A fascinating alternative to the manic stunt work and elaborate sight gags that distinguish the films of Buster Keaton. "Go West" (1925, 69 min.) offers a rare and satisfying glimpse of his talent for more expressive comed... more »y: charming moments of intimate humor flavored with rich pathos. Setting traditional ideas of romance and masculinity on their ears, "Go West" is uniquely graceful and characteristically hilarious especially in the film's dynamic finale as hundreds of cows are unleashed upon downtown Los Angeles. Included on this DVD is one of Keaton's most mind-boggling mechanical comedies, "The Scarecrow" (1920, 19 min.), which follows two roommates vying for the affection of a young lady. Also added is "The Paleface" (1921, 20 min.), in which Buster helps a Native American tribe defend their land from greedy developers.« less
"GO WEST (1925): In Go West, Keaton cast an unusually thick role to his leading lady. She's actually the plot. She's a cow. The plot centers around Keaton becoming emotionally attached to her and desperately trying to save her from the slaughterhouse. The beginning of this movie was filmed on a ranch in Arizona, and later in Los Angeles, so we get to see some good authentic 1920s location shots. One of the things that's sort of missing from Go West is Keaton's avalanche of whirleygigs, spin-arounds, and flipflops that pepper his other films (especially the early one's with Arbuckle), but since he's centering the plot on sympathy this time, the slapstick is kept to a minimum. Don't worry, Keaton fans, the sympathy isn't as shmarmy as Chaplin's. This film is charming and it's understandable why it was a hit for MGM. One of the things I discovered about Go West was that, earlier in the day of the first time I viewed it, I happened to have been reading some of Keaton's autobiography. He mentioned that when he was a toddler, he got his index finger stuck in the wringer of a clothes washtub, which crushed it, and then had to be amputated at the first joint. After I read this, I wondered if there was evidence of the amputation seen in any of his films. Later that night, I watched Go West and along came a close-up scene of Keaton going through the contents of a lady's purse. The camera was right on top of his hands. Because of this scene, sadly I discovered the index finger of his right hand was substantially shorter than his middle finger.THE SCARECROW (1920): The Scarecrow is one of Keaton's best early shorts. The first reel is hilarious because we get to see Buster and his perennial heavy, Joe Roberts, as roommates living in a house full of useful gadgets which hang by strings from the ceiling. They are both competing for the same girl, and Keaton wins her by accident. I found the film fun to watch because of numerous 1920 L.A. exteriors - they seem to be a priority with me on Keaton's films.THE PALEFACE (1921): In the Paleface, Buster is at the wrong place at the wrong time. When a tribe of indians get cheated out of their land by an oil company, the indians decide to punish the first white guy they will next see on their land, and it happens to be Keaton who is cast as a butterfly catcher. After being chased by the tribe for awhile, Keaton comes across a bundle of asbestos which he wears under his clothes because he knows the tribe wants to execute him Joan of Arc style. The gag is hilarious as we watch the flames surround Keaton and then eventually smolder. After surviving this, Buster is looked upon as a living God and becomes part of the tribe."
"Go West" not so hot, but the additional shorts are great!
Nate Goyer | Sydney, Australia | 03/01/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Go West" is one of Buster Keaton's more disappointing films. Shot on location outside Kingman, Arizona in 1925, "Go West" is one of the few Keaton movies that hasn't stood the test of time. It contains many gags that may have been revolutionary upon its initial release, but have worn thin to today's comedy standards.Gone is the trademark chase, which was always a favorite of Buster Keaton fans. Gone is the cohesive storyline, as I get the feeling that 50% of this film was 'forced' on location. In all his films, Buster Keaton always battles the elements, be they man-made or natural, but as we discover in "Go West", there are truly a small, finite number of prop gags that can be accomplished in the barren desert. In fact, Buster's own review of "Go West" wasn't too encouraging; "Some parts I liked, but as a picture, in general, I really didn't care for it."But this DVD has the saving grace of 2 very hilarious shorts: "The Scarecrow" and "The Paleface". Made in 1920 & 1921, respectively, these two shorts are perhaps some of Buster's best non-feature productions. They include many excellent chase scenes, many hilarious gags, and very inventive props & storylines. The 'High-Tech Dining' scene in "The Scarecrow" is maybe one of the funniest and most creative segments I've seen in the entire Buster Keaton catalog. "The Paleface" is equally entertaining, however today's audience will probably notice the blatant stereotyping of American Indians. It's a different world now."Go West" is a good DVD to have for 2 reasons: A) To enjoy 40 minutes of marvelous shorts and B) to complete your Buster Keaton collection. Newbies to Buster Keaton are better off starting with "The General" or "Sherlock Jr"."
