Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)

Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath turns out to be one the best Keaton sound MGM films, anchored by a sturdy script based on a 1917 bedroom farce play and some fine character actors. It's not a classic film, but if you've seen Free and Easy (1930) or Doughboys (1931), you know things could be much worse for poor Buster.

In an elaborate plot I won't bore you with, Keaton makes the best of another film shoot out of his control. He incorporates the train sequence from his very first short, One Week (1920) in a scene without dialogue, and trounces upon the very talented and rambunctious character actress Charlotte Greenwood in a "seduction" scene transcendently funny. Though Buster came from a different school of comedy than Greenwood, he goes toe to toe with her, and they both generate real, earned and appreciated laughs.

Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath benefits from direction by Keaton's long-time friend and collaborator, Edward Sedgwick, and also stars Reginald Denny and Cliff Edwards (no singing in this one, though).

There's a lot to enjoy here if you're willing to enjoy it for what it is.

Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath hasn't been given an official DVD release. A public domain title, it has been released by various DVD production companies with varying quality. The print shown on  Turner Classic Movies is fine.

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