Buster Keaton window cleaning

Who needed 3D in 1918 when you had Buster Keaton? 

Simple, yet brilliant, this is Buster Keaton's genius explained in just a few seconds. Slate's film critic (Dana Stevens) has been working on a book about Buster Keaton for some time. I'm really looking forward to reading it when it comes out. If you want to see absolutel cinematic insanity, watch "The General." That film, like most of Keaton's, is full of death defying stunts. That's why it's considered one of the greats of all-time, for my money better than any stunts Chaplin ever did. Keaton was probably the bravest actor in Hollywood history.

I do find it very hard to choose between Chaplin and Keaton. "The General" is an astounding technical achievement, even more so now 90 years after its release. "The Navigator" is also a delightful Keaton feature from 1924 that has aged magnificently well, ditto his love letter to cinema "Sherlock Jr." In fact, one of the reasons why Keaton might just surpass Chaplin in my books is that his movies have aged incredibly. The set pieces are brilliantly conceived and, as mentioned before, death-defying, especially when compared to the all-too-easy use of CGI today. Which is not say that Chaplin's films have rusted, there is still a stinging satirical punch to his films such as "Modern Times" and "City Lights," plus he himself was no slouch in terms of stunts. Keaton wins, but don't discount Chaplin's talent.