A film for Buster's fans
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 01/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Go West is not out one of Keaton's very best films, but this DVD should still be a must for Keaton fans. After all, gradually one wants to collect them all. Go West is not consistently funny nor ingenious and thus cannot really compare with either The General or Our Hospitality. Nevertheless, it has many brilliant moments. I particularly enjoyed the parody of the 'smile when you say that' scene from The Virginian. How is stoneface Buster going to smile? His solution is another parody, this time of Lilian Gish in Broken Blossoms. The best thing about this DVD however, is not Go West but the short film The Scarecrow. This is both extremely clever and funny. It is among the very best of Keaton's films. As far as I'm concerned it is worth the price of the DVD on its own. The final short film The Paleface I found the least interesting part of this DVD. The story, even within its own terms, did not quite hang together. Even so, once again, it has moments of great comedy. The quality of the prints on this DVD are fine while the music is appropriate and well played. This DVD is probaly not the best place to start for those new to Keaton's films. However, for those fans who are building a collection it should not be ignored."
Go West, Young Man, Go West!
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 02/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"GO WEST provides cinema with one of its most surreal moments ever: Buster Keaton, dressed as Satan, riding a cow through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, being pursued by a large herd of angry cattle. I thought I'd mention that right up front, so that people know what they're getting in to.This is a rather sweet film. The driving force behind it is the relationship formed between Buster Keaton's character and a cow named Brown Eyes. Keaton removes a troublesome pebble from Brown Eye's foot, and Brown Eyes saves Keaton from being trampled by a bull. They become firm friends afterwards. Yes, I know that this sounds like something out of a nauseating children's movie, but the whole thing is obviously played for laughs. While it's silly, it never becomes overbearingly so.After a quick criss-cross dash around the country, Keaton eventually ends up in the Wild West. Dressed as a cowboy (although he forgoes the usual cowboy hat in favor of his trusty porkpie), he quickly goes about subverting many Western clichés. There's the tense poker-game with the cheating scoundrel, of course (where the Great Stone Face finds himself flummoxed when told to smile), and the exciting shoot-outs (where Buster is equipped with a ludicrously small weapon).As with Keaton's SEVEN CHANCES, the big payoff comes in the final third. But instead of enraged would-be brides, Keaton alternatively herds or flees from hundreds of cattle running through city streets. Cows run people off the road. They create chaos in barbershops and department stores. Let's face it: cows are funny.One thing I didn't like about this release was the reliance on sound effects. Silent films don't require cymbal crashes during gun battles, nor do slapstick pratfalls scream out for "hilarious" comedy musical riffs. Still, the picture looks quite nice.THE SCARECROW (the first of the two shorts also included on the disc) is a film that you've seen parts of, even if you've never watched a silent short before. This is the one with Buster Keaton and his large roommate (played ably by Joe Roberts as a nice guy rather than his usual "heavy" role) sharing a mechanized apartment and attempting not to share the farmer's daughter. With utensils and gadgets hovering over their kitchen table, suspended by strings and counterweights, the pair eat their meals in a wonderfully choreographed display of swinging salt and pepper shakers, torpedoing bottles and revolving bathtubs. The rest of the film is composed of various chases: Buster running from a dog, Buster running from the farmer and Joe Roberts, and Buster and the farmer's daughter running from the farmer and Joe Roberts. Wonderful stuff.THE PALEFACE isn't exactly the most sensitive portrayal of the Native American people that you'll see. Er, I'll leave that aspect of the film at that (though it should be noted that the bad guys are the white corporate types who try to throw people off their land). This isn't nearly as strong a film as the other short on this disc, but it's certainly got some good sequences to offer. The obligatory chase scenes are quite fun. The picture quality is fairly good throughout most of it, but there are a handful of individual camera shots where the image goes completely fuzzy and blurred. I imagine that some sort of reconstruction from various sources was involved.GO WEST might not be the film that's more representative of Keaton's work, but you'd have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy it. The two short films are quite funny; THE SCARECROW should be required viewing for anyone interested in what made the silent short such an enjoyable art form. GO WEST, young DVD-collector, GO WEST!"
Buster on the Range
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of Buster Keaton's most underrated features, "Go West" (1925) remains a memorable Western spoof with a none-too-subtle swipe at Chaplinesque pathos. Shot mostly on location in Arizona, the 69-minute silent comedy is highlighted by Buster's touching relationship with "Brown Eyes" and the incredible cattle stampede through downtown Los Angeles. A delightful film for viewers of all ages."