses but leaves. Buster finds her working in an office that makes newsreels. He goes out and pawns his camera to buy a motion picture camera. Sally learns of a fire and announces it. Buster goes too. He asks the cop Hennessey (Harry Gibbon) where it is, and they get confused. Buster rides on a fire truck which goes back to the station.

Buster goes to empty Yankee Stadium and pretends he is playing. Back at the screening room his newsreel has backward motion and double exposures, and the boss (Sidney Bracey) rejects him. Sally tries to encourage Buster and advises him to grind forward. He asks her out, but she says she has a date. She asks for his phone number.

Buster breaks open his bank of dimes. He runs downstairs to the phone. When Sally says her date is off, he runs through the streets to where she lives while she is talking. He waits in a room full of women. They go walking but are separated on a bus. He tries to climb down and falls off. Buster buys tickets with dimes and follows Sally into the Ladies dressing room. Then he struggles to change in a small dressing room with a larger man. They get the wrong size swimsuits on, and Buster meets Sally by the pool. He tries to dive and loses his suit in the water. After they get dressed, he pushes a tall man into the pool.

Harold (Harold Goodwin) offers Sally a ride, and Buster rides in the rumble seat in the rain. He tells her it was worth getting soaked to be near her. She kisses him and runs inside. Buster and Hennessey test each other's reflexes.

On Monday morning Sally gives Buster a tip to go to Chinatown. He runs and knocks a man down, squashing his monkey. A cop makes Buster pay for it and take it away. The monkey goes with Buster to the Chinatown parade. A gun fight starts, and Buster films the shooting. The monkey shoots a machine gun. Chinese men try to take Buster's camera, but he gets away and films from a window. Men corner him, but the police come in and arrest them.

Buster tells the cameramen that he got the whole war, but in the office he finds no film in the camera. The boss reprimands Sally for giving Buster the tip.

On a rowboat Buster finds the film which the monkey took. Harold takes Sally in a speedboat, and both fall in the water. Buster goes in to save Sally and carries her to the beach. She wakes up and sees Harold, who takes credit for saving her.

Buster's film is delivered to the boss as a gift. He shows it for Harold and Sally, and it shows the war and Buster saving Sally. The boss wants to hire him, and on the street Sally thanks Buster. She says they are waiting to receive him, and they walk in a cheered parade in front of Lindbergh.

This comedy reflects the modern competition to get the best news coverage on film, but the strongest motivation comes from a young man trying to win a pretty girl.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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