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Buster Keaton at MGM Triple Feature [DVD]

Release Date:03/29/2012

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    Parlor, Bedroom and Bath
    Based on the stage comedy by Charles W. Bell and Mark Swan (previously filmed in 1920), Parlor, Bedroom and Bath is a curious mixture of all that was good and everything that was bad in Buster Keaton's talkie features. Keaton plays Reginald Irving, a dimwitted bill-poster who finds himself the pawn in a scheme cooked up by wealthy Jeffrey Haywood (Reginald Denny). It seems that Jeffrey will not be permitted to marry Virginia Embrey (Sally Eilers) until a suitable husband is found for Virginia's older sister Angelica (Dorothy Christy). Since Angelica has rejected all the available suitors, Jeffrey schemes to offer Reginald as an eligible mate. First, however, he has to transform our dopey hero into a gentleman -- and a great lover. Somehow or other, poor Reginald innocently ends up in a compromising situation involving vampish Polly Hathaway (Charlotte Greenwood) and the very married Nita Leslie (Joan Peers) at a posh no-tell hotel. Keaton is permitted a few choice pantomimic moments in Parlor Bedroom and Bath, notably his scenes with the aggressive Charlotte Greenwood and a spectacular sight gag "borrowed" from his 1920 silent classic One Week. On the whole, however, Keaton is lost in a sea of unfunny dialogue and tired farcical situations -- a not untypical pitfall of his MGM talkies. Long unavailable due to legal complications, Parlor, Bedroom and Bath can be purchased from any of the public-domain video companies proliferating in the U.S. (Incidentally, that baronial "upstate New York" mansion in the film's early scenes was actually Buster Keaton's Beverly Hills home) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Speak Easily
    Buster Keaton's best sound feature casts the Great Stone Face as Professor Post, a naïve college pedant who mistakenly believes he has inherited $750,000. Hoping to use this windfall to bring the Fine Arts to the waiting world, Post gets mixed up with a two-bit theatrical troupe, headed by Jimmy the piano player (Jimmy Durante). Enchanted by the troupe's libertine leading lady Eleanor Espere (Thelma Todd), the professor agrees to finance their Broadway-bound musical, assuming it will be presented in tasteful, classical tradition. When he realizes that he's bought into just another girlie show, Post walks onstage to apologize to the opening-night audience, only to become the hit of the show himself as he becomes enmeshed in the production's special stage effects. Post's unconscious silliness saves the musical from becoming a disaster and also somehow wins him the love of Pansy Peets (Ruth Selwyn), the hometown girl he left behind. Based on a novel by Clarence Buddington Kelland, Speak Easily boasts some terrific sight gags, an abundance of hilarious repartee between the usually ill-matched Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante, and a hilarious performance by future "Charlie Chan" Sidney Toler as an apoplectic stage manager. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Passionate Plumber
    Previously filmed with Marion Davies in 1928, Jacques Deval's warhorse stage property Her Cardboard Lover was revamped four years later as the Buster Keaton vehicle The Passionate Plumber. The Great Stone Face stars as Elmer Tuttle, a Parisian plumber who is hired by dizzy heroine Patricia Alden (Irene Purcell) to make her sweetheart Tony Lagorce (Gilbert Roland) jealous. With the help of Patricia's chauffeur McCracken (Jimmy Durante) and her maid Albine (Polly Moran), the feckless Elmer is transformed into a Great Romeo, doing his job so well that the hot-headed Tony challenges him to a duel. This material was not ideally suited for Buster Keaton, nor was it a particularly brilliant strategy to team the solemn comedian with the bombastic Jimmy Durante. Still, a few hilarious moments shine through, especially during the climactic duel sequence. The Passionate Plumber was remade under the original title Her Cardboard Lover with Norma Shearer in 1942, while Keaton himself distilled the story -- and the best gags -- into his 1941 Columbia two-reeler She's Oil Mine. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Buster Keaton
      Buster Keaton - Reginald Irving
    • Charlotte Greenwood
      Charlotte Greenwood - Polly Hathaway
    • Reginald Denny
      Reginald Denny - Jeffery Haywood
    • Image coming soon
      Dorothy Christy - Angelica Embrey
    • Image coming soon
      Joan Peers - Nita Leslie

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.