100 Years Ago Today: Buster Keaton Hits a Patch of “Hard Luck”

March 14, 1921 was the launch date of the Buster Keaton comedy short Hard Luck.

This is one of Buster’s darker ones, and that’s saying something. Penniless, starving and hassled by police, he tries to kill himself using several different methods, all of which obviously fail. After accidentally drinking a bottle of whiskey which he has mistaken for poison, he joins up with a museum expedition headed to the woods in search of an armadillo specimen. Various adventures in the woods bolster his confidence and he begins to get his mojo back. But this wouldn’t be a Keaton comedy if it didn’t have one additional, classic and surreal twist. The cast also includes Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts, and Bull Montana.

For more on silent and slapstick comedy films like Buster Keaton’s “Hard Luck”, check out  Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.