Buster Keaton in “Spite Marriage”

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Today is the anniversary of the release of the Buster Keaton feature Spite Marriage (1929), directed by Edward Sedgwick.

Spite Marriage is considered Keaton’s last silent film, although it does feature an audio track with sound effects. This is one of his least memorable features. It concerns a famous actress (Dorothy Sebastian) who marries a lowly pants presser (Buster) in order to get back at a paramour who has jilted her. The fake marriage breaks up almost immediately, but Buster later has an opportunity to prove himself worthy and rescues her from a gang of crooks far out at sea. The film’s most famous sequence has Buster struggling with his wife’s drunken inert body, trying to put her to bed. He would resurrect this bit many times over the years.

Here’s the bit:

For more on silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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To find out about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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